Striking the perfect PR balance
It has been said often enough that when it comes to PR, no day is the same. From having a sudden influx of journalist calls, to reacting to breaking industry news, it’s certainly a juggling act. Yet, what hasn’t been as well documented is the careful planning that goes on behind the scenes of a PR campaign. It’s not all spur of the moment light bulb moments and last minute trips to media interviews; in addition to this, it’s also a well thought out monthly, quarterly or yearly campaign that works in tandem with the marketing plan and sales strategy to create a rolling, layered plan of activity.
But how do you strike the right balance between creating a forward thinking roadmap and also ensuring you leaving no ad-hoc opportunities unturned?
Planning, planning and more planning
Any collaboration or strategy must begin with a plan. Without one, you risk moving forward without a clear direction; it’s like going on a cross-country road trip with no map. Whilst the idea might be thrilling for some, unfortunately it’s not the best way to kick-start a PR campaign. The strategy must seek to combine multiple variations of content – from opinions to soundbites, press releases to case studies – all created and pitched to press in a logical order that team up with your marketing plan. On top of this, features lists must be obtained and a schedule put together. It really is all in the planning.
But even a carefully planned and strategised campaign like this, however goal-driven and measurable, won’t survive unless it meets its match.
Here comes the flurry of activity mentioned before: the eleventh hour media pitches for a TV slot the following morning, the hundred-word copy written in minutes to meet the unexpected deadline. This is the other side of the PR fence, where planning is a foreign word and the meaning of a daily checklist is all but lost.
On this side, the proactive nature of the quarterly campaign is married to the reactive side of targeted responses, media pitches and the drop-everything-to-get-that-TV-interview times. It’s the aspect of PR that puts the company at the forefront of the industry; the part that shows the CEO really does watch the news and wake up at 5am everyday.
The perfect PR mix
Both sides of the coin work well in isolation. A reactive campaign needs fast-paced, quick thinkers – commonly found in the world of PR. But what happens when it’s a slow news day, or even a jam-packed news day when breaking news hits – but with nothing relevant to comment on?
That’s when the juggling act really comes into force. Every campaign needs a plan, a goal and an objective. That’s what the strategy puts in place. But if you add in the responsive side of the campaign on top of this, you can achieve the perfect combination and really see the results start rolling in.
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