Whether business owners like it or not, Public Relations (PR) is not always an executable DIY task if you want to see widespread results. However, even if you have to bring a third party in to handle your public-facing reputation, there are things you can do on your own to lay the groundwork for a successful PR campaign.

But before we get to how you can prepare for successful PR, it’s good to know what PR actually is. PR is part of your marketing strategy that focuses on managing your reputation through the effective communication of your organizational message. It is the art of building and maintaining positive relationships and brand awareness in the public eye (AKA your target audience).

In order to get your organizational message out there, you need to be able to engage your audiences with an interesting brand story that grabs their attention. You can tell your story though various channels:

  • Media & Influencer relations
  • Special events/Experiential
  • Online (blogs, and other long-form content)
  • Social media

Building blocks of a great PR campaign

A great PR campaign will have a positive effect on your business in terms of brand awareness and building a community of loyal brand ambassadors, which ultimately will grow your bottom line. Your revenues aren’t going to go up unless you get more customers, which means people need to hear about you. Not only do they need to hear about you, they need to hear positive things.

Here are 5 things you can do to set yourself up for success when building up to a PR campaign:

  1. Clearly define your target audience. If you are working with a budget like Coca-Cola, then go ahead and try a blanket PR campaign designed to reach everyone everywhere. The reality is most of us don’t have huge budgets for marketing. You can achieve a great return on your investment if you target a specific group. Your strategy can be to grow your reach over time, however, you should focus on conquering each niche before moving on to the next so you don’t alienate anyone. It also gives you time to adapt your outreach accordingly once you have gained the loyalty of the first niche.
  2. Know who you are as an organization. This is your brand story. A third party PR practitioner can help you refine your brand story for your audiences, however, you should put some thought into why you got into the business you are in and how you are different than your competitors. People are at the heart of any organization and it’s important that both leaders and the team is on the same page when it comes to representing your business.
  3. Know what your competition is up to. It’s not enough to know how you are different than your competitors, you need to track how they are evolving, what they are doing to reach their audiences, and what is happening in your industry in general. How can you do “bigger and better” if you don’t set the bar for yourself?
  4. Give yourself lots of time. Giving yourself one week to prep and execute a PR campaign whether it’s for a company/product launch, a book launch, a special event, etc. is not enough time to do it right. You should start putting out feelers to media and influencers sometimes months in advance depending on their editorial schedule. If you are planning on any sort of launch event for VIPs and media, you also need to give them time to make sure they can be there.
  5. Be realistic about your budget. This can be one of the hardest things to do when you are building a strategy. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to do everything, but as business owners and marketers we need to learn how to scale back to what will get us the most impact within our budget parameters. Set your budget parameters before starting to build your strategy. If you have to tweak them because they were completely unrealistic, then do so, but at least you have a starting point to ground you.

Maintaining a strong presence on multiple channels while reaching your target audience is priceless when it comes to building a business. It’s important to start building your strategy from the ground up so you ensure you have a strong, defined voice as a business. Your reputation and success depend on it.

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