We’ve all grown up with our parents telling us the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. Quite often, we would ignore it and continue rushing around, doing whatever we needed to do at a stupidly high pace, not necessarily understanding the lesson. I can see now how frustrating that would have been for my parents to watch!
The tale quite perfectly aligns with a successful Public Relations campaign, and it’s something we often remind our clients of – that a campaign is in fact a marathon, not a sprint.
So, the practice of delivering a highly strategic PR campaign is by no means a quick journey with instant results, rather, you’re in it for the long haul and while probably pretty scary at first, PR can help you to reach your finish line goals. Running the PR marathon requires the same kind of time, strategy, dedication and intention as running a sweaty physical one. So – what should we be doing to prepare?
RUNNING IS GREAT AND ALL, BUT WHERE THE *beep* IS THE FINISH LINE
Make sure you know your goals, so we can be sure we know what the end of the race looks like for you. What do you want to achieve with the campaign? Together, we confirm what kind of media coverage you need, and where you need it in order to see impactful results.
PRE-WORKOUT AND A STRETCH
Research, research, RESEARCH! People aren’t running a marathon without checking first that they’re prepared and informed. PR campaigns need to be backed by well thought out research, understanding and competitor analysis (don’t tell me you haven’t googled your public enemy no.1 when preparing to go against them).
MAKE SURE YOU’RE JOGGING AT A PERFECT PACE
Like runners who aim to run at a certain pace each time they go out to train, setting a campaign timeline to achieve your goals is the best way to make sure you’re staying on track and benchmarks are being met. Things like critical paths (a visual timeline) help to make sure you’re achieving the goals you set at the start of the campaign and are staying on track.
GET IN SYNC WITH YOUR SIDELINE TEAMMATES (I.E JOURNOS)
I remember at university the lecturer making this big deal as to why there was friction between PRs and Journos – what an awesome way to instil confidence in me when I first began pitching!
Journalists and producers are an integral part of the campaign, and it’s useful knowing exactly what makes them tick, what they like writing about, and if you have a close enough relationship, their feedback and thoughts on particular talent or story ideas you’re looking to use throughout the campaign.
It also helps to know what deadlines they’re working to and how they prefer to work. Basically, know your OTHER audience. They’re just as important as their readers and your target consumers.
ROADWORKS (not cute for anyone)
As with life, unfortunately, things can go wrong. A smart PR always has a backup plan, or ways and means around the situation. Sure you might come up against a road block, but just like you wouldn’t stop your run there and call an Uber to pick you up, you workshop and improvise. Here, we rely on our team to brainstorm ways that we can overcome and move on from whatever might be in our way. Taking a detour shouldn’t stop you from getting to the finish line.
I don’t really have a racing term for this one, but basically, please make sure there is enough patience and lead time for the campaign to be carried out.
So, to finish, remember that there are no shortcuts in a marathon, stay on track, maintain realistic expectations, keep building your network and know that the steady stream of momentum will get you to your finish line.