Public relations (PR) campaigns are vital for promoting brand awareness and managing your reputation. The best PR campaigns help startups get essential exposure to maximize their reach to the broadest possible audience. For established brands, they need a robust PR strategy when launching new products and services, or rebranding.
Suffering a brand image crisis? Launching a successful PR campaign is vital to recovering public relationships.
So, what’s the ultimate goal of PR launch campaigns? It’s to turn your startup into a press-worthy story. But if you’re strapped for cash, investing in a public relations campaign can seem like an expensive investment. However, there are many affordable ways you can promote your brand and ensure your message reaches your target audience.
This article is a complete guide to developing a strategy for a public relations campaign. You’ll also learn the common PR campaign mistakes and how to avoid them so you can maximize your ROI.
What’s a PR Campaign anyway?
PR campaigns manage communication to develop positive relationships with the public. Public relations campaigns can involve press releases, blog posts, social media posts, paid advertising and mentions in news articles.
A solid PR strategy should include reaching your audience, engaging with them, and building trust in your organization.
Sounds a bit like marketing, doesn’t it? Well, PR campaigns and marketing aren’t entirely the same. There are some key differences you should be aware of to make sure your PR campaign launch is a success.
What’s the difference between a public relations strategy and marketing?
You could make the argument that marketing and PR are the same. However, there is a difference between the goals of PR and marketing.
The purpose of marketing is to influence how consumers view your products or services to increase sales. But public relations is about selling the organization or brand by building a positive reputation.
So that’s the key difference. PR is about building a positive reputation. Marketing is about employing strategies with the goal of increasing sales.
Any successful startup needs a blend of marketing and public relations. Marketing will help consumers see the product’s value, whereas a strong PR campaign builds trust in the brand.
Generally, positive public relationships are the foundation of a successful marketing and PR campaign.
How to Develop a killer PR Strategy
Every company — large or small, new or established — can benefit from a strong PR strategy. To ensure that the strategy is successful, you must clearly define your PR goals.
Here are a few of the different objectives of a PR strategy:
- Launch a product or company and maximize media “buzz” around it
- Increase the number of sales
- Reposition your brand
- Influence behavior
- Raise awareness of your company if you’re looking to hire talented employees
This list isn’t exhaustive. And, a PR campaign can have many other goals. Regardless, you must define what you want to achieve first before you build the strategy. Only then can you do market research, create content, and reach out to the right outlets such as journalists, blog posts, or other forms of media.
The First Step to Launching a PR Campaign
The content you publish should be based on your unique selling proposition (USP) to create interest in your startup company or new product.
The USP features what your company does better than your competitors and the benefit to your customers. Ideally, you should be able to summarize your pitch in one sentence.
The best PR campaigns should answer the four “Ws” in one sentence:
- Who — Your company and target audience
- What — The unique offering
- Why — The problem your product, service, or brand solves
- Where — Date your offering hits the market
Here’s an example of a one-sentence pitch to get your public relations campaign off to a great start:
My company, [company name], has developed [product name] to help [target audience] solve [mention the problem] by [mention the USP].
You’ll see that the one-sentence pitch tells what the product is, what pain points the product solves, and the unique value of the solution. You should also write the perfect press release headline or blog post title in addition to your pitch.
How to Create Content for Launching a PR Campaign
When you have your pitch perfected, you’re now able to write killer content that resonates with your target audience. When you have a solid understanding of your USP, you can write content clearly and concisely. However, to make your press release stand out, you must write newsworthy content.
When creating your content, the first paragraph should always be the pitch that has your USP. Journalists, influencers, and reporters don’t have much time. So, you want to tell them upfront why they should bother reading your press release. All the essential facts should be in the first paragraph.
The following paragraphs should provide more details about your brand, company, and products. When reading the content, the reader should get a rounded-out idea of how your news affects your customers and the given industry. You can also include one or two quotes, authority references, or results of research.
The last paragraph shouldn’t just rehash the information you’ve already stated. Mention a fact or two that strengthens your pitch or predicts the future implications of your new product or company.
How to create newsworthy content for PR campaigns
There are a few ways you can maximize the chances that a journalist will view your press release as relevant and publish it. Here are four ways you can help to make sure that your content is newsworthy:
- Relevance — Make sure your content is relevant to what’s going on in your industry. Try to keep up with trends or target journalists who write about your industry.
- Current — News has to be current. So, pitch your content in a way that addresses current needs and concerns in your industry.
- Unique angle — Putting a unique take on your company can ensure that you’re not saying what everyone else is. Give reporters something new to talk about.
- Newsjacking — You could also add value to your press release by relating it to something trending on social media or currently in the headlines.
Top Ways to Contact the Media when Launching a PR Campaign
When you have your PR strategy in place and content created, the next step is to submit your content. The goal of PR is to strengthen public relationships between your company and consumer. The only way to do this is to publish your material. So, the content must capture journalists’ attention.
How can you ensure that your press release gets published?
First, research relevant journalists, social influencers, or reporters in your industry. They will not only be interested in your product, but they already have the audience you want to target.
Second, when you have a list of journalists you want to contact, you should send personalized emails. However, personalizing an email is more than just using their name. It’s a good idea to write specifically about why you have chosen this person to discuss your startup or product launch.
Get our guide on how to create the ultimate email subject line to increase the chances of a journalist opening your PR campaign email.
Third, make sure that your pitch is short and to the point. Typically, between five and seven sentences should be enough.
Here’s a template to use when contacting a social influencer or journalist for your PR campaign:
- Dear [name],
I really liked what you wrote about [mention something specific] in [the source]. I think that [write one or two sentences about what you liked].
My company, [company’s name], has developed [then continue with a one-sentence pitch].
The reason [the product name and then continue with the pain points the product solves].
I would love to talk to you for 15 minutes if you’re interested in this.
PR Strategies and Tactics
There are several strategies you can use to maximize the impact of your PR campaign. A robust PR strategy typically includes three channels — owned media, paid media, and earned media.
Depending on your industry, a PR strategy will focus on what is most effective for your product or company.
Here are the three types of public relations to use in your strategies.
1. Owned media for building a PR campaign
Owned media is any digital outlet your company controls. Usually, a solid PR campaign starts with leveraging your digital assets for your public relations activities. Owned media includes any of the following:
- Social media posts
- Blog posts
- Website copy
- Email newsletters
- White papers
- Case studies
Usually, when journalists or influencers talk about your product or startup, they will link to your owned media.
2. Paid media
A paid media advertising campaign can often give you fast results. For example, paying someone to feature your product or startup guarantees your press release, videos, and social posts are published. Paid media includes the following:
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
- Press releases
- Influencer marketing
- Social media advertising
In some cases, you can get social media exposure and publish press releases without paying. However, it’s more common now for companies to pay for PR rather than relying on organic reach.
3. Earned media
The best and most effective strategy for PR is earned media. This is word-of-mouth advertising, and it happens when there is a buzz around your product. Getting this type of PR boost requires publishing content consistently and working on your search engine optimization (SEO). The results of earned media include:
- Top spots on search engine search results
- Press announcements
- Mentions on social media
- Features in industry-related news and reviews
Reverse Pitching for Positive PR
Reverse pitching is another way to launch an effective PR campaign. This process involves registering with websites that journalists connect to. In your profile, you can outline your startup or new product. Then journalists who are looking for related stories can contact you.
Launching a PR Campaign: Take Action Now
Launching a PR campaign is an ongoing strategy to develop positive relationships with the public. There are several tactics and tools to implement in your PR strategy. Besides press releases, you should regularly create fresh content for your website, keep a positive social media presence, and use paid media sources.
With any strategy to boost public relations, it’s also crucial to get all employees on board. This means keeping anyone working on the project up to date with the pitches you use in your campaign.
When you implement a solid PR strategy, your campaign will result in greater online exposure. A combination of owned media and paid media will earn your brand social media mentions, backlinks, and a positive reputation. Launching a robust PR campaign will develop a brand that consumers trust.
At inThink, we’ve launched our own successful rebrand PR campaign, and have managed PR campaign launches for a range of clients. Contact us today to learn how we can create a buzz-worthy PR campaign for your brand.