Targeted strategy: a campaign that hits the mark

Companies want to see themselves in the media; online, print and broadcast, but what they are doing or saying in this space determines its relevance or value to that company. Let’s have a look at the basic steps involved in planning an effective and measureable PR campaign.

Firstly, you must know the company goals. What it is the company trying to achieve and how can PR work to help achieve them.

Who are you talking to? Determine who it is you want your campaign to communicate with, your target audience. Is it the people buying your products/services, prospective employees, local businesses? Here are 15 questions you can ask yourself to define your target market.

What are the brand messages? I’m a good corporate citizen. I’m a great business to work for. I deliver trustworthy and high quality products and services. Your key message is what you want your audience to learn from your campaign. It’s what you’ll use to relate and appeal to them. A PR campaign may very well have multiple key messages to attract different target audiences.

This is a very simplified outline of planning for a campaign but if you have these key elements determined it will help your tactical execution be more relevant and effective. Here are some tactical ideas to help achieve your communication goals.

Good PR influences an audience. It’s the voice, and if no-one is listening it is failing. It’s not good enough to just get any old type of coverage if it’s not achieving anything.

Here are a few good measures we use to help evaluate the outcome of a campaign and these are important to consider when planning your tactical execution.

1. Overall sentiment – we evaluate exposure by its overall sentiment (negative, neutral or positive). Does the newspaper article position the company positively or negatively? This is a measure of the general tone and it’s usually very obvious.

2. Supports brand messages – does the exposure include your key brand messages related to your company goals? This is what differentiates your company and if these aren’t included then the PR has failed.

3. Call to action – is your target audience encouraged to take action? A successful PR piece will incite a call to action like visiting your company’s website or calling your phone number or to think about changing behaviour. This is what allows your customer to take the next step and engage with your brand.

4. Support above the line campaigns – PR is in a unique position where it provides the opportunity to validate a company’s brand messages. Whereas advertising screams “buy me”, PR subtly informs consumers about reasons why “buying you” will benefit them. Any good exposure driven by PR should support above the line campaigns.