Is Your Public Relations Campaign?
You know that it order to be understood, you have to speak in a way that has meaning for the ones you are directing our information to.
Your public relations campaign is no different. Think about it: you are trying to reach a vast array of people via traditional and online media opportunities. For example, what you say in a tweet will need to be different from what you write in a blog or ezine column. It can be the same basic message but it has to be delivered in a way that is appropriate. I liken the process to one I learned while studying Latin in college. Spanish and French are both rooted in Latin so in theory both can be understood, right? Not so. Speaking Spanish in France will not be as effective as speaking French and you know why.
Add to this the complexity and ever-changing media world and you can easily lose sight of how to best present your message. For that reason your public relations campaigns have got to be flexible and versatile. That means knowing when and how to switch tracks on a particular public relations trail – on short notice, if need be. And that also requires being informed about the various angles of your message as well as the ways media works.
Tips to help you retain your flexibility
- Be willing to recognize what isn’t working: Does your news angle have relevance to the media you are sending it to? Do your tweets have value that others are responding to?
- Be willing to show don't tell: Use professionally cited examples of your message in action, not theory. Humanize your campaign wherever possible and localize if necessary, adapting to suit the needs of the media you are attempting to engage.
- Be respectful: Most of the media personnel you interact with have to be very flexible. Sometimes your story won't make it to the page or the screen because an editor decided, last minute, to change the reporter/writer's course.
A planned campaign is always the best starting point. Know what your message is and which media types are best suited to deliver that message to target markets and audiences. Having an understanding of this will help you make choices – expected or not. It will allow you and your campaign to keep swimming if and when the currents change. And in today’s information age, that happens often.
Flexibility means talking ‘off topic’ if necessary. For example, a client of mine has a woodworking hobby. Staying flexible, we got him a great full page interview in a prestigious business journal that profiled him as someone who had a life ‘outside of the office’.
Developing flexibility takes practice and depends upon your comfort level. But it's worth the effort because it allows you to adapt your public relations campaign so that it can be delivered to as many people as possible in a way that really matters to them.