Heather DeSantis on How to Get the Most Out of Your PR Campaign
I have been practicing PR professionally for more than eight years now. And as someone who has worked with countless brands and online personalities throughout my career–providing every single one with various PR services to match their different goals, I have to say that one of the most heartbreaking things to witness is to see a brand that is not able to fully realize the potential growth that PR could have provided them and their campaign.
The circumstances surrounding such situations are always varied, but the end result is always the same–satisfactory results, but not extraordinary. As someone who makes a living out of fostering healthy relationships between brands and the public, I wanted to enumerate five guidelines that can help anyone ensure that they are able to get the most out of their PR campaigns, regardless of the size of the industry they are in and the budget they are working with
Have a very clear set of objectives
More often than not, I see clients turn to PR because of their limited advertising budget, thinking that we can provide them with the same results that they would get if they ran an ad. Let me tell you to flat out that it does not work that way. Advertising and PR function very differently and therefore are able to provide brands with very different results.
Whereas advertising would allow you to get your message across in a very fast and often visually-striking manner, with PR, the message is eased into people’s minds, which allows them to better understand it. This is also the reason why PR materials are often lengthier. If you’re running a campaign with both a PR and advertising component, it needs to be very clear in your head what the purpose of each is so that you can make smarter decisions that promote efficiency.
- Understand the role and strength of each platform
Similar to buying media, running PR campaigns are also oftentimes more effective if they are done on multiple platforms. Generally speaking, websites allow you to effectively tell your stories and explain the details of your campaign, while social media permits you to create more buzz and just amplify your messages.
When it comes to social media, before even thinking of engaging influencers, you need to know the clear role of each platform. Facebook, by and large, is used by many for its ability to let brands reach many people across different market segments, while Instagram serves as a repository for visually striking images that can uplift the image of the brand. YouTube gives more opportunity to highlight RTBs in a video format of any length, while the much controversial TikTok can help get the GenZers to pay attention to what you’re saying.
Understanding the roles and strengths of each platform will allow you to provide your ambassadors and influencers to create more hardworking content that serves its purpose.
- Prepare a budget and always consult.
A lot of marketers and entrepreneurs tend to go into PR without a set of budget, and while that’s understandable for many reasons, know that providing your PR agency or consultant with an amount that they can work on just makes everything so much easier for everyone. It makes it easier for us to identify what services we can provide to help you reach your goals, which platforms we can work with, and for how long–all those details that you’ll need to know before you even launch a campaign.
In addition, you need to trust your PR person enough to consult with them and treat their recommendations as those by experts. Keep in mind that you’re doing PR because you need to create that relationship with your target audience. There is no one else who can help you achieve this in the most effective and efficient way than someone who specializes in PR.
- Be open to options
A couple of times, I’ve seen brands approach PR agencies asking them to be connected to certain celebrities, influencers, or news outlets, or to get an influencer to create a very specific execution for them. Unless you have all the money in the world to get things done exactly the way you want it to, you need to be open to hearing options. Understand that: first, third parties, whether they be publications or influencers, have their own set of rules, and more often than not, these were established to cater to their specific audience–because it’s what works for them. They most likely will not bend those for you. Second, some of these people may already have existing relationships with your competitors, which you really just have to respect.
- Stay true to your brand’s values.
There’s nothing more off than having a brand stray away from their established values just to get talked about. Especially if you’re a brand that already has a strong following, staying firm to what you’ve been known for is something that can make your PR agency’s work so much easier, because then all they have to do is communicate things that are already built into your company’s DNA.
One of my favorite quotes comes from American author Robert Greene who said, “Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to particular knowledge.”
This has helped me really stay focused and work on mastering PR for the past couple of years–so I can help others maximize whatever resources they are ready to put into their campaigns. If you’re someone who also wants to learn more and master PR, then let me help you get a headstart. I am personally inviting you to my 10-Week PR Certification Program, which I shall be launching very soon. Let me teach you about the art and science of this amazing practice and, hopefully, get you to understand why I am so obsessed with it.