Embarking on a company-wide public relations campaign is a big decision for any business, but a PR endeavor can be for naught if the proper steps are not taken from the outset. I’ve outlined four essential steps below to ensure a successful corporate publicity campaign.
1. Start Sooner than Later
A common misconception held by newcomers to the public relations realm is that the appropriate start date is when the final touches have been put on a new product or location. This is typically the initial obstacle that has many professionals sputtering out of the gate: your PR campaign should begin at least four to six months in advance of your anticipated launch. Properly executed publicity involves creating a snowball-effect by ever-increasing mentions and features across a wealth of publications; by the time many businesses feel they are ready to proceed with PR, their window of opportunity has already begun to close.
2. Appoint a Company Spokesperson
Appointing a spokesperson to handle all media matters and requests is vital to maximizing the likelihood that your thoughts and ideas make it to print. Reporters and editors adhere to strict deadlines, and in many cases, the contact that provides the content they desire first will be the source quoted in the final copy. Publicity by committee leads to confusion, dragging feet and, ultimately, missed opportunities. Nominate a spokesperson to handle all public relations activity.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Stretch Your Message
There’s a tendency in the business arena to begin to adopt a form of corporate tunnel vision; you become so close to your skills and knowledge that it’s virtually impossible to view things from a third-party perspective. As a result of this myopic mindset, many potentially lucrative opportunities fall to the wayside or are ignored entirely; cast aside because they don’t fit into the specific schema you’ve formed about the nature of your business or expertise.
4. Stir the Pot with Unique Perspectives and Controversy
Nothing whets the media’s appetite quite like a good, old-fashioned controversy. They dominate headlines, they are the fodder for early morning water cooler conversation and most importantly: they sell papers. This does not mean to delve into the gutters of Kardashian-inspired, tabloidian gossip, but providing a unique counterpoint to commonly held beliefs or opinions is a terrific way to produce attention and awareness.