Launching a PR Campaign: What You Need to Know and Do to Get It Right

Lee Groeger - 05/16/2022

Just like a rocket, when you’re launching a company, product line or initiative, you’ve really only got one shot at getting it right. In order to realize a successful PR launch, it’s helpful to visualize the big picture as a before-and-after. In fact, the ‘after’ is exactly where you should start.

Creating something is an accomplishment. Taking it a step further and presenting that something to the public or bringing it to market is an even bigger triumph. And because achieving this level of success often requires intense commitment and personal sacrifice, what I’m going to say next can be hard to hear, but it’s true. The sheer fact that you’ve created something does not on its own warrant attention, commendation, or any other form of recognition. Does it happen? Sure, sometimes, but always count on being the rule, not the exception.

Just like a rocket, when you’re launching a company, product line or initiative, you’ve really only got one shot at getting it right. In order to realize a successful PR launch, it’s helpful to visualize the big picture as a before-and-after. In fact, the ‘after’ is exactly where you should start.

Define your main goal.

What would the perfect outcome look like? Start there and work backwards. After all, if you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how can you know what direction to swing?

Success is defined differently by everyone. I was just reading an article about the upcoming Marcel the Shell With Shoes On movie that’s coming out this summer in which co-creators Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp discussed the road to getting the film made.

I’ll pause here only to say that if you don’t know what I’m talking about (or even if you do), give yourself the gift of watching the original 2010 viral stop motion video.

They shared that, over the years, there were plenty of studios that wanted to turn this concept into a full-length feature, but they all seemed to be laser-focused on profits. That’s one success metric, but for Slate and Fleischer-Camp, who were quite protective of Marcel, the goal was to make a film that maintained the integrity of the character and the world they created around him.

So, spend as much time as it takes to figure out what it looks like on the other side of the launch. Is it a financial goal such as a target revenue or number of subscribers, an awareness goal such as coverage in a specific news outlet, or something else entirely? Once you know the answer, you and your PR team can strategically align on working toward that goal cohesively.

Create a phased approach.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Trying to do too many things in too short a time span will leave you exhausted, frustrated, and probably not very satisfied or prosperous. Think of planning for a launch like planning for a wedding; start at the big day and back into a schedule that’s sectioned off into chunks, with milestones along the way. Not only will this keep you on task and organized, but celebrating small victories will keep you feeling energized and focused on progressing.

We always like to break campaigns out into at least two phases, usually more. And for each of those phases, we create a timeline to keep everyone on the same page in terms of efforts and expectations. You can’t plan for surprises, but this way you can at least minimize them.

Know your niche.

We all know that, short of air, water and food, very few commodities are for everyone. This is as true of media as it is of your customer base.

In PR, there are two main audience groups: the press and the audience. Under the umbrella of each of those groups falls various subgroups included B2B press, consumer press, customers, and stakeholders. What’s nice about public relations is that it’s fluid; as you learn and evolve, so can your messaging, up until even the last moments before you’re off to the races. It’s incredibly important that the team handling your PR understands your intended audience, because that informs how they deliver that messaging, and who it’s delivered to.

Craft an airtight pitch.

If you’ve watched Shark Tank (and let’s face it, we all have), you know that if an entrepreneur doesn’t have their pitch locked and loaded, they’re—well—shark bait. The same rules apply to pitching media. It’s not that you need to have a song a dance prepared, but you do need to be able to paint a crystal-clear picture that answers the 5 Ws and 1 H.

What is it? What problem does it solve? Strip away all the superlatives and glittering generalities and focus on the undisputable facts.

Why now? It’s called ‘news,’ not ‘olds’. When you are introducing a concept to the media, think about why it matters to their audience today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Who is behind it? Identify key players and their roles, not only in terms of their contributions behind the scenes, but also in terms of who will be fielding interviews and questions from various press.

When are the important dates your audience should know about? For example, the date of a grand opening, activation, premiere, or when a product will be available for purchase.

Where is the news originating from (i.e., company headquarters), where are involved parties from (i.e., hometowns), and what areas will the news impact? The answers to these questions will inform what geographic markets should be included in your campaign outreach.

How can prospective customers get more information, and how can press get in touch with key players? All this information (websites, social media channels, rep. email addresses, etc.) should be readily available for anyone interested in learning more.  

When you are very close to a project, it’s almost impossible to see it objectively—that’s just human nature. The knowledge and passion that comes with being so intimately familiar with something is part of what makes your story unique and valuable. But successfully launching a PR campaign requires the ability to look at everything through two lenses: yours and your audience’s. I can’t speak for every PR agency, but 3E PR’s understanding of and ability to balance those dual perspectives is part of what attracts conscious company leaders to us, and why they stick around.

Have something exciting on the horizon? Maybe we can help. Let’s find out! Email me any time

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