By Chris Norton, the founder of Prohibition PR and multi-award-winning social media marketing expert,
In today’s competitive market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands across all sectors to stand out from the crowd. Huge brand names that were once a cornerstone for success are now struggling, while smaller, challenger brands scoop up market share across industries. The reason – some argue that effective marketing models are seeing challenger brands stealing consumer attention, while others accredit the market shift to a maturing consumer mindset. Regardless, the fact remains, effective PR and marketing have never been more critical for businesses looking to grow in the digital age.
It comes as no surprise then, that brands are demanding effective PR campaigns that are both innovative and unique. However, while standing out from the crowd and getting your brand noticed is often a key success indicator, businesses must be aware that a PR campaign shouldn’t default to creating noise in isolation. The strategic approach to a genuinely successful PR campaign must be far more nuanced.
Before you dive in with big and bold ideas, it’s essential to do your research and have a clear plan in place. First and foremost, research your target audience and get under the skin of what they engage with and the content that they like. Secondly, establish a really clear and focused message that you want to convey through your campaign. These two considerations should form the basis for any campaign you’re working on, as in the simplest terms – if you don’t know whom you’re targeting and why you’re trying to target them, how can you possibly deliver a successful campaign?
Once established and your business targets, audience and objectives are clear to all involved, you should aim to make sure every decision that’s made while planning comes back to these points. At every stage of the process, ensure that what is being planned is relevant and engaging to the target audience and that the key messages are being conveyed clearly and effectively.
Quality, engaging content is key
To stand out from the crowd and to achieve the desired results from your campaign – quality content remains vital and is of high importance. Whether you’re a B2B brand promoting something really niche and sector-specific or a B2C brand who has a new product launch or event that you want to be featured by the media – ensuring your content is engaging. High quality is arguably the most crucial factor. This is where content marketing plays a pivotal role in your campaign.
It’s not of a particular surprise when something not interesting, unengaging or lacking in originality isn’t picked up by every national journalist, so to avoid this happening you must ensure that your PR campaign provides quality content. Whether that’s impressive visuals, including video and photography, new and insightful statistics or something thought-provoking and innovative – it must be unique, and it must consist of engaging content. Always ensure that your content focuses on your audience and your campaign goals and objectives as well as being engaging and you will deliver a successful campaign. Think what value your target audience will take away from your campaign. Your objective must be to meet their needs.
Establish a holistic approach
Don’t underestimate the power of combining different marketing tactics as part of a PR campaign. Be it social media, email marketing, organic SEO, PPC or even an event or activation; a truly integrated approach ensures your campaign has the chance to start conversations and create synergy for your brand. Of course, a campaign doesn’t just need to be fully integrated across your marketing team. The wider business must also be briefed and ready to react to an upsurge in product or service requests.
This means involving the sales from the get-go. To ensure the activation is truly successful, and actually does stand out from the crowd, include sales early on. These are the people that truly know your customer inside out, so tap into their insight and see how they feel a campaign could benefit growth.
Use this customer insight to help shape and inform your approach. Also, use this approach as a model to move forward with – be sure to keep your sales team up to speed with the campaign’s success throughout. Ultimately, once your campaign has seen potential new customers engage with the brand, or even enter the sales funnel, it will be your sales team’s responsibility to convert these prospects. Ensuring that the sales department understand the full customer journey is critical to its success.
Ultimately in a world dominated by digital communications, reaching targeted customers has become easier than ever. But, to that end, the world has never been noisier – indeed reading this article is some form of noise. To launch a truly impactful campaign, your strategy is king. Consider what your audience want and need, how you can help meet those needs via your product and how you can use smart, innovative and focused comms to communicate just how effective your solutions are. By doing this, and integrating the broader business into your approach, you will provide PR with a purpose – helping boost kudos, awareness, trust and above all sales.