I have often come across folk who want to fit PR into a nice little box to bolt on to their marketing campaigns so that they can tell the sales or commercial directors that they have an ‘integrated campaign’. This is the wrong way to approach PR – it’s not an added extra or a nice bit of free publicity – it is something much more fundamental than that.
Of course, marketing and PR should work together very closely. Messages should be consistent across all communications channels. It’s just that ‘earned media’ (PR-generated) is a different kettle of fish to ‘bought media’ (marketing or advertising generated). Nobody owes you any PR coverage so you’d better approach it right in the first place.
The most significant mistake is to assume that you can plan your PR out months in advance. Sure, organisations have key events, such as launches, financial calendar announcements and strategic partnerships that you will want to plan very carefully for. However, you cannot fit all PR activity into coloured bars on a spreadsheet and force certain stories to go out in certain months. Well, you can, but it would be pretty ineffective.
The very nature of news is that it is living, breathing, constantly changing and never static. If you try to push ‘news’ out in certain months, then it is almost certainly not actual news (more likely to be what journalists might call ‘marketing puff’) and risks missing the mark. It’s far better to remain fleet of foot, listening to what is going on in the market and ready to jump on any opportunities where you can add value and (here’s the clever bit) thereby get a plug for your organisation or product in.
You can’t manage the media, and good PR people understand that. It’s like trying to take a tiger for walkies. You’re likely to lose your trousers.
So try and resist the temptation to plan your PR months and months in advance. You’ll spend your whole time buried in spreadsheets whilst golden PR opportunities pass you by.Read More