What Makes a Good PR Campaign?

When it comes to capturing the attention of journalists and prospects, some PR campaigns have more impact than others. But why do some fly and others fail?

A good PR campaign is easy to spot. It builds a relationship between the company and its target demographic. And it’s memorable and leaves a lasting impression. Think the Ice Bucket Challenge.

On the other hand, PR campaigns can fall short for many reasons. Sometimes there are blunders in the planning phase, while other times its due to the content or execution.

There’s no cookie cutter formula for a great PR campaign, but you’re more likely to succeed by taking the following tips into consideration:

Keep it simple

According to The Telegraph, the human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, to 8 seconds today. So one sentence is often all you have to grab a journalist, TV producer or Twitter user’s attention. If you can’t explain your campaign in a sentence, simplify it.

If you need some inspiration, follow the example of the Post Office and its Golden Post Box campaign. Launched during the London Olympic Games in 2012, the campaign was simple in concept, but got global recognition.

To celebrate the success of Team GB, the Post Office painted 110 of its iconic red post boxes gold, adding plaques with athletes’ names, to mark their gold medal achievement. The post boxes immediately became tourist attractions, with people queuing to take photos beside them.

Royal Mail were the only non-sponsor invited to join the victory parade in September, and they also received a higher volume of mentions during the Olympic Games than many of the global sponsors.

Link it back to your brand

While it’s important to create content that people enjoy and want to share, make sure the message doesn’t get lost. You want your audience to make a clear connection between your brand and that funny or informative article or video they just shared with their friends.

But don’t make it all about your brand

On the flip side, you don’t want your content to be a shameless plug for your brand either. It still needs to be topical and offer something beyond a thinly veiled ad. Make-up vloggers like Zoella are a great example of balancing brand promotion with interesting content. She creates in-demand tutorials that demonstrate products while providing viewers with an entertaining and informative experience they can interact with.

Make it unique

The same rules of normal news stories apply to PR campaigns. If your campaign is not unique, innovative and exciting, it’s unlikely to wow the public and media. A great example of a unique campaign was Coca Cola’s Share A Coke initiative, which saw people’s names printed on to Coke bottles. The campaign aimed to take a global brand and make it more personal to customers. As part of the 2014 campaign, 235,000 tweets were sent from 111,000 fans using the #ShareaCoke hashtag and more than 150 million personalised bottles were sold. After all, seeing your name on an iconic product is bound to grab your attention.

Include a Call to Action

Done in the right way, a call to action can make your campaign go viral. Back to the Ice Bucket Challenge. In 2014, it was described as the world’s largest global social media phenomenon, with over 17 million people, including Barack Obama, uploading videos to Facebook. Since the start of the campaign, over $115 million dollars has been raised to find a cure for ALS. It caught on as it had a unique call to action. Namely to nominate friends to take the challenge. This created a viral loop and worldwide involvement.

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