We recently did a project for a friend of mine. He called us up saying that his company had undertaken this terrific initiative and they wanted to spread the word. They had their website ready to go and had a small, but targeted marketing budget behind their new project. Then, on the eve of the launch, they decided they should try to get some media coverage too. So they called us and asked if we could help. And oh, by the way, we have nearly no budget.
Okay, I said. We’ll help you out, because you have a growing young company and one project can sometimes turn into a long-standing client.
We redrafted their news release and pitched it to a handful of target radio and television programs before distributing it widely. Having accepted the project on Thursday, we had our client on the air on Monday. We were happy to help them out, but we could have done so much more for them if we’d been able to work on a more strategic level.
Today, the disciplines of marketing and PR are converging, forced together because consumers are behaving very differently than they used to. Technology allows us to search out and consume the media we want, the way we want, whenever we want. So the advertisement that makes us laugh is consumed immediately after a video about that heroic cat and a post from your friend’s Italian vacation.
Companies today need to recognize that those same tech trends have effectively integrated their communications efforts. Your paid media (advertising) needs to work in concert with your earned media (PR). From our perspective, they all intersect with your owned media (the content you create), because it’s all the same to the public.
Back to our clientâ€¦
They would have been much better off if we could have sat down with them months ago to come up with a strategic communications plan. Here are some the questions we would have asked:
- What are our goals? How will we measure success?
- Who are our target audiences? What do we want them to do?
- What are our key messages? How can we tell our story?
- How will we get our messages out with reach and frequency?
- What will our paid media strategy be?
- How will we get earned media?
- Should we use any grassroots communications tactics like town halls, pop-up stores or speeches?
- Can we leverage key influencers? Industry authorities? Other VIPs?
- How will we use owned media?
- Should we use social networks? Should we push our content out via native advertising?
After we answered all of those questions, and developed the plan, we would then work with them to execute it.
At the end of the day, we were hired to get them some publicity, which we didâ€¦ but we can really move the needle when we have the chance to help our clients think and plan more strategically.