Alyssa Patzius

Alyssa Patzius is the vice president of sales. Intero Digital is a full-service digital marketing agency whose Content & PR Division helps businesses improve their lead generation, SEO, sales enablement, and thought leadership — all powered by content marketing and PR.

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what is a pr campaign

What Is a PR Campaign? | Public Relations Campaign Strategy

What Is a PR Campaign? | Public Relations Campaign Strategy

Alyssa Patzius, Vice President of Sales • Intero Digital • December 9, 2022

what is a pr campaign

PR’s a lot like fishing. Both processes require the right bait, good timing, and a lot of patience. Oh, and one more thing: You end up having to constantly explain why your craft is much more than meets the eye (and much more complex than most people think).

What Is a PR Campaign?

Typically, PR campaigns fall into one of two buckets: source pitching and announcements.

The first is that the PR campaign is being used as an outreach strategy to pitch a corporate subject matter expert (SME) as a source for journalists whose content reaches specific target audiences. For example, let’s say Mr. Flounder is the head of a company that sells HR software to businesses. His company hires Intero Digital to create a PR campaign strategy geared toward improving brand recognition among HR professionals. Our team contacts journalists who write pieces catering to that audience and offers up Mr. Flounder as a thought leader with expertise and unique insights who’s available to serve as a source in an interview on the topic.

The second type of PR campaign is one that’s being used as an announcement vehicle. The announcement generally involves the creation of at least one press release or some form of proprietary data/news. When Ms. Salmon’s company launches a new product, enters into a noteworthy partnership, receives funding round investment money, or achieves any important business milestone, she’ll probably use this kind of PR campaign strategy.

What Makes a Good PR Campaign?

Now that we’ve discussed “what is a PR campaign,” let’s dig deeper into what makes a “good” PR campaign and how the PR campaign strategy development process unfolds. Then, we will evaluate all the PR campaign steps used to drive the most successful outcomes.

When constructing a PR strategy, we stay keenly aware of the client’s intentions. As we listen, we think about all our press contacts. Remember: Our role requires us to interact with journalists and their published content (including social media posts, photos, and videos). We also make sure we choose the best PR campaign “bucket” to pursue to achieve the client’s goals and secure the desired results.

PR Campaign Steps

After we’ve developed a structured, agreed-upon game plan for press outreach, our team gets to work. To understand what this means, check out the following road map of steps that go into most PR campaigns, regardless of type:

1. Pitching to journalists

This is where our fishing skills come into play. Thanks to the journalist relationship-building we’ve engaged in, we can pinpoint which journalists we should contact. We’ll send them our press release or information about the SME. We want them to take the bait, so we’re selective about who receives our attention. Additionally, we prepare ourselves to be able to argue that our client’s expertise is indeed relevant to the journalist’s area of coverage. Journalists can sniff out “fish tales,” so we make sure the pitch is strong and compelling.

2. Waiting for journalists to respond

The best-case scenario for any pitch is a resounding “I’m interested!” In that case, we’re quickly trying to reel in the live catch. We’ll set up an interview or offer to get more information beyond the press release. Of course, not all journalists stay on the line all the way through to a published press mention. That’s OK. Either way, we’re raising awareness about the client and improving a web of outreach that can be a future benefit. You’d be surprised how many journalists recall a pitch they turned down and come back for insights for a different assignment weeks or months down the line.

3. Monitoring industry trends

While waiting for responses to the pitch, we keep tabs on industry trends by reading the industry newsletters pertinent to the clients’ audiences. (Our favorite selections right now? Incrypto by Morning Brew, Fortune’s CFO Daily, and Quartz Daily Brief.) We set up Google Alerts for keywords or topics our clients are interested in, too. Staying ahead of the curve allows us to help clients take advantage of emerging opportunities in real time. These might be used for an existing or future PR campaign strategy.

4. Building a media list

Intero Digital specializes in handling hypertargeted PR campaigns that require a personalized approach. We don’t do the conventional spray-and-pray method of sending out pitches and releases to anyone and everyone. This means we’re constantly adding to our media listings as new and interesting publications, sites, and podcasts bubble to the surface. To help us customize correspondence with journalists, we keep track of their work and anything we might have in common, such as hobbies (like weightlifting!) or a shared alma mater (MIZ!).

5. Following up on initial outreach

Our team has gotten pretty good at keeping pitches short, sweet, clear, and free of annoying and unnecessary pleasantries. Our media relations strategists spend lots of time on subject lines, which is why I believe some of my favorites — “Forget Black Friday? Cancel Cyber Monday?” and “Ballin’ on an Event Marketing Budget 💸” — did so well. Even still, not all journalists respond right away. That’s when you have to casually but determinedly nudge. The nudge might include a bit more information or ask for clarity on whether the journalist received your outreach and is interested. Remember: Hearing “no” isn’t the end of the world. It just gets you closer to your next “yes.”

6. Reviewing PR campaign statistics

Numbers never lie, so it’s important to track all PR campaigns. At the same time, it’s worth remembering that if a journalist opens a pitch and still declines the offer, it’s a win. So, raw data must be interpreted correctly. At Intero Digital, we focus on driving up this kind of campaign engagement. A journalist who nibbles once will be likely to nibble again — and that bodes well for future “fishing” expeditions.

7. Identifying journalists to reengage with down the road

Journalists receive hundreds of emails a day, making them hard to reel in. Our media relations strategists keep a roster of journalists who’ve been receptive. They ultimately become our go-to people for PR campaigns. Never underestimate the power that can come from having insider experts on your side. It’s not unheard of for a journalist to call us — and that just launches the chance for a brand-new client PR campaign.

PR campaigns might not be as relaxing as lounging with a makeshift fishing pole in a shady spot by a pristine pond. But they can be just as rewarding when all your efforts and patience pay off.

Download our guide to modern PR to maximize your PR campaigns.

Alyssa Patzius

Alyssa Patzius is the vice president of sales. Intero Digital is a full-service digital marketing agency whose Content & PR Division helps businesses improve their lead generation, SEO, sales enablement, and thought leadership — all powered by content marketing and PR.

Related Blog Posts