A PR campaign is a set of activities that are planned out and executed with the end goal of, in most cases, creating awareness of a brand, personality or message.  PR campaigns are designed to create buzz beyond a regular advertising plan.

So you’ve decided that a PR campaign is right for you and you’re going to use social media as your obvious outlet specifically because you have hardly any budget. What’s the one step that is vital in executing a good PR campaign, or any campaign for that matter?  Planning!

You might have heard that every minute of planning saves 10 minutes in execution.  I don’t know if the ratio is correct or not but I experience the benefits of investing in planning almost every single day.  I’ve developed the habit of taking the first 15 minutes of my day to review my schedule of meetings and tasks, and plan their execution throughout the day.  I find that this relieves my anxiety over not finishing before the end of my day (which I also set based on the workload) and makes me more relaxed, therefore more productive.

In planning your campaign, outline your goals for the campaign and how you will measure success.  Will you measure it by the amount of likes your facebook page gets?  The total reach of your posts?  Perhaps you will measure it by a specific metric outside of social media like increased sales.  Whatever your unit of measurement, make sure it exists and is a core part of your campaign.  Since you’re working at a grass roots level and the only investment you can afford is your time, plan your strategy for gaining free exposure.  Here are four tips you can use to increase your chances of meeting your goals.

Create your target list and plan your approach
Find out who the experts in your industry or subject matter are.  Search Google for articles and create a list of the authors.  Are they reporters?  Contributors? Industry experts?  Are there any analysts quoted in the article?  Build a list and consider that your circle of influence.  You can build your list around a specific platform such as facebook, twitter and LinkedIn.  Twitter actually allows you to subscribe to someone else’s twitter list.  Research your competition’s twitter list and look for influencers that they are following or retweeting. A note about journalists:  They are always looking for a story and it doesn’t have to be a sensational one.  If you can find the news in your message, a good journalist can take that and run with it.

Identify, plan and attend events

Search for organizations that you can leverage to either receive your message or better yet, share it with their membership.  Trade organizations like contractor associations are great resources if your product or service can benefit their membership.  Create a calendar of events and plan to attend.  Want to kick it up a notch?  If your message helps a trade group, community or cause, volunteer to speak at these events.  Event organizers are usually scrambling to fill spots even if they already have a headlining speaker.

Become a contributor
You know how I pointed out that journalists are always looking for a new story?  So are their publications.  In today’s Internet world where the cost of adding editorial room is almost non-existent, many publications have opened their sites up to contributors.  Find out if the sites you found your experts on invite contributors and submit your piece.  Remember to keep it informative and don’t throw a sales pitch in their face.  The line between advertisement and journalism has gotten very blurry but it still exists.

Post to Your Social Media Properties
The biggest mistake most entrepreneurs and start-ups make is to create a facebook page or twitter profile and then forget about it. Having a facebook timeline or twitter feed that hardly gets posts is worse than not having one at all.
Remember that little piece about planning? Figure out what time, how often and what topics you will post about and plan your posts out at the beginning of the week.  Although it will be different for every industry, a post a day is no longer too often.  Make sure you’re making the most of your posts by publishing them when you think your audience will have time to read it.  Unless you sell sleeping pills, a post at 2:a.m. is probably not a good idea.
At the end of the day, if you think about when and how you like to consumer information, you should be okay.  Just remember to plan. I once heard that failure to plan is to plan to fail and I can also attest to that.     Good luck!

Carlos A. Noriega is the founder and Digital Strategist at LEAP interactive media group, a digital marketing agency specializing in digital marketing and web application development.  Interested in our services?  Contact Us for a free consultation!