There was a time when all it took to get a message out about a particular issue was a simple invitation or mention in the newspaper. Today, getting a message out requires public relations professionals to create campaigns that are an ongoing outreach process. The mass media is undergoing radical change and one of the challenges for PR pros is to translate the desire for change into effective action steps by moving opinion into behavior, in order to create social action online.
Blogs, social networks and sophisticated market research are making campaign messaging somewhat challenging but more necessary than ever before. For example, if an organization makes an annual commitment to discuss breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness month and each year conducts a radio media tour, they should think about ways to capitalize on the radio media tour before, during and after the tour by utilizing online tools. Long gone are the days of only establishing basic messaging on radio, print and TV and having that be enough to spur action.
According to ConversationMarketing.com, most web site traffic comes in six months before and after a campaign is launched. But, PR professionals may miss the opportunity to capitalize on the traffic coming to their web site or social networking sites if they don’t strike while the iron is hot. One way to avoid missing this opportunity is to couple a media outreach campaign with social networking sites, viral emails, and website traffic.
Campaigns should tap into core demographics, consumer groups like “women between the ages of 35 and 65” if a campaign is based around breast cancer education, and later consider building the effort outward to include men and other female age groups as momentum is gained online.
Considering all this, planning a campaign targeting consumers online along with the most newsworthy story angles during a campaign will mean support throughout the year for events and initiatives. Keep in mind, the goal is to get as much advance and post publicity as possible and to get consumers involved by having a strong call to action to get them engaged in a campaign instead of simply being told about it.