Whether marketing a special event, annual conference, new publication launch, or political
initiative, here are several good strategies to set you up for success.
By Russell Trahan
countless associations from a variety of industries launch national publicity
campaigns. More often than not, there are a few critical missteps made at the
outset that impede their momentum and have a direct impact on their PR return
on investment. Public relations endeavors are an essential component to
increasing your associationís visibility and name-awareness, but without proper
preparedness and implementation, your visions of success can prove to be
ill-fated pipe dreams.
there are a number of actions you can take to safeguard your association from
PR pitfalls and get the most out of your fledgling publicity campaign. These
strategies are applicable to all types of campaigns ó everything from the
launch of a new publication to the promotion of a special event, annual
conference or a key initiative or political activity your association is
1. Start sooner than later.
misconception held by newcomers to the public relations realm is that the
appropriate start date is when the final touches have been put on a new product
or location. This is typically the initial obstacle that has many professionals
sputtering out of the gate: Your PR campaign should begin at least four to six
months in advance of your anticipated launch. Properly executed publicity
involves creating a snowball-effect by ever-increasing mentions and features
across a wealth of publications and media; by the time many organizations feel they are ready to proceed with PR,
their window of opportunity has already begun to close.
2. Appoint an organization spokesperson.
to finally pull the trigger on an organization-wide public relations campaign
is enough to create a palpable buzz around the office. The prospect of
increased sales numbers and an expanded member and client base as the result of
increased visibility will generate excitement among your employees and
coworkers, but frequently lost amid the enthusiasm is the responsibility to
delegate a media spokesperson. Publicity by committee leads to confusion,
dragging feet, and ultimately, missed opportunities. Nominate a spokesperson to
handle all public relations activity.
3. Donít be afraid to stretch your message.
tendency in the business arena to adopt a form of organizational tunnel vision;
you become so close to your skills and knowledge that itís virtually impossible
to view things from a third-party perspective. As a result of this myopic
mindset, many potentially lucrative opportunities fall to the wayside or are
ignored entirely; cast aside because they donít fit into the specific schema
youíve formed about the nature of your association or industry and your
your topic to apply to whatís circulating in the news is a fundamental facet to
a profitable campaign. Never decline a publicity opportunity because of a
perceived lack of expertise on a topic; broaden your message to apply to avenues
you may have previously overlooked.
4. Stir the pot with unique perspectives
whets the mediaís appetite quite like a good, old-fashioned controversy. This
does not mean to delve into the gutters of Kardashian-inspired, tabloidian
gossip, but providing a unique counterpoint to commonly held beliefs or
opinions is a terrific way to produce attention and awareness for your
associationís publicity campaigns. A well-researched, informed argument is a
flashing, neon-sign to journalists seeking to provide both sides of an issue.
Do not shy away from ruffling feathers because nothing builds notoriety like
mistake about it, a carefully crafted and properly executed publicity strategy will
enhance your associationís profile and provide a boon to your organizational
efforts. By embarking on a PR campaign with clearly defined goals and an action
plan, youíre positioning your association to enjoy a good return on its
Russell Trahan is president
of PR/PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in positioning organizations
in front of their target audiences in print and online.