In today’s information-driven society, PR and media exposure is a must for any business. But how long should these campaigns be? The answer to this question will depend on the size of your company, industry, and target audience.
Public relations campaigns are used to help spread the word about a company or product. They can be created for any length of time, but how long should they last?
When it comes to creating publicity/media exposure for a product or service, estimating how long it will take to start and sustain a successful media exposure campaign is difficult. What is the ideal campaign duration, and how much work will it take to do the task effectively?
In my PR career, I’ve launched initiatives that only required a few weeks of awareness, as well as long-term efforts that produced media coverage for years. I can tell you that a single media release distribution is seldom successful. Editors and reporters are usually working on several stories at the same time and will require time to evaluate your proposal. Although your release may be intriguing and important, the editor may just not have the room in the media outlet’s editorial schedule to utilize your proposal at that time. Make sure he or she sees it again when the editorial calendar comes up in a few weeks. Keep in mind that, since news organizations get so many press releases and article ideas these days, it may take weeks for them to respond to anything you’ve given them. That’s why, over the course of many months, you should do comprehensive media follow-ups to guarantee media reception, appropriate media digestion, and, ideally, media acceptance of your release or pitch.
“No PR firm or publicist can FORCE the media to use their releases,” I constantly tell my clients, “but they CAN make sure that the media has seen or heard about your message in some form or another by the conclusion of the campaign – which will lead to good media coverage.”
Knowing when you’ve shot all your PR bullets, when it’s time to re-load the chambers with fresh ammunition, or when you should move on to other marketing objectives is one of the keys to deciding the duration of a successful campaign. Here’s how my customers’ campaign durations have broken down over the last several years:
9 percent for ads lasting less than two months. 3 to 6 month campaigns: 38% 7- to 9-month campaigns: 37% 16 percent of campaigns with a duration of nine months or more
A) Timely, date-sensitive campaigns — a release or message linked to a current event that may be obsolete in 6–8 weeks — are the most common 1–2 month efforts. We can start a campaign a few weeks before the event and get excellent spot coverage in newspapers, TV news programs, and online news sites all across the country – the campaign will take approximately 6-8 weeks to complete.
B) Most new product PR efforts are best suited for a three- to six-month time period, accounting for certain media outlets’ lengthy lead-times. However, depending on media response and subsequent customer interest, certain product campaigns may be prolonged for many more months. For example, a recent consumer electronics product marketing campaign began as a six-month campaign but was extended to a year due to the product’s sales frenzy and popularity.
C) The longest campaigns are for customers whose companies or skills are “evergreen and regenerative,” which means they aren’t bound to the shelf life of a new product launch, aren’t tied to a particular date, and can be re-stoked for a fresh wave of media attention every few months. A “tradeshow expert” is one of my long-term clientele. Her professional counsel is relevant at any time of year and may be included editorially year after year, particularly in business and trade publications. Month after month, this results in numerous stories and features in a variety of media sources. Remember, your PR campaign’s originality and media pitching cleverness may help it last for months.
A significant amount of time will be spent developing and creating your media market PR strategy. The preparation of the media market research and polishing of the media release may seem time-consuming, but they are well worth the work when done well. Prepare to spend at least a few hours each day after the campaign’s initial launch maintaining it, including conducting numerous media follow-ups and making new media pitches (emails, faxes, mailings, and phone calls); fulfilling media requests (forwarding product photos, media kits/product samples, arranging interviews); and tracking/clipping articles and features.
If you don’t have the time, resources, or skill to start your own campaign, use the media to get your word out. However, if your area of expertise is in another field, and you or your employees lack publicity-generating abilities (or have little or no experience dealing with the media), it may be better to delegate the task to someone who can ensure it is done correctly the first time. When determining whether or not you can manage your own PR campaign, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I have the knowledge and time to do it without jeopardizing my existing workload or that of my employees?
Do I have the writing skills to put together a media release or feature pitch that will elicit responses from editors, reporters, and producers?
Do I have the financial means to do media research and send my press release to those outlets?
On a related topic, with all of the current economic uncertainty, many entrepreneurs and businesses have been hampered by decreasing marketing expenditures.
I think that we, as entrepreneurs, must work together as much as possible to assist as many people as possible get through this difficult period and back to steady development.
To that end, for the whole third quarter of 2011, I am providing a discount on my media exposure campaign service charge to assist businesses with their tighter budgets and help them flourish again into the fourth quarter and beyond.
Please contact us if you or any other entrepreneurs or companies you know might benefit from this discount and national media exposure.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a campaign last?
A campaign lasts for a set number of days, and then the game ends.
How are PR campaigns measured?
PR campaigns are measured by the amount of coverage a campaign gets. This can be done through word of mouth, social media mentions, and press releases.
How long does it take to launch a campaign?
This depends on the type of campaign. For a Kickstarter, it can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to launch and for a GoFundMe it can take anywhere from 1-3 days.
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