As I near the end of my college career, there’s one word that keeps popping up in conversation: plan. “What’s your plan after graduating? Where are you planning to work? Do you plan on moving back home?” Most of these questions are met with a shrugged “I’m not quite sure yet,” in response from me since I’m currently still working on that plan and it isn’t fully formulated yet.
In my experience as a student at Auburn and working at Verge Pipe Media, planning is key in public relations and marketing, as it is in everything else. Just take Valentine’s Day as an example. It’s a Hallmark holiday, sure, but it’s also an event that any worthwhile significant other will align with planning a campaign whether they know it or not. Stick around and I’ll elaborate…
Planning a Campaign (or Valentine’s Day!)
Planning focuses on effort, improves effectiveness, encourages a long-term view, minimizes mishaps and reconciles conflicts. Any successful date or relationship will succeed in the same areas. How are these things achieved you ask? Easy, focus on these five questions before you begin planning a campaign or your Valentine’s Day.
What does the client want to achieve?
Now, hopefully, your client is not who you’re planning your Valentine’s Day for, if that’s the case let me point you to this page. Whether it is your client or your date, the thing that you as a planner have to consider is the main goal. For you PR and marketing practitioners out there, once you get into the weeds of starting your campaign, set SMART goals. Those are goals that are: Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. So don’t just say you want to increase visits to your website. Say that you want to increase visits to your website by 10%, from 1,000 visits per month to 1,100 visits per month over the next 3 months.
Now, your Valentine may not be very touched if you spew all of that marketing jargon at him or her. Instead, your date is probably looking for an entertaining and romantic evening to share between the two of you. But go further than that. Ask your date if they want to go out to dinner, go out for drinks or just stay in, cook and watch some Netflix. Once you know their true answer, you can move on to the next question.
Who do I need to talk to? What needs to be said? How should I say it?
In both cases, you’ll need to know who you have to get in touch with in order to get started planning a campaign or a Valentine’s date.
Say you decided your campaign will revolve around increased website traffic. As I said, you’ll need to be in constant communication with your client throughout the process. You also may need to talk to your web developer or that of your client in order to figure out what direction you want to take your website to harness that sweet, sweet SEO. Or maybe you’re ranking well in search engines but you aren’t finding the right audience on social. In that case, you’ll need to talk to your community manager or social media manager. You need to tell these people the why’s and how’s of what you are trying to accomplish so that they know where they fit in the picture and how they can contribute. Don’t make them feel like anything is their fault or that what they are doing is not working. Encourage them that by making some tweaks you can see even more success than you already are!
For your Valentine’s Day, say you and your date decided to go out to dinner and drinks afterward. You obviously need to talk to someone at the restaurant, or, at least, consult their website. What needs to be said? That part is easy! You need a table for two (by the window is a nice touch), for February 14th between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. How should you say it? Remember what your mother told you, be respectful and polite!
How do I know I’ve gotten it right?
Remember those SMART goals we were talking about before? Once planning a campaign is over and it’s put into action, you can start to measure your data against the numbers you set to see if you are on track to attain those goals. If they’re on track or exceeding your expectations, re-evaluate them. Shoot for the stars people!
As far as knowing when you’ve gotten your Valentine’s Day date right. Well, without getting into details, you’ll know…