The 4 Characteristics of an Effective PR Campaign

The 4 Characteristics of an Effective PR Campaign

What makes some PR campaigns successful while others are costly mistakes? Of course, there are a lot of variables in every PR campaign, however I think there are 4 things in common with the most successful campaigns:

1. They have a goal – Goals provide us with direction. They give us something to work toward, and they make it easier for us to track our progress. When building a PR campaign, your goals need to be very specific, measurable, realistic and a specific deadline.

When setting a timetable, it’s important to remember that unforeseen obstacles will pop up and even magical opportunities that can put you off course. Give yourself that extra time so most mistakes can be avoided. Rushing to the finish line is no fun for anyone, it’s stressful, and quite frankly, it usually ends up on the publicist’s desk, because the client is late in getting approvals back, or doesn’t understand all the moving parts of a successful PR Campaign. Make sure that you aren’t constantly working from behind and rushing to get things done. ONE goal can be measurable, targeted, achievable and delivered.

Here’s an example: I launched a citywide, month-long Dine Around ProgramDine Around Logo in a high-density #150 eating establishments vibrant downtown community. The goal was to fill the participating restaurants during a typically low traffic month of March. Simple goal: Fill the participating restaurants with diners.

2. They have a detailed plan for reaching that goal – Once you’ve come up with your goal, the next step is to create a detailed plan for reaching that goal. You need to determine the exact steps that need to be taken to reach that goal. Who do you need to reach out to? Which media will be most effective at helping you spread your message? What partners and sponsors can you bring on board?

Going back to the Dine Around Program – we wrote up a pitch letter and secured eight high-end participating restaurants. We spelled out what the cost was, what we would provide, and what they would get in return. We sent regular updates to participants, and set forth date deadlines for marketing collateral to be submitted for the press launch, printed passports, the kick-off party date, the TV Cooking Show and the Dine Around dates March 1 – 30th.

3. They are well researched – Research is the foundation for all successful PR campaigns. If it’s a new idea, you have to do your own research from scratch through polling, interviews, focus groups, etc. Other times, the idea has been launched somewhere else, so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

As it relates to the Dine Around Program, we leveraged the idea from San Francisco’s Dine Around Program, utilizing prix fixed meals at a set price.

4. They are constantly monitored and tweaked as needed – Successful PR campaigns are typically monitored throughout their duration and again once they’re completed. Tracking your results during your campaign is essential to see what is and isn’t working. If you aren’t getting any closer to reaching your goals, you need to go back to the drawing board to find new tactics, new ideas, partnerships for achieving success.

With The Dine Around Program, we partnered with the American Heart Association, by donating $1.00 for every diner. This helped with keeping up with the measurement of success. We rolled out consistent press over the duration of the month-long event to keep it alive, including the TV series cooking show that aired multiple times, keeping the buzz alive.

The magical things that happened were two additional restaurant press reviews, not planned, but as a result of the PR awareness.

Magic can happen in every PR Campaign. These are 2 press reviews that magically happened.

Magic can happen in every PR Campaign. These are 2 press reviews that magically happened.


The lead restaurant sponsor was featured as one of the top 10 restaurants in the Bay Area in the SF Chronicle. A great feather in their cap.

The other press review honored a brand new restaurant by a top food journalist, Michael Bauer, of the SF Chronicle.

About LynAnn King | KingSings PR | Publicist | Marketing Strategist

LynAnn King partners with successful small businesses and empowers entrepreneurs to deliver compelling marketing communications, special events promotions and media campaigns. She brings her visionary leadership in rolling out creative marketing campaigns that create visibility and media coverage. Her clients partner with KingSings PR as their marketing and publicity expert.

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