How to Check the Feasibility of Your Digital PR Campaign
A digital PR campaign isn’t just about creating one, launching it, and then hoping for the best, in fact, it’s quite the opposite, and there are tons of factors that you need to account for to ensure that you get the best possible result from it.
One of these non-negotiables is checking the feasibility of your campaign. For example, is it doable in terms of budget? Will it pick up coverage? Is the data available? These questions need to be answered – and deemed worth it – before kicking anything off.
Of course, along with the other five steps (that we’re about to tell you now) that will help you with this aspect of your digi PR campaign…
Define Your Objectives & Timelines
Step number one:
- Define clear objectives for your PR campaign
From a wider perspective, you’ll no doubt have your overall business goals that include:
- Attracting media attention
- Generating brand awareness
- Enhancing brand reputation
- Building stakeholder relationships
Plus, SMART objectives, which plenty of good PRs use when building their campaign template:
- Specific: What is your desired outcome?
- Measurable: How will the success be measured?
- Achievable: How will the campaign achieve its goals in terms of outside influences?
- Realistic: Is the goal realistic for the bandwidth of the campaign?
- Time-based: How long do you have to meet these goals?
Essentially, having strong objectives is one of the only ways you’ll be able to actually tell how effective your campaign is/has been.
- Check you can deliver it within the time needed
Timing is everything in PR as it allows you to create a strong narrative. Your story needs to fit into the bigger picture of what is happening in the news agenda in relation to your product/brand/service.
When it comes to contacting the media, you’ll need to have decided whether you want to go out with an exclusive – i.e offering the story to just one journo – or as an embargo, which means requesting that journos hold off until a certain date to break a story.
Both are used for important stories, like company launches and announcements, plus royal and government info. But deciding which one to run with requires thought weeks in advance. For an embargoed one, it’s mainly so that a publication has enough time to create, edit and run a quality story, and for an exclusive, it’s so you have the time to reach out to journalists and build up individual relationships with them.
In terms of the latter, it’s quite a drawn-out process. Say you reach out to 10 journos, it could take you 10-20 days to secure coverage due to the 24-48 hour grace period for each.
- Set realistic and achievable objectives based on your resources and budget
Realistic goals that can be achieved within the lifespan of the campaign make it much easier to design a strategy that is more likely to accomplish the aim.
What’s meant by realistic is whether you have the funds to run the campaign, as well as the resources (i.e journo relationships, a solid social media presence, data to back your claims up, etc.) that can fulfil your objectives.
For example, say you’re a travel company and you want to use a travel influencer to promote your product – do you have enough money in your budget to pay for the marketing strategy/is your company the right fit? (There’s nothing worse than an influencer promoting something that has nothing to do with their values/niche.)
Conduct a SWOT Analysis
Step number two:
- Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your PR campaign
A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning and management technique that is used to help a business identify the above in relation to a campaign, project, or even their competition.
It’s a smart tool to use in marketing because by identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you’re able to develop your campaign to achieve your objectives and goals. I.e you’ll have a clearer idea of how and when you’ll accomplish them.
Say you have a really strong product but a weak marketing strategy – you know you need to up your marketing efforts. Or what about if you have a great social media presence, but offline, it’s a lot weaker? You know that you need to focus on increasing your presence offline.
- Assess the feasibility of your campaign based on the analysis
Basically, a study which analyses the practicality of whether or not a campaign can be pulled off using the following feasibility factors:
- Technical: Do you have the technical resources and expertise needed to meet your requirements?
- Economic: Is the project financially viable? A cost-benefit analysis is recommended here to compare the financial costs with the benefits of the campaign.
- Legal: Does the campaign meet legal requirements? Including all laws and regs that are included in the overall project.
- Operational: This refers to how well your campaign matches your business goals and strategic objectives.
- Time: Back to the ‘can you deliver it within the time needed?’ section. Estimate the time it’ll take to conduct the campaign but also how the timeline fits in with other aspects of your operations, including production schedule, etc.
A feasibility study should be conducted once the campaign has been drawn up, but before any work actually starts. They’re typically done in conjunction with a SWOT analysis because you’re basically identifying which parts of the project will work, which parts could be improved, and which parts to scrap altogether.
Develop a Budget
Step number three:
- Develop a budget for your PR campaign
This depends on how big/successful your company is. For small businesses, the budget will most likely be lower, meaning you won’t have as much disposable cash as companies that earn millions of pounds every year.
But for a general idea, here are some tips:
- Identify your costs: First, consider the other aspects of your business that require money. Depending on your figures, you’ll be able to rustle up an example of how much you’re willing to spend on a campaign.
- Look at past campaign budgets: Looking at your past successful campaigns can give you a good idea of how much you might need to spend again to achieve great results.
- Consider the cost of production, distribution, and promotion
In terms of feasibility budget-wise, production, distribution and promotional costs need to be considered, as all three are important aspects of a PR campaign. When developing your budget using the tips above, look into each factor and set aside smaller budgets for each from the overall financial plan.
If you need extra cash for one over the other, look for ways you may be able to cut costs. For example, if you’ve got plenty of followers on social media and a strong online presence, you can take advantage of a large audience for free. Or, utilise strategies like newsjacking to jump on an already trending topic, offering data-driven expert commentaries to journos etc. to draw the already existing audience over to your brand.
Look at Past Campaigns
Step number four:
- Analyse past campaigns to identify what worked and what didn’t work
We touched on this slightly earlier, but let’s dig a little deeper because there’s no better way to achieve PR campaign success than by looking at past mistakes, especially when it comes to feasibility.
The first thing to do is define your goals and metrics. For example, if the point of the previous campaign was to increase brand awareness, you might use metrics like engagement, reach and impressions.
You then need to gather your data from different sources, like your socials, email marketing tools and website analytics. Organise it in a spreadsheet so you can visualise everything, not forgetting to filter it by relevant criteria, e.g time period, target audience, etc.
- Refine your PR campaign idea based on the analysis
Now you can analyse what worked and what didn’t, and apply these actionable findings to your next campaign. It might include things like optimising your budget or content plus targeting different publications or journos.
You should do this with each campaign you run so that you’ll always know whether or not parts of it, or the whole thing was feasible.
Ensure the data you need is available from a trustworthy source
Step number five:
Data is an important part of a campaign as it boosts your authority and trustworthiness as a credible source. It’s especially crucial if you’re launching a data-led project. But this doesn’t work if the data isn’t trustworthy.
This being said, there are a multitude of places you can lift it from that won’t compromise your validity. This includes client databases (which is great for gaining insight into purchase trends and customer behaviours), surveys (it’s recommended conducting your own, especially if your campaign is a little more niche), and in the public domain, (YouGov, Google Trends, Statista, etc.)
Not to mention if you’re already dubbed as a “thought leader” in your field – someone recognised as an authority figure in a specific industry.
Is your campaign feasible?
And we’re back to the beginning with the million dollar question. If you can safely say your digital PR campaign is feasible in all aspects mentioned above (we’re talking budget-wise, data-wise, objective-wise), you’re in good stead for launching.
If you’re still unsure, it’s time to go through your whole project with a fine tooth comb until you’re 100% happy.