Long-term PR strategy

Want to get serious? Why you should commit to a long-term strategy

In the fast-paced commercial world, it can be tempting to think in terms of quick-fixes and the ‘next big thing’. It’s easy to get in a panic, thinking you need to get something off the ground immediately, in order to make some progress.

Social media especially, can represent a mirage of promises that companies want to dive into. Unfortunately, as with anything in this life, while a quick-fix might make you feel better, it won’t have real impact. In fact, it could waste valuable time and momentum, as well as money.

It’s all about playing the long game, being strategic, and getting your ducks in a row. This might not sound hugely exciting, but this is where PR professionals excel. This is how, in 218BC, Hannibal marched an army, including war elephants, through Spain and over the Alps into Italy, and almost destroyed the armies of Rome. (This is known as the single greatest logistical triumph in military history.) Being strategic can win you major achievements, instead of a few peanuts.

The key is to keep your goals in mind, whether this is: 200 new email subscribers, a page ranking on page 1 of a Google search or a 5% increase in sales. These aims are what your PR efforts will be measured by, in the months ahead. Remember, objectives are the steps along the way to the end goal. Follow these key tips for an effective long-term strategy:

Use the SMART acronym for your objectives:

S – specific: aim for this when describing your goals and objectives

M – measurable: choose suitable metrics to measure progress

A – agreed: it’s important for all those involved to agree on the objectives

R – realistic: break complex objectives into smaller ones

T – timed: plot the steps along a timeline

Your strategy is the foundation of all the PR activities, and covers market research, target markets, messaging and other aspects that should not vary. The traditional form of strategy is no longer useful, as you need to respond to changing elements, from evolving digital media, to a fast-paced marketplace. As well as having the broad brushstrokes of a strategy, a shorter-term, complementary action plan will allow you to respond to these changes.

Your PR firm’s approach needs to be flexible as they track influencers in traditional and social media. Journalists move frequently between publications and more top blogs are being created, competing for attention. Relationships are still key and need to be nurtured, so your PR team needs to be on top of who is creating what, and know how valuable they are.

While stick-to-it qualities are needed, your PR campaign needs to accommodate the changing media landscape and marketplace. Any strategy that is too rigid could turn out to be flawed. While you focus on achieving your long-term goals, be sure to have action plans too, to help guarantee success.