Aside from the occasional run down a river rapid, I've never been much for the outdoors. I'll be candid – my idea of camping is ordering room service. That being said, I have kind of an outdoorsy analogy to make today.
Invariably in the PR business, more media coverage is always better.Â However, I am asked constantly how long a good campaign should typically last. The fact is each PR campaign is unique, and I am more a slave to the idiosyncrasies of each of the campaigns I run, than to some cookie cutter method. Still the question is a good one and it bears answering.
To answer to this question, I want you to think of the customers you're trying to reach as a quiet pond in the wilderness. If you want to make the pond ripple, throw a pebble in it. Big rocks make more waves than small pebbles, but even so, the ripples eventually end if all you're doing is throwing in one rock at a time. These are the two primary mistakes that I have seen entrepreneurs make when they launch a PR campaign. They either don't commit enough resources to get much exposure, or they spend lavishly on one big event or push that can't be sustained for long.
Here's the secret to creating awareness about your company: If you want the pond to ripple continuously, you can't just throw in one pebble or even one giant rock. However, a steady stream of pebbles, timed so that the ripples never truly subside, will keep the pond moving from the vibrations you generate.
That's the way it is with PR. One shot is good and it will get you exposure. Exposure is good, because you never know who is reading, listening or watching. However, businesses need more than exposure, they need consumer awareness. They need their consumers to know who they are and what they're about. Awareness can't be delivered with one pebble.
Awareness is something that evolves out of consistent exposure and that's the honest truth.Â Nothing good ever gets done without persistence, whether it's paving the driveway, establishing your career or launching a business. All of these things take time, so why would it be logical to think that promoting and publicizing something that took significant time to achieve could be done in a couple of weeks?
The bottom line is that people who have successful campaigns generally do two things right: they start as soon as they can and they keep the pressure on as long as they can. That's how people become successful and I bet if you ask anyone you know who has been perceived as an "overnight" success, they'll tell you it was a really long night that led to their success.
So, don't wait. Start now and make a PR plan that allows you to be persistent in your pursuit of the media.Â The goal will be to inspire enough awareness about your company, product or service, so that customers will be persistently pursuing you.
Marsha Friedman is a 20-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations. Read more about Marsha here.