Failing to set PR campaign objectives is like shooting a gun into the air with no target in sight. It wastes energy and ammunition without accomplishing anything—and all could have been saved had you just set up a target beforehand.

(OK, yes, that’s sort of an extreme example—not setting up a PR objective won’t potentially hurt someone else physically. But hey, we’re big fans of hyperbole around here.)

Not identifying objectives—measurable, realistic objectives—will make your PR campaign a waste of time and resources, even if you do land press coverage. You won’t have a sense of how that press coverage ties back into your overall strategy, whether it referred anyone to the site, or whether it drove sales.

If you’re a brand who has hired a PR team, you should be looking to them to guide you in identifying campaign objectives. They’re the experts, after all. Here are a few of the questions they should ask during the discovery meeting for the campaign:

  • How do you define whether this campaign is a success? In answering this question, a brand is already starting to get at the objectives. If a home run is to be featured in Women’s Health, that tells your PR team who your demographic is (women between 20 – 50ish with an income bracket above $50K/year), and that you want to be garnering recognition and selling your product on a national scale. Remember last week when we said that the objective is the end result — what a campaign needs to achieve? We can use the clues around getting picked up in Women’s Health to have a sense of that end objective, which is probably related to selling product to its target demographic of high-earning women.
  • Are there sales goals that are driving this PR campaign? Does the CEO want to see a 10 percent uptick in sales by the end of the PR campaign? That’s an end-result objective that is directly correlated to the campaign, and your PR team should ask that at the outset to get a good sense of what sales numbers they’re working toward.
  • Are there other goals (non-sales) that are driving this campaign? Is the objective at the end of this PR push greater brand awareness? Those non-sales goals can be campaign objectives, too, as long as you can measure them. For the brand awareness example, which can be a little hard to measure, consider conducting market research before and after the campaign to measure its efficacy.

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Related Posts: PR Objectives: not the same as KPIs!