A public relations campaign is a communication strategy that relates to a specific goal and is planned in advance. It is designed to meet an objective by creating messaging that is relayed by multiple products via many mediums to inform the audience and motivate them to act.
Similar methods are used to develop a campaign no matter what the intent. As a military communicator, part of your job is to design and create compelling campaigns to gain publicity for a product, event or communicate a message. These campaigns must engage the audience and successfully communicate your commander's intent, the mission of our military and the people the campaign supports.
Follow these steps to plan a successful campaign.
Before you begin creating any type of communication product, identify the purpose or goal of the communication and your audience. What problem will the campaign address or solve? What are the goals you are trying to achieve through the campaign?
- Identify the problem to be addressed or solved.
- Determine what action or behavior you hope to change.
- Specify what information you want your audience to know.
- Establish a clear SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) objective.
Research your target audience and determine who they are. Think about what communication channels you'll be using to get your message out and what audience exists in that space.
- What specific groups are most likely to respond to the desired message?
- Which media channels will you use to reach and influence your target audience?
- What will be the sequence and integration of media activities?
Think of traditional and digital media outlets. These can be anything from hard copy posters and pamphlets to television, videos and social media. Consider where your audience is, what types of media they'll have access to and want to engage with.
- What outlets will you use to reach your audience?
- What does your audience have access to?
- What will the audience see in their work environment?
- What will the audience see in their personal environment?
Think about what information you're putting out, the context it is presented in and how you want it to be perceived by your audience. Consider what motivates them, what they connect to and what they will engage with. Brainstorm how to craft your message.
- Compose a clear and concise message that you want to communicate.
- Create a message that informs the audience but also motivates them to take a particular action.
- Create a theme that will be appropriate for your target audience.
Before launching your public relations campaign activities, assess your plan and make adjustments, if necessary. Evaluate your campaign and make sure it meets the following characteristics of a legitimate public relations campaign. Does your campaign:
Provide Free Choice
- Audiences can choose what action they take. They will:
- Adopt ideas or behaviors pushed through the campaign.
- Adopt ideas or behaviors of another actor involved in the issue.
- Continue what they believe in and how they act.
- Ignore the issue altogether.
- Audiences are not coerced into action.
Exhibit Mutual Benefit
- Both the communicator and audience emerge with a benefit.
Take a Multidisciplinary Approach
- A campaign is not specific to mass media. Identify media outlets based on how your target audience gets their information.
- The communication plan uses theories and techniques from psychology, sociology and education.
Apply a Multi-pronged Approach
- Visual imagery should include products from multiple mediums, including print, photo, video, graphics, etc.