PR Fundamentals: What Are Public Relations Campaigns?

By Tiara Ogabang

What a campaign really is 

If we’re talking about the absolute basics of public relations, then it’s impossible to skirt around the idea of a public relations campaign. 

What are public relations campaigns? The simple answer is that a PR campaign is a series of events and marketing efforts that exist on top of ongoing marketing efforts. 

So while maintaining a social media account for a brand would probably be an ongoing PR component, having that social media presence host a Q&A session (we’ll talk about these later) would probably be part of a PR campaign. 

Campaigns are specially designed to communicate key messages and are often executed in service of the launch of a new product, a rebranding, or even as a response to negative feedback among the general public. 

Whatever the reason, a PR campaign has specific goals in mind, and it needs to achieve those goals through different marketing efforts that will reach their target audience. 

No matter who the client is, there will always be times when they want to communicate something specific and something new, and they’ll often be ready to spend a significant amount of money to do it. 

From there, a PR agency or an in-house PR team needs to come up with a multi-branch campaign that will achieve the desired results. 

PR campaign elements 

For this section, we will look more closely at several different common public relations campaign elements that should at least be considered for just about every PR campaign during the planning stages. 

The specifics of these elements will vary based on the needs of each campaign, but don’t disregard any of these avenues when looking to craft a PR campaign of your own. 

Press coverage

In essence, getting press coverage as part of your PR campaign is one of the oldest ways to contribute to a campaign, but it remains a relevant one as well, especially with the incredible range of online publications operating today. 

It involves contacting journalists and publications to let them know that you have a news-worthy item for them. If all goes as planned, many will be interested in covering the story.

PR campaign elements

To help accomplish this, you’ll need to create a media kit or press kit that lists relevant information and lets journalists and publications know exactly how they can contact you to arrange a placement. 

We’ve previously published an article that explains what a press kit is and how to create an effective one, so we recommend checking that out for more details. 

You should also do quite a bit of planning for press coverage in advance. You can’t just reach out to every publication in existence and hope everything will work out. 

You need to know what you want people to write about, who within the company they’ll be able to talk to, and what types of publications would be interested in the story in the first place. 

As an example, let’s say you’re creating a campaign for the launch of a new online video game marketplace. 

Contacting major news sites that tend to cover politics and current events might not be very interested. 

But if you instead focus your efforts on tech-centric websites and game review sites and social media channels, then you’ll have a much better chance of catching their attention, especially if those publications want to be on top of the next big thing. 

Sponsorship deals/branded content 

Sponsorship deals and branded content created with the help of influencers is quickly becoming a go-to for many brands, big and small. 

But especially for young brands that don’t already have a large customer base and not as much money to invest in marketing, branded content can be a fantastic option. 

Here are the basics: influencers make money from sponsorships, and depending on the size of their audience and their reach, their rates for these sponsorships will vary. 

But if you can narrow down a list of influencers who could speak directly to your target audience, then securing these kinds of deals could be incredibly effective. 

Best of all, many influencers handle their own sponsorships or have one or two employees to sort through their emails and messages. 

This means it will be much easier to get in touch with them as opposed to trying to earn a sponsorship with a major television show or radio show. 

Depending on the needs of the campaign, the branded or sponsored content could be a short mention of a brand in a social media post, or it could be an entire video about your brand or a new product.

Sponsorship deals/branded content

Customer testimonials 

Sharing stories about positive customer experiences with a brand can be incredibly useful to any marketing campaign. 

For one, these tend to feel much more personable and relatable to viewers. It can feel like a friend recommending something for you to check out, which immediately helps viewers move past the cynicism and disinterest they might feel when viewing more traditional advertising. 

To start, you can look to feedback from existing customers. If your client already has a robust survey system in place, then they should already know which customers have been happy with their experience. 

From there, you can simply contact those individuals and invite them to share their story in some way. 

An especially powerful testimonial might come from someone who previously had a low opinion of a brand, but then came to appreciate it after the launch of a new product. 

A testimonial like this one would carry extra weight with anyone who has had a subpar experience with that brand before, perhaps even enticing them to try again. 

Q&A sessions 

Q&A sessions are a somewhat recent PR campaign effort, and they make use of social media platforms in most cases. 

Basically, this can give your target audience a chance to engage directly with the brand, or with someone who represents the brand. 

If you’re promoting a new album from a popular young recording artist, giving fans temporary and limited access to that artist could create a substantial amount of hype around the album, as well as giving the artist a chance to communicate specific key messages about the album.