By Diane Hurd
This past weekend, I joined nearly 15,000 runners for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon (my third half marathon) – all to support a great cause. The race is an amazing and intense experience. It has competition. It has drama. It has camaraderie. And, it has heroism.
Running a half/full marathon is a major life goal for many people, but it takes precise planning and extensive training to succeed. Similar to running a race, successful public relations (PR) campaigns can’t be carried out without thorough planning and management. Here are four ways to win the race in public relations:
Plan for the course: Before launching any client initiative or campaign, it’s important to develop a strategy to determine what the objectives are and how success will be measured. As I prepared for my race, I reviewed the course map to develop a mental picture of the start and finish locations, the turns, the hills, and the sites along the way to make sure I would achieve my target finishing time.
Use the right equipment: Having run two half marathons previously, I have learned the importance of investing in the right tools, which for me include a solid pair of running shoes and a reliable tracking app to map my progress. Similar to a marathon, a successful PR campaign requires the right equipment. A combination of tools and resources (e.g. media relations, crisis communications, social media management expertise, etc.) will allow you to work smarter and more efficiently to make sure that you’re prepared for any obstacles along the way.
Keep up the pace: When running a race, it's important to establish a steady, sustainable pace. You don’t want to go out too fast when you’re getting started for fear of losing momentum, but beginning too slow could leave you struggling to make up lost time. Just like running, a successful PR campaign should include a steady pace of communications with spurts of adrenaline (e.g. larger PR efforts) to get you to achieve the desired results. Don’t forget – if something isn’t working during the campaign, or race, find new tactics to achieve better success.
Celebrate and recover: You’ve crossed the finish line and it’s time to celebrate your achievement – but don’t sit down just yet. After the marathon, your body needs to recover slowly by walking around for 10 to 15 minutes, rehydrating with a protein recovery drink, etc. At the end of a PR campaign, measuring the results and identifying areas that were successful and ones that need improvement are also important.
Just like running a half marathon, implementing a solid strategy, using the right tools, executing a steady pace, and monitoring and evaluating the results, can lead to a successful PR campaign.