6 steps to a World Series-winning PR campaign

Jane Vaden

The San Francisco Giants are seeking their third World Series title in five years The Kansas City Royals are in the championship running for the first time since 1985. Sports fans are at the edges of their seats as they anxiously await the outcome. No matter which team takes home the Commissioner’s Trophy, both teams have beaten the odds with a combination of talent and strategic formula.

Though the baseball season is about to wind down, PR pros who have been working the whole year to produce game-winning results are just now picking up speed for the fall season, the time when you’re simultaneously trying to finish up the year with strong results and plan for a successful start to 2015.

As the teams rely on their best strategists and pitchers, here are a few tips PR pros can learn from this year’s Fall Classic so they can develop successful PR campaigns for their wild-card clients.

Choose your bullpen wisely. In the case of public relations, building a strong team a key part of creating and implementing a good PR program. Similar to a baseball team, every person has positions and roles at which they excel. A good team should have a mixture of players with strengths in strategy, content creation, media relations, and management. And size doesn’t always matter. Just ask manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals, and I’m sure he’d tell you that you could always bring in a relief pitcher.

Know the other team and playing field. In baseball, teams survey their upcoming opponents by watching game highlights and formulating a strategy based off how the team works together. In PR, it’s all about surveying your client’s market, looking over the news, reading about competitors, and keeping alert to be prepared for the first pitch.

Set your team’s goals. Once you’ve developed an all-star team and surveyed the playing field, it’s time to set your clients’ and team’s goals. For those clients that may not have resources such as customer references, a product demo or a media spokesperson, it will be important to  set the client’s expectations. If you’ve got a killer demo and customers lined up, the coverage and depth of stories you can expect will be much different than without those important factors. The PR team should also set internal goals based on the tools it has available.

Don’t be afraid to take some risks. Without Hunter Pence’s incredible catch in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, the Giants may not have won the game against the Washington Nationals to continue the race towards the World Series. He took the risk to catch that ball even though it forced him to slam into the right field fence at AT&T Park. Likewise, sometimes it takes a bit of risk in order to produce results and PR pros should not be afraid to take them. Step out of your PR comfort zone and try something new, creative, interesting, or maybe even risky. At times, it can pay off to take calculated risks, whether it’s in media relations or via a planned publicity stunt.

Be able to adapt. Everyone’s seen it: a big company announces news on the same day as your client, or your client’s product isn’t ready but you’ve already pre-pitched the press, or you think you’ve put all the pieces in place but there’s just no coverage. In order to have the best chance at results, it’s time to adapt and do what you can to make the campaign successful. That could mean changing your pitch the day-of or waiting for another news opportunity down the line. Being able to change based on environmental factors is critical when a last-minute line drive comes your way.

Learn from each game. Each PR campaign is tailored to the client’s needs and goals. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to be learned from each. Review what strategies worked and what didn’t, in doing so you create a stronger PR campaign for the next time around.

These tips are just a few ways PR teams can turn those wild-card clients into winners. Even if there are challenges that come up during a PR campaign, there are always solutions that can be implemented in order to produce results.

Jane Vaden is an Account Executive at Vantage PR. Vantage is a boutique tech agency with offices in San Francisco, New York, Orlando and Boston.

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