Strategic PR Magic: Find Your Story and Build Around It

By David Ward

Pop quiz. I’m a blueberry business owner and I want you to help me double the consumption of blueberries in the U.S. I need you to develop a strategic, multi-pronged and results-oriented communications campaign. Feeling lost?

102815For those who attended PRSA-NCC’s Building a Successful Integrated Communications Strategy last Thursday at the Navy Memorial, they know exactly what to do.

The abundance of information sharing rivaled any good book on communications strategy. This included tips and tricks from PR pros Dan Drummond, Director of External Communications Certified Financial Planners; Lindsey Goebel, Director of Social Media and Content for Crosby Marketing; Jeff Wilson, Senior Director of Business Development and Agency Marketing, PadillaCRT; and Brooks Aukamp, Political and Advocacy Sales for Twitter.

Collectively the group had one core message: Success comes from customization.

“We’re communications agnostic,” said Jeff Wilson of PadillaCRT in explaining how his firm developed their plan to sell more blueberries to more Americans. For Wilson, developing a plan and the tactics you employ depends entirely on how you can best target your primary and secondary audiences.

By using primary and secondary research as a guide, Wilson’s group found whereas the baby boomer generation were already evangelical supporters, women 25-45, specifically moms, was an audience that they could target to increase market share.

That meant content being designed and placed for outlets that included Women’s Day magazine and the Huffington Post and spokespersons like Allison Sweeney, host of the biggest loser. That also meant being active on Twitter, by throwing a “twitter party,” and being active on Pinterest.

102815aFor Dan Drummond, a targeted plan means finding your story and building around that. His “circle of communication” preached “objective, research, metrics, core messages, strategy, resources, and tactics.” All of these items are found in a successful integrated communications plan. “It’s a 360 approach to planning,” said Drummond.

You can’t work in silos. Your marketing team, advertising, public relations, and social teams need to have a plan on how they are going to work together. “You can’t work in silos, you can’t have swim lanes.”

Crosby Marketing’s Lindsey Goebel agreed with Drummond. “You have to have weekly meetings. Clearly lined up roles.”

Goebel’s campaign example focused on what she called increasing awareness around “the nation’s collective responsibility” to support veterans. That meant developing content with a clear purpose, voice and optimizing it. That also meant cutting through the “noise” of today’s media landscape.

“YouTube creators have produced more content in the last 60 days than U.S. TV networks in the last 60 years,” explained Goebel.

To cut through that noise, Goebel’s team created powerful, emotional content that was featured across the paid, earned and social landscape. Success across each derived from developing a content calendar that most effectively put to use content both created by the client and by users themselves, veterans, who produced compelling real-world images from their time at war.

Goebel’s team worked closely with Twitter’s Brooks Aukamp to use the nimble social media platform to amplify content. For Aukamp, using Twitter answers three questions: “Who are you most wanting to convince? What do you want them to think, feel and do?” If you can answer all three in 110 characters then you’re doing it right.

Whatever you do the next time someone asks you to double the sales of blueberries, you have to have an integrated communications plan.

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