Running the PR marathon

November 12, 2013

By: Rachel
Have you ever thought about how a PR campaign ties to running a marathon? Neither had I, that is, until recently when I ran the Chicago Marathon and had hours of time to think about anything beyond “how many more miles to go?” Here's a mile-by-mile snapshot of how a marathon training program inspires PR planning:
Pre-race training: Establish a plan
The first question to ask is: What is the goal? For a runner, it might be to complete the marathon with a qualifying time, or it might be to just cross the finish line (as it was in my case). Before launching a PR campaign, you need to ask what end result you expect for your company – it might be lead generation, media exposure, event management or something else – and then work with your PR team to create a strategy and meet that goal. This is the time to get all of your ducks in a row: finalize the messaging points, secure a company spokesperson, determine a list of influencers to target, etc.
Mile 1: Kickoff
You've put a lot of effort into the planning and training phase, and now it will be put to the test. Your PR team will secure pre-briefings with the media to discuss the news, write and distribute a press release, implement a social media campaign and execute whatever else the program entails. Start out strong, but don't lose sight of the goal you've set out to achieve.
Mile 13: Measure and pivot
While this should happen continuously, the halfway point serves as a good mile marker to thoroughly measure and evaluate the program activity so far. A runner will ask herself how her body feels, what endurance level she's at, or if it's time for a stretch, water break or refuel point, but a PR pro will ask if activities are impacting the business. What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)? Is media coverage driving product sales, starting conversations with a new target market, or are activities meeting other strategic program goals? If not, it's time to adjust in order to make it to the finish line and meet the goal.
Mile 26: Finish line! Celebrate your success
After taking all the necessary steps to prepare and execute the campaign, you've hopefully achieved stellar results, met your initial goals and seen a measurable impact on your business.
Read these case studies to see how careful planning and execution delivers ROI.
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