A couple of months ago there was a big change in my life: my second child was born. Now that I’m back from maternity leave and adjusted to life with a 3-year-old daughter as well as a baby boy, I’ve started to see ways that having a couple of children is a lot like public relations. Whether you have kids or not, keep reading for 6 lessons to make your PR campaign stronger and more successful.
Public Relations Lesson 1: Invest in the Long Haul
Successful public relations, like parenting, is a long-term activity. Just like I intend to have my children for a long time, plan on your PR strategy to take time. It takes at least 6-12 months at a minimum to start to see results, so give your public relations campaign some time before you evaluate its success.
The relationships I establish with my children now take time, but are going to be worth it in the end. The same is true for public relations. The relationships you form today will be mutually beneficial down the road. After all without relations, your PR strategy would be pretty dismal.
Setting Long-Term Goals
As you look at your long-term strategy, it’s important to set goals for your business. As a mother I have some long-term goals for my children:
- For my son: sit up, crawl, walk, talk, feed himself, etc.
- For my daughter: think about others, learn to count and read, help with chores around the house, etc.
Obviously these goals will take a while, and it’s not appropriate for me to turn around and expect them to be achieved right now. I need to work with each of them as they grow and develop, and encourage them to take the steps to achieve them when it’s time.
Similarly, it’s important you are SMART about the goals you set for your company. Make sure they are:
By setting SMART goals, you’ll be able to evaluate your public relations campaign and determine if you’re successful before revising the strategy for next year. At Three Girls, we recommend you evaluate your campaign every 6 or 12 months. This gives you enough time to see if your tactics are working before you evaluate.
Public Relations Lesson 2: Plan Ahead, But Stay Flexible
As a mother, I make a lot of plans, such as:
- Meals we’ll eat for the next week
- When each child will have check-ups with the doctor and/or dentist
- When I plan to work
- Who will watch my children when I’m working or at appointments I can’t bring them to
- When we’ll get together with a friend for a play-date
Of course, sometimes things come up and play-dates are canceled or childcare falls through. So, although it’s important for me to plan what I can, I also need to stay flexible and make it work when plans change.
It’s important you approach your public relations plan with the same attitude. Create a strategy to follow, but don’t be thrown if you need to adjust it in response to a change of plans.
How to Create a Public Relations Plan
- Determine your SMART goals. What do you want to achieve? How will you measure success? Are your goals realistic? What about relevant and timely?
- Write your goals down on a piece of paper. Then start thinking about how you plan to achieve them. What tactics will you use?
- Create a strategy that lays out specifics. How often will you do which activities? For example, if one of your goals is to increase website traffic by a certain percentage and you plan to do this through blogging, make note of how often you plan to publish a new blog post to your website.
- Put your plan in place. Add the tactics to your to-do list and start following through on the strategy you created.
- Mark your calendar to remind yourself to evaluate how you’re doing. While it may take 6-12 months to see results of your underlying goals, it is good to consider how you’re doing with your strategy, such as publishing weekly blog posts a month from when you start. Do you need to revise your process to make sure you’re completing your public relations activities as you should?
As a mother, staying relevant is important so I know what baby products are recalled, if there are any new, helpful apps out there or if there’s a fresh idea that might help with my parenting.
As a business owner, this is important so your public relations plan is timely and relevant. The best way to do this is to read the news. When it’s appropriate, use current events in your blog posts, social media updates or media pitches. Learn how to use the latest technology to your advantage, whether it’s a new app that helps you manage social media or a resource like Canva that can assist in your content creation efforts.
Public Relations Lesson 3: Try Not to Take Things Personally
As a mother, I’m going to receive negative feedback sometimes. Whether it’s my daughter being upset because I’m making her go to bed or a stranger criticizing my parenting when we’re out and about, it’s hard not to take things personally. The same is true as a business owner: you will receive negative feedback; will you get defensive or use it as an opportunity to improve your company instead?
How to Handle Negative Feedback
- Own up to it. Apologize and really consider if there’s something you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
- Respond promptly. As this article in the Post and Courier explains, the longer you wait to reply, the less sincere your apology will sound.
- Move on. Pick yourself up, move forward and try to learn from the feedback.
Public Relations Lesson 4: Be Creative
As a mother of two, life takes some creativity these days. Even a trip to the grocery store requires me to think of a new approach to something I’ve done for years. But just like I came up with wearing the baby in a carrier so I have two hands to contain my 3-year-old at the store, you can come up with creative and innovative ideas for your business!
Get creative by following the ideas in this blog post, such as:
- Shifting your mindset to, “Think like a kid.”
- Continuing to try.
- Surrounding yourself with the color green.
Public Relations Lesson 5: Know Your Audience
My kids are very different people in two developmental places. While my son likes to be held and enjoys sitting in his bouncer, swatting at the plastic raccoon, my daughter likes to run, climb, play games and tell me about whatever pops into her head. It’s important I know them well enough to know how to communicate in a way they’ll be receptive.
Similarly, it’s important you know your audience well enough to know how to communicate your message with them. Ask yourself:
- What social media platforms do they use?
- What types of blog posts are they going to be interested in?
- Do you want to see your business in the media? What types of magazines or websites would have readers that are interested in your business’ story?
Keep it Short & Sweet
As you communicate your message, get to the point quickly and concisely. Children aren’t the only ones with short attention spans! Just like I need to get to my point quickly with my daughter, you need to share your message right away before your audience loses interest.
The same holds true for reaching out to the media. Journalists are inundated with hundreds of emails a day; make their job easier by keeping your pitches concise and getting to the point right away.
Use Keywords Consistently
With my 3-year-old, I often use the same words over and over to remind her of her behavior. I ask, “Are you being a good listener?” or “Are you being a good friend?” Or, if she’s running out of time to cooperate, I start counting to five and she knows if she doesn’t obey by the time I’m done there will be a consequence.
Just like I’m consistent with the language I use for my daughter, you need to be consistent with the words and phrases in your company’s public relations strategy. In addition to reiterating your message so it’s clear for your readers and followers, using strategic language, or keywords, on your website and in your blog posts can make it easier for website browsers to find your business. This is a key part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and is vital if you want to drive more traffic to your website.
Public Relations Lesson 6: Share, Share, Share
Sharing is a big thing for a 3-year-old. In addition to sharing her toys when friends come over, now she needs to share Mommy with her baby brother. That’s a really hard challenge for a 3-year-old! I am constantly asking myself, “How can I make it easier for her?”
This is a great question for your public relations strategy! How can you make it easier for your readers and followers to share your message? From putting “Share this post” buttons on all your blog posts to giving them incentive to refer your business to their friends, it’s always good to encourage sharing.
Sharing Your Message
Speaking of sharing, it’s also important you share your message in multiple ways! Telling my daughter something one time doesn’t cut it. She needs me to repeat my message over and over again for it to sink in. The same concept is true for public relations. Repeat your message in as many different ways as possible to help your readers and followers really remember.
It also helps to include pictures with your message! Kids love pictures, and guess what? So do adults! Research shows, “Content with images attracts 94% more total views on average than content without images,” so make sure high-quality visuals are included in your public relations plan. Incorporate high-res images into your electronic press kit, include a photo in each blog post you publish and share memes and pictures on your social media channels.
Remember the Call to Action
As you share your message, make sure you remember a call to action. I can’t get upset with my daughter for not cleaning up her toys if I never tell her to do it. The same is true for you as a business owner; how can you expect readers and followers to do something if you never ask them to?
Incorporate a call to action into everything you create for your public relations plan. At the end of your media pitches, request the journalist lets you know if they’re willing to write about your story. In your blog posts, tell your readers to contact you to learn more. In your social media updates, ask your followers to like, comment or share your post.
As you can tell, there are a lot of similarities between parenting and a successful public relations campaign. Whether or not you have kids, by taking these lessons to heart you can get the word out about your business to even more potential customers! Remember to invest in the long haul, plan ahead while staying flexible, try not to take things personally, be creative, know your audience and share, share, share.
Can you think of any public relations lessons from parenting that I missed? Share them in the comments below! Make sure you contact us for a complimentary consultation for specific advice to get the word out about your business, too!
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