Some of the most gratifying PR programs I’ve worked on over the years were for special events that afforded several months of advance planning. Time allows for many luxuries, and in the world of PR, time is something we do not take for granted. I guess that’s because we are often working on tight timelines.
We often jump into a campaign or situation allowing us only weeks, days or even hours to plan our activities. As a group of seasoned PR pros, the GroundFloor Media team has been through the drill of announcing news in many ways and under hair-raising deadlines. For us, it’s like second nature, as we know what to put into place and how to prioritize the assets we have to make sure we reach our communications goals.
If you find yourself in a time crunch, use the following checklist to ensure you have all of your important pieces in place at go-time.
- Designate your spokesperson(s) and have a back-up in place in case your primary spokesperson becomes unavailable
- Develop key messaging for your spokesperson(s) to work from and have them practice/be prepared to share those messages in a confident and clear way
- Anticipate any tough questions that may be asked and be sure to prepare your spokesperson to respond to them appropriately
- Consider all target audiences and develop distribution lists to reach each audience. This can include media (traditional reporters as well as bloggers), key influencers, employees, local business and political leaders, etc. If you don’t have time to develop media lists, rely on a news distribution service. Most allow you to geo-target your news as well as reach specific trade groups, etc.
- Have all media materials approved and ready for distribution as soon as possible. This can include:
- Press release
- Fact sheets and one-pagers
- Case studies
- Leadership and/or spokesperson bios
- Testimonials to help prove/personalize your story
- Post all media materials to your website’s press room and make them readily accessible to media
- Draft posts for your social media channels in advance so you can distribute them with your news release
- Be prepared to share contact information for third-party sources who can offer comment on your news
- Develop a list of website links to informational resources that can confirm or provide data supporting your news
- If time provides, have as many visual assets available as possible as photography and video can go a long way in telling a story for you
- If you don’t have visual assets in place for your news announcement, try to share them afterwards, especially if your event offers a strong visual component
If you follow the above steps, whether you have weeks, days or hours to work with, you’re sure to be buttoned up and ready to meet any communications challenges that come your way.