Start your campaign by developing your campaign theme. This topic is something you can summarize in a phrase or sentence, much like a book title. Think of your topic like a news headline: it’s a statement to quickly attract consumer interest.

For example, when Apple first introduced the Apple computer, its campaign focused on the notion of being different from the PC: it was the computer for “the rest of us.” Other examples of a theme are Verizon’s campaign to “have more phones on the network than any other service” or “have a more reliable network with fewer dropped calls than any other network.”

You can have multiple campaigns, but for each one, focus your message around that theme. It’s like having a title and subtitles. He then tells the story in the rest of his message.

The particular theme you choose should also be one that resonates with your selected target market.

Determine your target market

Your target market is the group of consumers who will be most receptive to your product or service. Your campaign theme should appeal to them. So you need a match between your message and the group it’s addressed to.

Don’t think your product or service will appeal to everyone. That is too broad. Focus on the market segments that will be most receptive. That approach will then help you determine the best media and approach to reach that market.

This analysis of your market may mean that you should review the name you have chosen for your product, service, or public relations campaign. You may want to choose a better or more compelling name or even use different names to appeal to different markets. So be prepared to go back and reconsider your initial choices if necessary.

This willingness to review and revise is crucial, because sometimes you may think you’ve picked a great name. But if you do market research and get feedback, you may find that others don’t relate to or like the name. Therefore, it may be better to change it early on than to hope that it can change people’s attitudes and opinions, which are often difficult to change.

Linking your product or service to the daily news

If you can tie your product or service to what’s happening in the news, that can help you get publicity, because your product or service seems more timely and relevant, rather than just another new product, service, book, or whatever. So look at what’s happening in the news and how you can be an expert in commenting on what’s happening or how your product or service could provide an important and unique benefit.

For example, if you want to promote a humanitarian song, instead of directly promoting the song, promote some of the ways the song has been used in different groups or how the song’s message relates to something in the news, such as promoting the awareness of the immigration crisis that is very present in the news.

Promotion of a niche product or service

If you have a niche product or service, find out what your niche market is, so you can target your PR towards that market. Similarly, choose keywords to appeal to that market, and every time you send out a blast, include those words in the send. Similarly, choose the particular outlets that cater to that market.

For example, if you have a product or book that managers are drawn to, target your PR at the business media. If it’s a product or book that appeals to female consumers, target your PR toward consumer publications or feature publishers that cover topics that appeal to women. The more you can target the media, the better it is for your product or service.

Use of promotional events

One way to promote your product and services is to create a special promotional event around it. Some ways to do this are:
– Create links with other groups, so you can do something on a larger scale.
– Contribute part of your profits from the event or product sales to a charity, so a certain percentage goes to that charity.
– Host a free event so people in the media feel more comfortable promoting it because it’s free. If you’re charging, say, $10 at the door, even if it’s to cover the costs of food and supplies, the media will think it’s a business event that needs to be publicized. So to maximize your advertising appeal, make your event free.
– Find a way to make your event stand out and unique.

Because we are in a very celebrity-driven culture, if you can get a celebrity or high-profile spokesperson to show up at your event or endorse your products or services, it will increase your credibility and appeal. Sometimes celebrities will show up at an event or provide an endorsement for free, if they really like what you’re doing. Other times they may want a certain fee or percentage of the gate charge or sales.

If your event or sales potential is big enough, a percentage of the door or sales may be all you need and you may not have to offer a guarantee or pay anything up front. Or connecting your event or sales with a charity can help you generate sales and gain celebrity endorsements, as some celebrities choose charities they are particularly interested in. So if you can connect your event or activity with a charity, that can be one way to get a celebrity involved with that cause.

Often, you can find restaurants and hotels for your event for little or no cost, because the restaurant or hotel expects more business from the people it brings.

For example, I held some events at Monsoon Café on the Promenade in Santa Monica with about 100 people at each event, and they only required a $100 payment for the use of a large banquet hall and a $100 guarantee for bartender tips. Most of what we collected at the door ($10 each) went towards buying hors d’oeuvres for the group. So the payouts from the attendees easily covered the $100 fee, plus most people bought drinks, which funded the bartender. So it was a win-win for everyone.

Now, due to the recession, many restaurants and bars are suffering, so they are more likely to give you the space for free, if it looks like it will bring them a lot of customers.

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