“What may be done at any time will be done at no time.”
— Scottish Proverb
Okay, don’t ask what the Jewish grandmother from New York is doing with a Scottish proverb. My chief strategist found it for me, and it fit the tone of my message today.
In my time counseling clients, I have found that the two biggest obstacles to a good PR campaign are the two Ps: Procrastination and Perfection. Too many times, companies will procrastinate in getting their campaign started, and tag their campaign launch to something artificial like a product launch (which isn’t news, unless it’s the iPhone 4) or a new initiative. By and large, the media could care less. Your message, combined with something that is hot in the news cycle, is your hook, and if you’re doing it right, waiting is not an option. The second element, perfection, is something that drives many companies to delay their campaign. Executives will debate messages and news angles to the point of diminished return, and wind up unnecessarily delaying their PR campaigns.
My point is simply this: you need to start now. Not next week, not next month. Now.
After all, isn’t that when you want your potential customers to act? Many consumer businesses have taken to using the “right now” message in their advertising. A leading brake service provider uses the “now” message in their radio ads, stressing that waiting to take care of a potential brake problem could cause more costly damage to your car’s brake system. Empire, a leading manufacturer and provider of flooring and carpet solutions for consumers, has even changed the name of its company to Empire Today. Their point is that waiting for the “bargain” will cost their customers more money in the long run.
So, if you want your potential customers to act today, that’s exactly when you need to start your PR campaign. Getting ready to get ready never got anyone any additional business. What’s more, the dog days of summer will soon give way to the busy days of Q4, and if you want to have a chance at making an impression during the busiest time of the year, you HAVE to start now. Here’s why:
The Holidays – Yes, I know that when it’s 90 degrees outside, it seems like a weird time to be thinking of the holiday season, but the media doesn’t think in those terms. Media folks like to take time off for the holidays as well, which means they have to start working on their holiday coverage early. Long lead publications are already working on their October and November issues, and if you want to be included, you need to start communicating with them now. Moreover, short leads start working on their holiday gift guides and reviews in August and September. If you have a consumer product or service that is compatible with the holiday season, this is when you need to start communicating with the media to promote it.
Authors – If your book is a fall release, you’ll be competing with a hundred thousand other authors for the attention of book buyers. If you want your book to rise like cream to the top, you need to make sure that as soon as your book becomes available, you will be on the air and in the news to talk about it. Furthermore, the holiday market beckons for you, as well. The summer reading season is over, so you need to focus on your book as a holiday gift.
Revenue – If you’re like most businesses, the year is going by faster than you’d like, and you are behind on your revenues – either falling short of your projections for 2010, or compared to how you did last year. Either way, the only way to increase the inflow of business is to increase the outflow of marketing. There is no better value in marketing than PR, so why let your campaign languish as your revenues stagnate? If you’re going to have any hope of picking up the pace, PR is your best friend.
At the end of the day, the old Scottish proverb rings true. If you’re comfortable putting off your PR campaign until tomorrow or next week or the week after, what guarantee do you have that you’ll ever launch it? Start today, right now, and you’ll be surprised how fast your campaign can be up and running.