One of the best ways to beat your competition is to out execute them.
This is especially true when it comes to PR and marketing.
All too often companies get bogged down when it comes to PR cadence and frequency. Activities are done in fits and starts. Then, long lags in time occur as the company goes “quiet.” Meanwhile, the leaders in the market seem to be communication machines – frequently and consistently posting social media and blogs, news announcements, gaining editorial coverage and contributing content to key trade publications.
One strategy to gain and maintain PR momentum is to leverage “execution” as a strategy itself.
Think about it, if you make a high-level goal to out-execute every one of your competitors you will create a clear action plan for what needs to happen and how often. That in turn will create a forcing function for creative thinking, collaboration, strategy and goal-setting for tactics.
This isn’t to say you just want to do “stuff” for the sake of doing anything at all. But, we often see paralyses by analysis, seeking perfection (that never comes) and other nit-picky reasons “we can’t move forward” and, before you know it, months and months have slipped by.
To shift to an execution-as-a-strategy approach consider the following steps:
- Audit your competitors: to out-execute your competitors you must gain insight and context into their PR strategy. Pay attention to how often they are blogging, issuing news, getting press mentions and engaging with their audience on social media (among other PR efforts!). If you want to out-execute them you have to understand what you are up against.
- Set Tactical Goals: don’t underestimate the power of solid tactical execution (blocking and tackling). Review your competitive audit and set monthly benchmark goals for blogs, by-lined articles, editorial placements, social media posts, speaking submissions and news releases. Just like sales teams have opportunity funnels, PR teams should have communication funnels.
- Don’t sacrifice good for perfect: creating and sharing accurate, high quality content is essential for PR success. If you sacrifice good for perfect, you’ll miss golden opportunities that your active and engaged competitors will quickly snatch up. Plus, let’s be honest — perfection is an impossible standard. Set the bar high, but not so high that productivity completely stalls.
- Assume Market Amnesia: in today’s digital world, people’s attention spans are getting shorter and they are inundated with massive amounts of information every day. It may feel like you are being repetitive, but consistent and good content can actually help lessen the industry amnesia. Consistently remind the industry of who you are and what you stand for.
- Re-purpose Content: every piece of content that you develop can be dissected, restructured and reused. For example, a white paper could be the basis for contributed content, an infographic, social posts, an entire blog series and a news release. Redistribute your content through different channels to reach every place you might find an active audience.
- Pick Up the Phone: email is the easy modern way to share news and pitch influencers, but there is still immense value in using the phone to speak with an actual person. Unlike email, phone conversations lead to relationships and opportunities – and these only occur through human-to-human interaction.
- Focus on Trends: the most disruptive and impactful things happening in your industry are often correlated to the big industry trends. Identify the megatrends in your industry and build thought leadership messaging around them. You’ll be creating timely, relevant content that many companies overlook.
If you find your PR efforts getting stuck in endless review cycles, remember that there’s probably a competitor consistently dropping good content and securing media coverage on a regular basis. If pushing the PR program forward is a challenge for your organization, consider adopting execution-as-a strategy to ensure you aren’t missing valuable PR opportunities.