By: Courtney Rose
Like anything in life—trying to lose weight, picking up a new hobby, getting back on your gym routine, launching a new business, planning a wedding—it all takes time. These things don’t happen overnight—a lot of work, repetition and planning goes into each one of these activities. There’s no difference in starting a successful PR campaign. Typically, you can start to see results from a national PR campaign in around 7-9 months (there are always exceptions, of course). For clients, this waiting game can be torturous—it’s hard to imagine having to wait that long to see the media coverage and brand recognition that you want.
In order to help people and companies understand the beginning stages of a PR campaign, let’s think of something else in life that takes about that long (hopefully this makes it easier to relate to). For us, the first thing that comes to mind is having a baby – it takes 9 months to welcome that bundle of joy, which is about the same amount of time it takes for your “business baby” to get featured in the top national publications.
Here is what you can expect when you’re expecting media coverage at the start of your PR campaign:
First Trimester (0-3 months)
- Expect to play the waiting game: We want that O Magazine spread, the New York Times feature and to have you on Good Morning America, but those things don’t happen overnight! As much as we wish they did, they take time. Top tier publications work about 6 months in advance—so that holiday gift guide for December, needs to be sent to that editor’s desk in June. Even for a successful regional campaign, you need about 3-7 months to gain traction. Yes, at Olive PR we’ve had clients go viral in much less time, but we like to be realistic when it comes to expectations.
- Expect to feel vulnerable: Your PR team should be asking you for all the details—what’s your story, why are you doing what you’re doing, why are you where you are today, what makes you different, what’s inspired you to take this business journey, what have been your challenges and successes? They will need to know the whole background to be able to craft your story to ensure it gets shared in the best way possible. This process could feel a little bit scary, because you’re letting an outsider in; but if you truly believe in what you’ve done, then your PR team will have no problem shining the light on you and illuminating your story.
Second Trimester (3-7 months)
- Expect to have trust: It’s pretty common for businesses to get antsy at the four-month mark. Remember you chose your PR team for a reason – you trusted they’d get the job done. This is an investment in your business and it’s important to remember you trust the team you’ve chosen. At Olive PR we are transparent with our clients, giving them feedback we receive from the media and letting them know about all opportunities when they happen.
- Expect to see traction: By this time, the PR team should be securing media opportunities, interviews, and hearing back from journalists that are interested in sharing your story/product. Always keep in mind that journalists are working on a variety of stories at one time and they might have seen your PR professional’s pitch, but it may not be timely for their editorial calendar at the moment. That’s why we work on creating pitches with different story angles to ensure we can always make it timely and relevant for the client and the journalist.
Third Trimester (7-9 months)
- Expect to feel reassured: When you start sending product samples to SHAPE Magazine or Vogue, or get off a phone interview with Inc. or Refinery 29 – you’ll feel those butterflies of excitement. Big things are coming your way! Your confidence is through the roof, you understand the process, and you’re more than ready for the next steps.
- Expect to see the results you want: The time has arrived! Features about your business, you and your product/service will be hitting those newsstands. Those media opportunities your PR team secured three months ago are now in print, online and shared on social media. You’re reaching your goals and it feels amazing.