Getting Comms Right

How project management principles can improve your PR campaign – Part 1

Written by Maggie Mullan, Senior Account Executive at Templemere PR

How project management principles can improve your PR campaign – Part 1

Having joined PR relatively late from the Civil Service, where I was a project manager, I have brought with me a different set of skills to the profession. Since making the change, it’s evident to me that the processes and responsibilities of a PR professional can be aided through the application of project management principles – helping to increase efficiency, standardise practices and ensure objectives are met for all campaigns.

In this series, I will highlight four key project management practices and explain why adopting them can add value and structure to your PR campaign.

Define project goals and objectives

In project management speak, a project is defined as a series of tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve a specific outcome. A project is short term; once its objectives are met, it ends.

PR campaigns, then, are very similar. Their intention is to achieve a specific outcome – whether that’s defined by the client, by the PR team itself, or by an external driver – in a predetermined length of time, with a specific set of conditions, such as resources and remit.

From the offset of a campaign, understanding what success looks like is critical. It will influence every stage of the campaign and is essential for identifying priorities, monitoring progress and informing decisions. Every action and task that is undertaken throughout a campaign must be beneficial to the overall goal. What’s more, having a clearly defined view of success is important for remaining aligned with the client and for managing expectations and progress throughout the campaign lifecycle.

Identify priorities and milestones ahead of time

A campaign is made up of multiple phases, such as ideation, research, thought leadership drafting and pitching to press. With so many moving parts and conflicting demands, prioritisation is critical to success. By assessing priorities before they become urgent it is possible to maintain a big picture view, which is essential for assigning resource, managing changes, and foreseeing potential issues.

Milestones offer an opportunity to measure progress and ensure alignment to the wider objectives of the campaign. Think of a milestone as a stepping stone towards the finish line. They provide an opportunity to formally review what has been achieved and what is left to do. From a client servicing perspective, milestones are critical as they provide a defined opportunity for reporting progress against the deadline.

In the next instalment in this series, I’ll be considering how stakeholder management and reviewing outcomes and learnings at the end of a campaign can add value to your PR offering by creating structure and opportunities to learn and improve.

Getting Comms Right