One of my first “jobs” was a humble position as the family’s table setter. My salary was non-existent, but the benefits were delicious.
Of course, I had no idea then that the same skills used in setting a table could be applied to effective public relations for a brand or organization.
Most kids start off with a “job” just like mine. It may be humble, but many of us performed our duties as if the President and First Lady were coming to dinner. Every napkin was perfectly creased. Each fork without a smudge. Every glass spotless.
The same attention to detail is imperative for your PR. You may have a wonderful product ready and waiting for your consumers, but they will never come to the table unless it is set for them.
Before sending a new campaign out, ask yourself these three simple questions.
1. Is your PR campaign clean and fresh?
We all have our horror stories of sitting down at a restaurant and finding a dirty utensil or plate. No one wants to see someone else’s leftovers on their fork.
Your PR campaign needs to be clean as well. Review it thoroughly to make sure that it is clean of any typos or errors. Make sure that it is fresh and tailored for your recipient. Do not bother sending a pitch tailored toward homeschooling moms to a Silicon Valley blogger, and vice versa. If (and that is a BIG IF) they read your email, it will still be headed for the trash folder. Always try to personalize your message for the outlet’s target audience.
2. Do you have the right utensils for the meal?
Growing up you learned the difference between a dinner fork and a salad fork. You discovered early on that knives were useless for tomato basil soup. Even the best meal in the world cannot be consumed as the chef intended without the right utensils at the table.
What about the campaign you are about to serve to the public? Are you reaching the public with the right tools? There is no successful “one size fits all” approach to PR. If the bulk of your target audience has no idea what a tweet is, why are you spending two hours a day on Twitter? Tailor your campaign to the group you are trying to bring to the table. If they are offline, reach them offline. If they adore Pinterest, get on Pinterest.
3. Do you have the right amount of place settings?
Math was not my best subject growing up and occasionally when we had guests, we would sit at the table and realize that we were missing a place setting or had an extra one. Chances are, I had miscounted and someone was left out at the table or we had, as my mother would say, a seat for Jesus.
When you get ready to launch your campaign, make sure that you have enough supply to meet the potential demand. Avoid making the same mistake many businesses did with Groupon. They saw the potential for more sales and dived in head first. Problem was, they did not have the means to accommodate that many people coming to the table all at once. In one case, it cost a business nearly a year of profits.
Before you launch, know how broad of a net you can cast out to the public. Scale your campaign based upon what you can realistically deliver. Bring only the right number of customers to the table, so you can ensure that everyone will be well fed.
These three principles won’t guarantee that consumers will heartily devour your product and come back for seconds. But if you practice these simple lessons from table setting, you can at least help get them to the table.
As any mom will tell you, that is half the battle won.
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