Public Relations Writing: Lesson #14 - p. 5

PR Campaigns (continued)

Campaign Memo Project

Now that you've completed the first draft, you are ready to add the sequence of media events you are proposing to communicate your message.

Your memo will begin with the four parts of your first draft:

  1. Campaign message: In the very first paragraph, make clear that the overall campaign message is identified, so everyone who reads your memo (it will get circulated) understands that your recommendations are consistent with the other elements of the campaign. The overall campaign message might be something as simple as "Vote Hannigan for Innovative Solutions and Traditional Values" -- or, "Jackson! Competence, for a Change!"

  2. Situation Analysis: This is where you develop your first draft in response to the real immediate conditions in which your compaign is taking place. Take into account your market, your competition, and external factors such as a soft economy. What is the problem that needs solving? -- write a description of the situation that clarifies which problem or opportunity your memo seeks to address. You might identify several themes (issue areas) that are important in the current campaign -- make sure you include results of polling and other research and insights -- your ideas should be based on more than your gut feelings.

  3. Campaign objective: Tell which theme you have chosen to focus on, to help deliver the campaign message. For example, a comprehensive health care program will help to put across a campaign message like "Brower: Working to Change your Quality of Life." In this section, explain how developing this theme is a good idea, and spin a scenario or two to demonstrate your vision of how it will play out.

  4. Media events: Rather than concentrate on a single media event, as you did in your first draft, introduce a sequence of events, scheduled to take place over a period of weeks.

Now list specific media events you have in mind. I suggest you come up with a total of 15 different events. Five of them should be significant events, the kind that you might hope would produce front page articles, and TV stories that top the news. The other ten should be supportive of those five big ones, to keep the story fresh in the public eye. In the Sample Campaign Memo on this Web site, I have used asterisks (*) to identify the five big ones, to help you understand what I mean.

Use your imagination to meld issues, settings, statements, and other media opportunities to identify your principal with your message.

The purpose of these exercises are to familiarize you with a PR Campaign plan -- not to make you an instant expert in one week. Entire courses are devoted to the different aspects of this lesson. For the student who becomes intrigued, this lesson is a valuable survey of the field.

For a look at an actual PR campaign plan online, look at these pages from -- the site of the National Council for Social Studies.

You might also benefit from a PR Campaign Plan slide display on my website. It was developed using the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising as a case study.

Keep up the good work,

Alton Miller

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