4 PR lessons from the Fourth of July

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As the calendar draws closer to the Fourth of July, most of our minds wander to celebrating with friends at backyard barbecues and watching fireworks displays light up the night sky. One thing that might not cross our minds, however, is that Independence Day—and the American Revolution in general—represent the outcome of one of history’s first, and most successful, public relations campaigns.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I wanted to take a look back at our nation’s founding fathers. These men were not only strong leaders with political savvy, they also were pros at using PR tactics to achieve their goals.

By employing public relations strategies in their fight for independence, our nation’s founders united the early Americans and led them to victory—even without the Internet and social media to help build their brand or spread their message.

The following are four lessons from our founding fathers which can be applied to your PR strategy today.

Have a plan (for the long haul)

The American Revolution lasted eight years, and in order to maintain support for their movement, the leading revolutionaries needed to keep the people informed and encouraged.

From the Boston Massacre of 1770, through the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, up until the British surrender at Yorktown, and their final recognition of American independence in 1783, the consistent and strategic PR campaign promoting the revolution acted as a crucial part of America’s eventual success.

While there are many factors that contributed to the birth of America as an independent nation, the Land of the Free would not have been possible without the application of a well-planned approach to communicating the founding father’s purpose and message to the people.

Thanks to this strong PR campaign, America was successful in motivating the colonists to fight for and gain their independence from the British crown. No matter how long it took.

This same concept can be applied to PR today. Plan your PR with a sustained campaign lasting for an extended period of time.

Gather your troops

Hosting events, such as the Boston Tea Party, was one way that the American revolutionaries gathered their supporters to broadcast their message. Organizing events for your target audience is one way you can attract media attention to promote your brand or business.

Events can be a great way for you or your spokespeople to interact with numerous members of the media at once, as well as provide an opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality.

Events also provide a forum to discuss industry news and trends, which can spark ideas for future media opportunities. Plus, these in-person meet ups help showcase your status as someone the media can reach out to for expertise.

Hone your message

Have you ever heard the phrase “No taxation without representation”? Of course you have! It’s just one of the many slogans and key phrases our founding fathers used to promote their cause.

In PR, it is important to always remember your core message when pitching reporters, drafting press releases, facilitating interviews, and while managing your day-to-day communications needs.

Keeping on message ensures that your brand’s or business’ point of view is communicated in a consistent way by everyone who speaks about it.

Develop your key messages and then stick to them. They will help promote your cause!

Keep calm and carry on

Despite losing 25,000 men in battles over the course of the Revolutionary War, the American troops did not back down against their British foes. They persevered.

Sticking with it is just as important in your brand’s or business’ PR activities.

Just because a pitch doesn’t land a positive response or media coverage on the first try doesn’t mean you should give up. Follow up with reporters and think of new ways to position previously unsuccessful pitches. The second or third time just may be the charm!

Creativity is a major part of this process, and having an open mind to forging new paths can make tackling your PR that much easier.

Remember, America’s independence wasn’t won in a day. We just pick one day each year to celebrate it. Keep calm and adhere to the lessons above, and you’ll be a PR powerhouse in no time.

What lessons from Fourth of July can you apply to your PR practices?

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage, get on the wait list for Hearsay’s PR mastermind group, or email me directly to schedule a Mini PR or Mini PR Plus session today!