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I love Christmas. Hand it to my parents, who, when I was a kid, made an annual tradition of infusing a boatload of magic and wonder into this time of year. They infected me with a huge addiction to the month of December. Pile together the presents, the food and the fun, sprinkled with the anticipation that grows exponentially starting the day after Thanksgiving, they created a paradigm that I am now handing down to my son. Man, is it fun.
It’s also a LOT of freaking work. Buying (and hiding) the presents, planning the menu and cooking the food (ok, my wife is doing that), sending the Christmas cards, decorating the house, the tree, getting to see Santa Claus and embarking on a series of party-hopping weekends, it’s quite a 30-day sprint.
With all there is to do, we quickly realized quickly that, with only four weekends between Turkey Day and C-Day, not one precious weekend afternoon can be wasted. And so we’ve taken to plotting out the season with near military precision, to make sure that when we wake up on December 25, we’re prepared – and can spend more time enjoying the day and less time working.
Publicity campaigns should be no different, given that we have (or should have) a specific goal in mind, a date that we need to cross that finish line, and an understanding of the little jobs in between that have to get done along the way to ensure success.
To hit that ultimate target, we need to look over the arc of the time allotted to us to get the project done, and decide when key moments need to occur. We then need to back time (my fancy radio-days reference) out of those moments to make sure the work gets done in time (See: What We Can Learn From The New York Jets, from earlier this year). Failing to execute on these smaller items invites delay and – at its worst – catastrophic failure in reaching our goal. It’s the equivalent of Christmas presents not getting delivered on time because Santa forgot to put the reindeer on a diet over the summer and didn’t change the oil in the sleigh. Bad planning = poor results.
So plan your PR campaigns accordingly. Just like in the Christmas season, you don’t want to get caught on the short end of that countdown clock. Or the Elf on the Shelf won’t be able to get the silly smirk off his face.