Prior preparation prevents poor performance

Prior preparation prevents poor performance

Who doesn’t like a bit of alliteration? I remember my Dad using the saying ‘Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance’ all the time when I was growing up.

I thought it was just another one of his silly Dad jokes, but as I grew older, I began understanding the wisdom of his words.

At contentgroup we’ve had the privilege of working on the public relations contract for Floriade in 2014.

The event attracts more than 400,000 local, national and international visitors annually and over the weekend Floriade welcomed its first flock of thousands through the gates.

Our preparation over the last five months have been geared towards the launch last Friday and during this build up Dad’s old saying has crossed my mind on several occasions.

If you don’t get your preparation right, no matter what activity you are undertaking, your performance will suffer as a result.

In relation to Floriade, our job is to attract media attention and we were successful in securing a wide range of coverage over the opening weekend of the event.

So what should you consider when running the public relations for a campaign?

1. Always have a strategy

During my time at contentgroup we have been asked by clients on numerous occasions to get on with a job without a media plan or strategy in place. Put quite simply, it’s hard to achieve success without one.

Preparing a thorough strategy at the start of each project is essential and our first task on the Floriade 2014 contract was to prepare a comprehensive plan of attack for the coming five months. Strategies, audiences, tactics, key messages and action items are all important.

Equally important is sticking to the strategy and putting the hours into executing it properly. We’ve spent a lot of time on the phone, preparing pitches, studying the program and making sure our pitches to the media are relevant and timely.

2. Use your contacts

I have written blogs in the past on networking and the importance of managing relationships. Using our contacts for the Floriade project has proven very beneficial.

A few of the contentgroup team, including head honcho David Pembroke, have spent time in their working careers up on The Hill, and still have relationships with a few journalists walking the corridors. It was great to see a few of them come down to the launch on Friday and cover Australia’s biggest celebration of spring.

3. Think what the media need

Print, radio and television media all have different requirements when it comes to covering news – but one thing remains the same – they need a story.

Spend a bit of time getting your pitches right and then making sure you are pitching stories to the right outlets. It seems simple enough, but there is no point pitching a visual story to radio.

Equally, don’t pitch a story to television or expect to get front page of a publication if there is not a strong visual aspect.

For good coverage on television make sure there is lots of vision for the cameraman to shoot so they can turn it into a good package.

There are some great visuals at Floriade and it was good to see all the cameraman having a turn on the Ferris Wheel to get the best views of Commonwealth Park.

4. Have fun

Events can be stressful, but always try and keep a smile on your face. Whether your event goes for one day or 30 days, embrace it and get involved in everything it has to offer.

Things can often go pear shaped, but instead of panicking, think of a solution and then reflect on the moment.

I love events, and I am definitely looking forward to the next month ahead as Floriade celebrates its 27th year.

Photo: Martin Ollman


David is the Head of Consulting at contentgroup and possesses a love of writing. While he could write and talk about sport all day, his focus is now on helping public-sector clients tell their stories.

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