There’s a particular feeling that comes to me every time I reach for my running shoes. It’s a buzzing, tingling sensation, a wave of anticipation that flows from my fingertips to my core.
Over the years, running has been a source of joy, a source of freedom, and a source of strength. It has also been a source of frustration, of injury, and of pain. It has been a consistent part of my life that has taken me from the crowded streets of Qingdao to the quiet stretches of Vermont dirt roads.
Running has taught me countless lessons over the years. It has been far more educational than any class I’ve ever taken, from learning how to listen to my body to how to accomplish goals.
Today, I want to focus on the top 8 lessons that running can teach us about managing Public Relations campaigns to engage the media and the public with meaningful stories. The end goal of all of this is to raise awareness, influence behavior, motivate purchase decisions, and build brand equity. Fear not, no running shoes required.
- Be inspired – When thinking about what to do next, whether selecting a route to run or launching a campaign, inspiration matters. It has to be exciting. We live in a competitive world, and if an idea doesn’t bring passion, intrigue, or offer something new, it won’t resonate with audiences. So often our tendency is to hold back from being bold. But that’s not what makes a memorable campaign.
- Be prepared, but not over-prepared – There’s a certain amount of prep work that lays the foundation for a run or campaign, particularly when it comes to identifying tactics, tools, and resources at your disposal. But too much scrutinizing of plans and timelines doesn’t yield better results. At some point, as Nike says, Just Do It.
- Stay attuned to your environment – Nothing happens in a vacuum. Our environments are constantly giving us cues and signals, whether a visual signal or a data point. Having a steady flow of information, data, analysis, and feedback loops are essential for successful campaigns, and for improving runs over time.
- Know when to pause, and when to go – Sometimes a rest break is all you need to feel reinvigorated. The same is true with campaigns. Taking a few minutes, hours, or days can be exactly what is needed to reassess a changing environment, or to consider an unexpected factor. Clarity often comes with just a few deep breaths.
- Pivoting can be game-changing – When a run or campaign isn’t yielding the expected results, it’s important to recognize and to change course. It can be as simple as finding a new street to run with a different incline or identifying a new campaign angle.
- Ask for directions – We’ve been taught that asking for help is a sign of weaknesses. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Having fresh eyes and guidance from a trusted source can be the difference between spending time wandering aimlessly to finding the treasure.
- Timing matters – When you run, it’s all about finding a rhythm that feels good and is comfortable for your body. From the cadence of your footsteps to the swinging of your arms, every repetitive movement impacts how you build strength and create momentum. The same is true for the rhythm of campaigns. Campaigns can be optimized for maximum impact by considering what message needs to be evoked when, and timing it to the right audience.
- Reflect and stretch for future wins – After a run or campaign is complete, thinking about what went well and what to change for next time is essential to improve. Stretching tight muscles or looking through performance data will leave you flexible and more agile for future challenges.
At the end of the day, we can learn a great deal from the things we love. Whether you’re a runner, painter, or musician, best practices and inspiration can inform a legendary campaign and your work in general.
I’ll leave you with this question – in thinking about your interests, what have you learned over the years and how can it further inspire your work?