Friday, March 31, 2006

Writing a Powerful E-mail Press Release

Author: John Karnish

Press Releases are a great source of publicity for your business and often attract more buyers than traditional, paid advertising. However a lot of people are confused when it comes to sending out publicity releases, so here are some things you should know.

You should always remember that the main objective is to seek publicity for your business. You never should send out a sales letter. That's not what a release is for and you'll never get published. Always target the person to whom you send your release. Sending out releases isn't a numbers game. The more targeted a contact is to your release, the more likely they will publish it.

Once you find a media source that would be interested in your publicity release, then you want to find which editor is the best for your purpose. Don't send it to a managing editor, you want to send it to a contact that is related to your release.

When you send a release, always personalize it. ""Dear Editor's name,"". Use their title, ""Being the Sports Editor for..."" Also use their field of interest if it's known. ""Being the Sports Editor for the (New England Chronicle) and an avid soccer fan...""

There are two, general ways of sending out a press release by e-mail. Both have good and bad qualities. Some editors prefer that you send them a short e-mail, ""briefly"" describing your release and asking permission to send it. This will prevent an editor from asking to be removed, which would end any future contact with him.

The second way is to make absolutely sure he would be interested in your release and just send it out. The advantage of going this way is neither of you is wasting time by asking permission and granting it. It's up to you. I suggest you try and see how each one works for you and choose the better of the two. Whichever strategy you use always honor an editor's request to be ""removed.""

Try to keep you release short; e-mail releases are recommended to be only three paragraphs. Many editors will receive a hundred or more releases a day, so you have to get his attention in a very short amount of time.

Catch their attention in the first paragraph, the main focus of your release in the second and your contact information in the third.

You don't want to give your whole story in the press release, you want them to contact your for more information. The nice thing about the internet is that you can make this information directly available by using a webpage or an autoresponder.

List all of the information they'd be interested in. Think of some questions that an editor would probably ask you in an interview and provide the answers. Write down all of the specifics of your story. You might want to list your credentials or company history too. Whenever you list a contact number, always leave a number where you can be reached. Editors don't have a lot of time and they're not going to go out of their way to get in touch with you.

When thinking of ideas for a release, one good way of getting noticed is by tying yourself in with recent news stories. Another idea is just to make a bold claim, ""that you can live up to."" You'll find that lots of people will give you publicity, to try to prove you wrong. For example ""New York stock broker say he can make anyone a millionaire."" Just remember that you should be able to stand behind your claims.

Format of a Press Release

""FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE"" should be written in top, left corner. If your information needs to be printed on or before a certain date, you would write something like: ""FOR RELEASE AFTER MARCH 27"" or ""FOR RELEASE BEFORE CHRISTMAS."" These would also go in the upper, left-hand corner.

Skip two lines and type ""CONTACT:"" Then list your contact information. Skip two lines and type your headline. Make sure your spend some time here because this is what will determine if your release gets read or shred. (=

The first paragraph begins with the dateline. Here's an example: (New York, NY - October 9, 2000) - Then. skip a space after the dash and write your first sentence. The first paragraph of your release should be a few sentences that concisely summarize the content without much specific detail. Remember to answer the basic questions who, what, where, when, why and how. Pay special attention to the first paragraph because it's here that you have to convince the editor that your release is worth reading and printing. Be sure to make this clear. Why should her readers be interested? How will it affect their life? What are the benefits?

The second paragraph, you want to go into a little more detail and add some quotes. Remember to establish yourself as an expert. Don't say ""Tom Jones says,"" say ""Tom Jones, webmaster for Kidco.com and prominent author says...""

In the third paragraph, you want to persuade the editor to seek more information. You can have them visit your web site or a pre-made webpage, send a message to an autoresponder, call you etc. At the end of your press release, you want to skip a space and end with three, centered number signs. ""###""

About the author: John Karnish of the Internet Marketing Professional website. Visit his site for a QUICK And EASY Way To Build A Profitable Business On The Internet. Start Today! Visit: http://internet-marketingpro.com

How to Write a Press Release

Author: Kirk Gordon

Why You Should Write Press Releases: A press release is another way of saying news release or an announcement. It’s an easy and affordable way to get your message out to the public. It allows you to announce new products, services or improvements your company has made.

Other common reasons for writing press releases includes, but not limited to, generating more revenues, obtaining new customers and branding your business. Every business strive to make their company’s name a household name, and submitting press releases is a great way to do so.

With the emergence of the internet businesses now have an easy way to submit their press releases to thousands of journalists and news papers world-wide, with the click of a mouse. Press release distribution services are becoming increasingly popular for both web-based and real-world based businesses.

How to Effectively Write a Press Release: As I stated earlier, a press release is simply another name for “news” release. The first thing you must consider is weather you have “news” worthy information to announce. Journalists and editors are seeking interesting news that people want to know about.

Good press releases will generally answer who, what, where, when & why. A press release is often written in third person, and generally includes quotes form a company representative or customers where applicable. If a news editor thinks your submission is newsworthy, he or she will publish your release. However, if you fail to provide any essential information or your submission is not newsworthy, an editor will quickly move your news release to the bottom of the pile.

Editors and Journalists receives plenty of news releases each day. The easier you make it for them, the easier it becomes for your news release to be published. Think of it as “Your helping them” to “help you.”

Formatting Your Press Release A press release will include the Headline, Summary, and Body. For example, lets say you own a greenhouse business and you recently acquired hydroponics equipment to grow vegetables and herbs. You also will grow plants using organic nutrients or fertilizers. Below is an example press release for a business of this nature. You may follow the structure of the example, but written in your own words to reflect your business.

Headline: A concise, catchy, understandable line of text to show what the news release is about.

- Farm Grows Organic Vegetables & Herbs Using Hydroponics.

Summary: A concise body of text, generally a few sentences long, summarizing what the press release is about.

NY, New York – August 1st 2005 – Hydroponics is an advanced plant cultivation technique that grows plants bigger, healthier, and quicker than traditional soil applications because the plants will have constant access to required nutrients. Acme-Demo-Biz Inc. Co., will begin to produce their crops using this advanced cultivation technique along with organic fertilizer to grow high-quality, healthy produce.

Body: The body is a continuation of the summary portion of the press release. This is where you give in-depth details regarding your announcement.

Acme-Demo-Biz Inc’s VP, John Doe said “While it’s more difficult to grow crops using hydroponics, the technique allows plants to grow more vigorously, healthy and reach peak-maturity quicker than with traditional soil application. We also save money on fertilizer and water because hydroponics recycles the nutrient solution. This will allow us to pass that savings on to our customers as well as provide them with fresh, tasty vegetables and herbs.”

Hydroponics is an indoor cultivation technique. Acme-Demo-Biz Inc. plans on building three large-scale commercial greenhouse to produce vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and basil. “To ensure a successful harvest, Acme-Demo-Biz Inc. will use computers to monitor the grow-room’s temperature and the nutrient solution pH and E.C levels – All of which needs to be controlled precisely, to avoid complications to the plants’ overall health and development.” Said Mr. Doe.

Construction of the three greenhouses will begin December 1, 2005. Acme-Demo-Biz Inc. hopes to have the construction completed within one year to start providing organically grown crops to high-end restaurants, health-food stores and produce markets.

For more information visit Acme-Demo-Biz Inc. Co., web site at http://acme-whatever.com, by email at acme@acme-whatever.com or call 1-800-555-5555.

About the author: Article Courtesy of HydroponicSearch.com - Agriculture Press Release Distribution Service .

The Ultimate PR "Scam"

Author: Robert A. Kelly

The Ultimate PR “Scam”

It happens to business, non-profit and association managers when their public relations budget fails to deliver the crucial external audience behaviors they need to achieve their department, division or subsidiary objectives.

Behaviors they should have received leading directly to boosts in repeat purchases; growing community support; more tech firms specifying the manager’s components; increased capital donations; stronger employee retention rates; new waves of prospects, or healthy membership increases.

If that rings your bell, you need to take two actions.

First, insist that your public relations activity is based on a fundamental premise like this: People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

Second, as the manager for whom they labor, get personally involved with the professionals managing your PR effort. Tell those specialists that you must list, then prioritize those key external audiences whose behaviors effect your unit the most.

Identify that outside audience sitting at the top of your slate, and we’ll work on it right now.

Nothing happens, of course, until you gather some pithy information. Namely, how do members of that key target audience, whose behaviors affect your unit’s success or failure, actually perceive you?

You and/or your PR team must interact with members of that audience and monitor their perceptions by asking a number of questions: Do you know anything about us? What have you heard about our services or products? Have you ever had contact with our organization? Was it satisfactory?

The trick here is to stay vigilant for negative signs, in particular, untruths, exaggerations, inaccuracies, rumors or misconceptions.

By the time you complete this exercise, you will have gathered the raw material you need to establish a corrective public relations goal. It might aim to fix an inaccuracy, clear up a misconception or lay that rumor to rest.

How you get to that goal, however, is another question because you have just three strategy choices when it comes to perception/ opinion matters like this. Create perception/opinion where there isn’t any, reinforce existing opinion, or change it. A warning: insure that your new strategy is an obvious match for your new public relations goal.

Now, alert your team to a real writing challenge – a message tasked with altering the offending perception. Which means your writer must produce a message that changes what many target audience members now believe. No easy job!

It must be clear about how the current perception is out of kilter. And it must not only be truthful, but persuasive, compelling and believable if it is to lead ultimately to the desired behavior. True heavy lifting!

By the way, messages like that best retain their credibility when delivered along with another news announcement or presentation, rather than a dedicated, high-profile press release.

Speaking of delivery, it’s time for you and your PR team to select the communications tactics to carry that message of yours to members of a target audience that really needs to hear it. Fortunately, there are dozens of such tactics awaiting your pleasure – speeches, radio/newspaper interviews, brochures, op-eds, newsmaker events, newsletters and many, many more. Be careful that the tactics you use have a record of reaching folks just like those you’re aiming at.

It won’t be long before people around you begin asking about progress. Which, once again, will put your team back in the opinion monitoring mode out among the members of your target audience. And the questions they ask will be very similar to those used in the first perception monitoring session.

Difference this time around will be your close attention to just how much current perceptions are really undergoing the change for which you planned. You want solid signs that the offending perception is actually being altered.

You can always shovel more coal into the boiler by adding new communications tactics, then using them more frequently to achieve faster progress.

When you apply a comprehensive and workable plan like this, you have little to fear from “a PR scam.” Instead, you are on-track to achieve those key audience behaviors you must have to reach your unit’s operating objectives.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Managers: Are You PR-Fit?

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Managers: Are You PR-Fit?

Can you honestly say that your business, non-profit or association’s key outside audiences behave in ways that help lead to your success on-the-job?

Or, have you pretty much ignored the reality that target audience behaviors can help or hinder you in achieving your department, division or subsidiary’s operating objectives?

Truth is, your unit’s public relations effort can never be truly fit until the primary focus of the PR people assigned to you is shifted from tactical concerns to a more comprehensive public relations action blueprint like this: people act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving- to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

What such a foundation gives you is the ability to help persuade those important external stakeholders to your way of thinking. Which can cause them to take actions that lead to your success as a manager.

Any idea how to make that happen?

First, tell your public relations team that you’re serious about nailing down what those outside audiences with the behaviors that affect your unit the most, really think about your organization. After you list the external stakeholders, prioritize them so we’re certain we’re working on one of your key target audiences.

Next, you and your PR team must interact with members of that audience by asking a number of questions aimed at finding out how you’re perceived. Look for inaccurate beliefs, troublesome misconceptions, potentially dangerous rumors, and any other negativities that might translate into target audience behaviors that could hurt you.

Of course, you could hire a professional survey firm to interact with members of your target audience and gather the perception data you need. But that can get expensive indicating, at least to me, that the alternative use of your own PR staff to handle this chore, is the better choice.

Question now, how to achieve that public relations goal? Obviously, you need the right strategy to show you how to do it. Luckily, where opinion/perception is concerned, there are really only three strategy choices: create perception/opinion where none exists, change existing perception, or reinforce it. And be certain the strategic choice you made clearly fits your new public relations goal.

Now, remember that the message you use to communicate your corrective message to members of your target audience is not only crucially important to the program’s success, but a real writing challenge for you and your public relations team. The message must be clearly written as to why the offending perception really needs to be clarified. Supporting facts must be above challenge and believable if your message is to be persuasive. And, it should be compelling.

Delivering your message, perhaps surprisingly, is not a complex assignment because you have a long list of communications tactics to help you do the job. They range from media interviews, emails, personal contacts and newsletters to facility tours, press releases, brochures, consumer meetings and many others. The only caution here is to check and double-check that those you choose are known to reach people like those who make up your target audience.

Sooner rather than later, you will need to determine how much progress you’re making in altering the damaging perception and its equally damaging follow-on behavior. This is also not a complex challenge.

Here, you and your public relations people must once again interact with members of your target audience and ask questions similar to those used in the earlier benchmark monitoring drill.

The big difference this time around? You’ll be alert to change. In other words, you want to see clear indications that the damaging perception is actually undergoing alteration in your direction.

You can always add more communications tactics, increase their frequencies and sharpen your message to move things along at a faster clip.

The result for you as a business, non-profit or association manager, will be a workable department, division or subsidiary public relations blueprint that succeeds in creating key outside audience behaviors that help lead you to success on-the-job.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

A Great Press Release Can Really Get Your Business Noticed

Author: Alvin Apple

Getting a new business off the ground is a daunting prospect. There are so many things to consider: office space, equipment, personnel, and the all important advertising. Money is always tight in the beginning, and quite often by the time that last dollar is spent getting things up and running, the advertising budget just isn't there. Not to worry. There are many great ways of getting the word out about your business without spending a fortune. In particular, press releases have long been an effective way of letting the public know that your business exists.

Now a press release is not an ad, and any press release structured like an ad will be deleted in a second. The job of a press release is simply to alert the media to something newsworthy about your business. It's a bit like fishing. Whether or not the editor takes your bait depends on how you present your business, or even what kind of day the editor is having. In the end, it is entirely up to the individual editors whether or not they use your story.

When writing your press release, make it sound newsy. Don't start off with sales language. You can save the blatant commercial stuff for the end of the release. Choose something interesting about your business and create a headline. ""New Innovations in Gardening Produce Beautiful Crop of Strawberries,"" is much more likely to be read than, ""Johnson's Nursery Grand Opening Special: 50% off on Strawberries."" Get the picture?

After you've got a great headline, fill out your story with interesting facts about your business. Give a brief history of what led you to what you're doing now. Mention how the needs of the market are changing and how your business is a result of those changes. Try using quotes. Whatever you do, make it interesting, and stay away from blatant sales language or specific offers.

Once you've got your release written, submit it to as many media outlets as possible. You can find media databases and lists of editors all over the web. One that I've had particularly great luck with is Gebbie.com., try them, and also do a search to see what you can come up with on your own. Submit to all of your local papers, radio stations and TV stations as well. Too often people doing business online forget about local media, and sometimes they can be your biggest champions.

Linking your release to a popular story in the news can also get an editor's attention. If a specific topic is already on the tips of people's tongues, a related release is much more likely to be picked up. Media people tend to think that a typical audience can only stay interested in a few topics at a time, so if you can tie your story in to something that's already getting buzz you'll have a much better chance. If you don't get picked up right away, keep trying. What an editor ignores today may sound like a great story next month. Don't give up.

The time at which you submit your release is crucial as well. You will always have a better chance of being noticed if the editor receives your story before 3pm. Late afternoon is deadline ""crunch"" time for newspapers, past the prime news times of radio, and getting into last minute preparation time for TV news. Keep that in mind and don't get lost in the shuffle.

If you do it right, submitting a press release can be a great way of getting the word out about your business. There's money to be made out there if you just know how to do it.

About the author: Alvin Apple helps everyday people start businesses they will enjoy. Then he teaches them how to succeed. Read all his helpful strategies, including his latest article ""How to Use Signature Files to Give Your E-mail The Personal Touch That SELLS,"" at http://AlvinApple.com Reach Alvin at 801-328-9006 or alvin@drnunley.com.

Secret To Using Press Release To Generate Huge Traffic

Author: Daegan Smith

Are you getting ready to introduce a new service or product? Have you used or are you familiar with press releases? An interesting and newsworthy press release can create a lot of search visibility, media exposure and web site traffic.

People are more interested to narrative news than an advertisement. Through a press release, you can get your story successfully published. Doing a story regarding your website as well as products that is offered and having it published by the media is equivalent to getting an endorsement. Most significantly, giving off a press release is so much cheaper compared to buying an ad.

A press release is a narrative news regarding your business which you will distribute or submit to several media including the internet. Keep in mind that it will not sound as an advertisement. Each time that you offer a new product, a service or anything new that is taking place in your website, you can write a press release about it.

This can be distributed by way of a service such as prweb.com or Press-Release-Writing.com and this can be viewed by thousands of individuals in just weeks as well as be picked up or chosen by several web sites for publication.

An effective press release would need you to describe your website with the viewpoint and assessment of news. Deal with the curiosity of your targeted readers and give emphasis on why customers should look and read your story.

Guidelines in writing your press release:

1. Inverted pyramid lay-out. This format places not so important data and facts down in your release, permitting you to revise your story more easily to fit the available space that you have. If you have to cut short your story, you can start leaving out certain details beginning at the lowermost portion of the story then working upwards.

2. Be exact to the point. Your release must be well defined; this can be stated in your title. Concentrate on the main concept of your story; ask what, where, why and when to help you focus your story.

3. Create a clever title. A catchy title is an effective way to attract attention.

4. Limit your content length. Keep it with an average of 350 to 500 words. The shorter your release, the better; too much explanation and reasoning in a very small room will decrease your storyís efficiency.

5. Format your story in block, with no indentation on paragraphs.

6. Re-examine your story, making certain that it will not appear to be an essay; it must be educational yet appealing.

7. Proofread. Check and double check your story. Read it aloud to yourself and walk away for a while so that you can come back on it and examine it with a clear mind and fresh eyes.

What to write in your press release:

1. Use brief sentences and the lines should be double spaced.

2. Create an attention grabbing header.

3. Refer to and state your product, business or service in your story.

4. Write a press release when you have new products to offer.

5. Make a press release regarding the outcome of online poll or surveys that you have just completed.

6. When you are hosting a seminar or trade show, you can write a press release about it.

7. Make a press release when you are opening a new web site.

8. When your business has achieved an online award, create an informative story about it.

9. When you are publishing a free e-zine, it is good reason for a press release.

10. When you are offering or giving away free products, let your customers know through a press release.

After writing your press release, do the following:

1. Send your press release. There are many online press release distribution sources (some free and others charge a fee) that you can send your press release to. Be resourceful and search the internet to find the best one for you.

One is 24-7PressRelease.com offers free press release submission and distribution service providing customers with the choice to donate finances for a much higher detection, placement and recognition.

2. Wait. Check with the media and make sure your release is appearing on a certain that it is planned or scheduled. If it does appear in the newspaper, clip it and place it on your site; Newspaper clippings can also represent an endorsement.

3. Look how your traffic go sky high! Seat back and watch a big flow in your web siteís traffic.

Press releases are worth trying and pursuing, as long as one does it right. Take it into consideration and act on it, then success will not be far behind.

About the author: Daegan Smith the owner of Net MLM Articles and the leader of the fastest growing team of successful home business enterpernuers on the net. Find out how we're creating financial freedom all across the globe and how to get in on the action FREE => http://www.comlev.com

Make Your PR Budget Work Harder

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Make Your PR Budget Work Harder

Do it by restructuring your business, non-profit or association public relations program so that it delivers the stakeholder behavior changes you want. Changes that lead directly to achieving your objectives.

A good first step is to base the restructure on a reality like this: People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired -action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

Then, if you haven’t done so already, think about your important outside audiences and how their behaviors can help or hinder your organization. List them in order of damage severity, and let’s talk about #1 on the roster.

Obviously, before you decide how to deal with external audience perceptions and, thus, behaviors, it makes sense to find out what members of that target audience really think about your organization.

If you are not equipped with a budget to pay for professional survey work, you and your colleagues,have little choice but to interact with audience members and that means using penetrating questions – “What do you think of us? How much do you know about us? Have you ever had contact with our people? If so, was it a positive experience?” Stay alert to negativities, and watch closely for inaccuracies, misconceptions, and exaggerations.

The data you gather from such monitoring activity let’s you identify the most severe perception problem, then establish it as your corrective public relations goal. Which allows you to straighten out that misconception, correct that inaccuracy or deflate that exaggeration.

Your goal isn’t worth much by itself. It needs a buddy, and that buddy is a strategy that shows you what you must do to achieve the goal. Luckily, there are only three strategies to choose from when it comes to perceptions and opinions. Reinforce existing opinion, change it, or create perception where none exists. Here, by the way, you must take care that your chosen strategy fits naturally with your new goal.

Writing the message – especially one burdened with the job of altering perception – is never an easy job. In other words, it must change the opinion of a key target audience and that can be a challenging writing assignment.

All at the same time, the message must be persuasive and compelling. And to do that, it must be clear about what is to be altered and why. It must be truthful, of course, and believable if it is to move target audience perception towards your view. On occasion, you may wish to avoid the showcase effect of a separate news release leading you to either piggyback your message on another operating announcement, or deliver it live at one of your newsmaker special events or media interviews.

Since the message will do very little simply looking back at you from the word processor, you must round up your “beasts of burden” to carry your message to the right eyes and ears among your target audience. These are communications tactics and there are scores of them ready to help. They range from emails, speeches, and press releases to radio/newspaper interviews, newsletters, facility tours and many more. Only caution here is, make certain any communications tactics you use come with proof that they reaches folks similar to those in your target audience.

Questions will soon be raised as to whether your public relations effort is succeeding. Which will send you and your colleagues back into the field to question your target audience members once again.

Only this time, you’re on the lookout for change in the form of perceptions altered, and opinions modified in your direction, as you planned.

It’s also comforting to know that a lagging effort can be accelerated, and its impact increased, by adding more communications tactics to the mix. Further, their frequencies can be bumped up as well.

All of which increases the chances you will succeed in changing the behaviors of your key external audiences. Behavior change that you want and need, and that leads directly to achieving your primary operating objectives.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Managers Who Leave PR to Others

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Managers Who Leave PR to Others

You’re a business, non-profit or association manager who needs to achieve your organizational objectives on schedule. Since public relations should be helping you do just that, why leave it wholly in the hands of others?

In your own best interest, get personally involved in your public relations effort and ask the PR team servicing your department, division or subsidiary a few questions.

Are they focused on a workable, comprehensive plan for producing those key external audience behaviors like customers coming back for repeat purchases; new prospects starting to sniff around; capital donors asking for more information, and others deciding to specify your services or products, and similar good stuff?

Ask the PR folks how they feel about using the fundamental premise of public relations as a guide to the PR work they are doing for you. For that matter, what do you think about these two sentences? People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving- to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

The nice thing about that premise is that it shines the PR spotlight directly on those outside groups of people with a large say about how successful you’re going to be – namely, on your key external target audiences.

Then ask your PR team how they feel about using these tools to capture the perceptions, and thus behaviors of your most important outside audiences.

For example, do you and your PR people really know how your organization is perceived by those target audiences, and are you all really aware of the behaviors that flow from those perceptions?

Because that’s where the rubber meets the road – target audience behaviors that help or hinder you in achieving your operating objectives.

To find out what target audience members think about your organ- ization, you and your PR team must interact with them and ask a lot of questions. The alternative is to spend considerable money on professional survey work, but let’s assume that’s not really an alternative at this point in the budget cycle.

At any rate, we’re talking about questions like “What do you think of us? Have you had dealings with us? Were they satisfactory?” Stay alert to negativities such as misconceptions, inaccuracies, false assumptions and rumors.

With such data in hand, you’re ready to establish your public relations goal. Often, it can be expressed in a few words: clear up that misconception, correct that inaccuracy, or clarify that false assumption.

But no PR goal is ready for battle without a sound strategy to tell you how to reach it. In matters dealing with perception and opinion, there are just three strategies from which to choose: reinforce existing perception, create perception where there is none, or change it. A word here, make certain the strategy you choose is a good fit with your public relations goal.

Clearly, the most challenging aspect of the PR problem-solving sequence is preparing the message that will do the heavy lifting – altering individual perception within your target audience pop ulation. It can do so only if it’s both persuasive and compelling. As the PR team’s “client manager,” you must also be involved in message preparation. Is it clear as to what perception needs to be altered, and is your rationale believable and persuasive?

Next, hitch up your “beasts of burden,” the communications tactics you need to carry that message to the eyes and ears of your key target audience. Fortunately, you and your PR team have a long list of such tactics available ranging from press releases, media briefings, newsletters and facility tours to radio and newspaper interviews, brochures and face-to-face meetings. Just be sure that the tactics chosen have a record of actually reaching folks like those in your target audience, and that the budget can accommodate the type and frequency of communications tactics required to do the job.

Pretty quick-like, you will wonder just how much progress towards your public relations goal you are really making. Which is the signal to re-monitor perceptions of those members of your target audience. Same questions, but a new objective: watch closely for signs that perceptions are actually being altered.

You can always apply more pressure to the effort by adding new communications tactics to the battle, AND bumping up some of their frequencies.

By keeping a managerial eye on your public relations program – and satisfying yourself that it is focused on helping you achieve your operating objectives – you can be certain your PR dollars are being spent on that workable, comprehensive plan for producing those key audience behaviors that impact your operation the most.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks about the fundamental premise of public relations. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Successful Small Businesses Use PR

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Successful Small Businesses Use PR

It’s obvious when a small business has accepted the fact that its most important outside audiences need lots of care and feeding. They do something about it.

There’s a sense of urgency and a recognition that those “key target publics” have behaviors that really impact the business, and that they had BETTER do something about it!

What about you? Are you ready to follow the winners and get public relations working for your small business?

The payoff can be significant – key audience behaviors that directly support your business objectives and make the difference between failure and success.

But, as always, there’s some work connected to reaching that pot of gold, but it’s really worth the effort.

If you’re willing, begin by listing those most important outsiders in a priority ranking. Probably, customers and prospects will take #1 and #2 positions. But others rate a spot on that list depending on how crucial they are to the success of your business. In fact, an audience only makes the list if, left unattended, its perceptions and behaviors actually can hurt your business.

You’re at a disadvantage when you don’t know what those important external audiences think of you and your small business. And the only affordable way to find out is for you and your colleagues to talk to members of that key audience by interacting with them. Ask questions about what they think of you, your business and its products or services. Especially watch for any negativity, misconceptions, inaccuracies, wrong-headed beliefs, or rumors. And monitor local print and broadcast media, especially local talk shows and newspaper pages, for similarly negative signs.

The responses you gather help you set your public relations goal. For instance, correct that wrong-headed belief; fix that inaccuracy; or straighten-out that misconception. The goal, by the way, will also become your behavior modification marker against which progress can be tracked.

But how do you get there? You select a strategy from the three available to you: create perception/opinion where none may exist, change existing perception/opinion, or reinforce it. The public relations goal you just set will lead you directly to the right choice of strategies.

The message you send to your target audience is crucial, and writing it can be hard work because it must alter the negativity you found when you interviewed audience members.

Above all, it must be persuasive while clearly presenting the facts. It must be credible, believable and timely as it explains truthfully what is at issue at that moment. In short, your message must be compelling.

Getting that finished message to the right eyes and ears is your next challenge. And that means selecting the right communi- cations tactics, and you have dozens of them available to you. Speeches, press releases, emails, meetings, radio and newspaper interviews, action alerts, brochures, newsletters and so many others.

Before long, you’ll be looking for indications that your new public relations program is making progress.

After the communications effort has had six or eight weeks to take effect, it seems obvious that the best way to determine that is to go back to members of your key target audience, interact with them again and ask more questions. The difference this time, however, is that you are looking for signs that your carefully prepared message is really altering the negativity you discovered during your interviews with those target audience members. And once again, keep an eye and ear on local media for similar signs that your message has been heard.

If you’re anxious to speed up the process, boost the number and variety of the communications tactics you’re using, as well as their frequencies.

What you want is for your second monitoring go-around to show marked perception change which tells you clearly that the behaviors you really want are on the way.

In the PR business, that creates success.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks about the fundamental premise of public relations. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com

Underestimating the Power of In-house PR

Author: Carolyn Moncel

Underestimating the Power of In-house PR

by Carolyn Moncel Do small-business owners always have to rely on large PR agencies to get attention from the press? An entrepreneur recently asked me this question during a networking event for women business owners. Of course my answer was, ""No,"" but not for the reasons one might expect.

Ultimately, I do believe the time comes when a company needs professional guidance from a PR agency -- be it a large or small one -- to secure media coverage. But I also believe that a really media savvy small-business owner, or a two-person marketing team can do a fantastic job in promoting an organization. Here's how I know it can work.

A few years ago during the dot.com boom, I worked for a small online publishing company. We had a terrific technical team and staff, two great products, but no one knew the company existed. As a start-up, it was crucial for the company to gain awareness through media exposure because advertising was too expensive.

Since our marketing department only consisted of two people -- the marketing director and myself, there was a bit of concern within the organization as to whether we had enough in-house resources available to successfully get the company much-needed ink. So the company's executive team hatched an interesting plan. They offered our in-house marketing team the chance to bid on the company's PR project as if we were an outside agency.

My experience had always been in public relations, rather than product marketing. My boss' experience had always been the opposite. We seized the opportunity to combine our knowledge, skills and research.

Our tiny two-person team matched PR wits squarely against four established pros - including one former White House aide. Guess what? Our ideas prevailed, and the company decided to ditch the notion of hiring a big PR firm in favor of keeping the in-house team.

Before long we were generating some memorable press for our company. Over a two-year period we placed stories on our company in more than 100 media outlets - from MSNBC and Forbes to the Wall Street Journal and Wired News online. We did it by studying what the big PR agencies did well, and also by using our department's ""smallness"" to our advantage. Here's how you can do it, too.

Research your company.

Forget that you own or work within the organization. Really invest the time in understanding your company's structure, the executives and their backgrounds, the products and technology, the industry in which your company belongs, competitors and experts, and most of all the target audience -- the people who stand to benefit most from your product or service. If you know all of this information, then you'll be in a better position to brainstorm ideas on how to get the media's attention. Doing this also helps in flushing out your overall marketing plan -- which PR is only a part.

Research the reporters who cover your company's industry and study the types of stories that they like to write.

Learn their deadlines and how they prefer to be contacted. Introduce yourself by phone and make it a point to speak with them regularly -- not just to talk about your company, but also about the industry in general. Use those conversations to offer up source materials that will help reporters write terrific stories. If you are able to do this successfully, you will become a trusted source that reporters return to repeatedly, and you will significantly increase your chances of gaining coverage for your company.

Always Return Media Phone Calls Immediately.

Keep yourself and your organization at the ready to receive phone calls from the press. Make sure that reporters know how to reach you in a 24-hour cycle. This means they should have your office, cell, home, and pager numbers, as well as a contact e-mail address. If you still happen to miss the call, return it ASAP. Always prepare yourself or members from your organization to conduct interviews from anywhere, at any time.

Conduct proper follow up after the interview.

This is not a call to find out when a story will be published, but rather a call to make sure that the reporters have everything they need in order to write a favorable story on your organization.

Whenever our company executives were interviewed by reporters, one team member would always accompany them to the interview to take careful notes. Alternately, the other team member would remain in the office on standby. If, during the interview, the reporter indicated a need for specific information, an urgent message would be relayed back to the office so that the team member had time to gather the information. Without fail, we always had the requested information waiting in the reporter's e-mail inbox before they arrived back to the office. This may seem like a small task, but getting it right could really decide whether or not a reporter selects your story, or moves on to a new one.

The important point to remember here is this. Never underestimate the power and dedication of your in-house staff. Before you make the investment in retaining a PR agency, look at your internal talent first. What you find just might surprise you, and their drive to succeed will become contagious throughout your entire organization. And when the time comes to hire a PR firm, you will have a ready-made collaborative team in place to work with your outside agency. Your in-house team knows your company better than anyone and that's where you, as a small-business owner, have an advantage over the ""big boys"" at the large PR agencies in getting the media's attention.

About the author: Carolyn Davenport-Moncel is president and founder of Mondave Communications, a global marketing and communications firm based in Chicago and Paris, and a subsidiary of MotionTemps, LLC. Contact her at carolyn@motiontemps.com or by phone in the United States at 877.815.0167 or 011.331.4997.9059 in France.

If Your PR Can't Do This, Bag It!

Author: Robert A. Kelly

If Your PR Can’t Do This, Bag It!

As a business, non-profit or association manager, why continue a public relations effort that doesn’t deliver the key external audience behaviors you need to achieve your department, division or subsidiary objectives?

Time for a change. One that will base your PR effort on a fundamental premise that makes sense. And one that actually leads to outside audience behaviors like these: new proposals for joint ventures or strategic alliances, prospective buyers browsing your services or products, specifying sources or major donors thinking about you, more frequent repeat purchases or a substantial boost in capital donations.

So, you need two things. One, a really personal involvement with the public relations people assigned to your department, division or subsidiary. And two, a new foundation for your PR effort.

A foundation like this: People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

It will give you a blueprint that will help you persuade your key stakeholders to your way of thinking. In turn, that should move them to take actions that lead to your success as a business, non-profit or association manager.

First and foremost, you need to know how members of your most important external audiences perceive you because those perceptions usually lead to behaviors that can hurt you or help you in achieving your objectives.

So, you and your PR team must list those outside audiences whose behaviors affect your unit the most. Then put them in priority order. We’ll use #1 on your list as our target in this article.

Now, you can spend some real money on professional survey counsel, or you and your PR team can do it yourself by interacting with your target audience. Use questions like these to identify opinion, perception problems. “What do you know about our organization? Have you had any kind of contact with us? Was it satis- factory? Do you like our products or services?”

Listen carefully to the responses you receive. Stay alert for evasive or hesitant answers, and be watchful for negativity – especially inaccuracies, exaggerations, misconceptions or rumor.

These answers are your red meat, the input you need to create the public relations goal. For example, clear up a misconception, kill that rumor once and for all, or fix that inaccuracy. Each of which can lead to target audience behaviors you won’t like one little bit.

Reaching that goal is another story. You need a strategy to do it and you have just three choices as you deal with your opinion/perception challenge: create perception where there may be none, change existing opinion, or reinforce it. But take care when you identify your strategy that it compliments your goal.

The heavy lifting in your public relations problem solving sequence will be done by the message you prepare designed to correct the negative perception you identified during your perception monitoring session. You must be very clear about the offending perception, particularly why it is untrue. Remember that you want to change what people believe and, thus, their behaviors so that you can achieve your unit’s objectives. Which is why the message must be both believable and compelling.

Getting the message from your organization to the attention of members of your target audience is your next challenge. Luckily, there is a long list of communications tactics standing ready to help you do just that. They range from media interviews, personal meetings and speeches to press releases, newsletters, facility tours and many more. But check carefully that the tactics you employ have a proven record of reaching people similar to those who make up your target audience.

Inevitably, questions will be asked as to whether all this smoke and flame is producing any results. A question that can only be answered back out in the field interacting once again with members of your key outside audience.

While you’ll be using the same questions used during your first opinion monitoring drill, this time you’re looking for indications that the hurtful perceptions are actually changing, as will the inevitable follow on behaviors.

Incidentally, you can always put the pedal to the metal with additional communications tactics, as well as using them more frequently.

What you have, finally, is the blueprint you need to help persuade your most important stakeholders to take actions that lead to your success as a business, a non-profit or an association manager.

And your cost was “bagging” a PR effort that simply couldn’t deliver the key external audience behaviors you need to achieve your unit objectives.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Managers, Start Your PR

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Managers, Start Your PR

There’ll never be a better time for a manager working for a business, non-profit or association to ask this question: “Am I getting the public relations results I’m paying for -- the really important external audience behaviors I need to achieve my department, division or subsidiary objectives?”

If the answer is no, better get busy and rebuild that public relations engine.

Best place to look for an answer to your question is the foundation on which your public relations effort is based. Are the PR people assigned to your unit guided by solid fundamentals rather than mechanics like special events and communications tactics?

Do they really believe that people act on their own perception of the facts before them, leading to predictable behaviors about which something can be done? And do they believe that when we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished?

Because that kind of foundation is just what you may need to help persuade those important stakeholders to your way of thinking. And leading directly to results such as new waves of prospects, expanded community support, large, new capital donations, higher employee retention numbers, new engineering firms specifying your components, a boost in membership applications, or a welcome increase in repeat purchases.

I have noticed, however, a tendency for managers to set down the rules of engagement, then let things bump along under somebody else. That’s not going to work with your public relations restart. You MUST get personally involved with the PR professionals managing your public relations program because they will be dealing with the very stakeholders whose behaviors will help determine whether you succeed or fail in your job. And that should be an incentive.

Here’s another reason to keep a keen eye on the effort. Chances are that is that this kind of PR restart will be a dramatic departure for your public relations staffers, thus requiring your oversight of decisions affecting both thematics and tactical deployment.

For example, you must stay involved as they list those key external audiences of yours whose behaviors affect your unit the most. And again when they prioritize those audiences so that your public relations restart planning begins with the target audience YOU believe is #1.

The success of the program will depend on how efficiently you and your PR staffers gather certain data. Namely, how members of that key target audience, whose behaviors affect your unit’s success or failure, really perceive you.

Your team must interact with members of that audience, and monitor their perceptions of your organization by asking questions like “Do you know anything about our organization? Have you ever had contact with our people? Was it a satisfactory experience? How familiar are you with our services or products?,” and so forth.

Make sure that you and your staff remain sensitive to hesitant or evasive responses, and especially to negative comments. And stay alert for misconceptions, untruths, false assumptions, inaccuracies and rumors. These problem areas will need correction because experience shows they lead to negative behaviors.

Now, your team must select what needs correction the most, thus establishing your public relations goal. For example, perception alterations like correcting that damaging inaccuracy, straightening out that unfortunate misconception, or neutralizing that hurtful rumor.

But how will you reach that goal? In the same way you approach any operating problem – select the right strategy, one that shows you how to reach your public relations goal. However, when it comes to opinion and perception problems, you have just three strategy choices: create perception where there may be none, reinforce an existing perception, or change the offending opinion/perception. Just be certain the strategy you select is a good fit with your PR goal. Obviously, you would not use the “reinforce it” strategy option when your goal is to kill a damaging rumor.

Now, some writing talent is needed to prepare the message you will use to alter that key target audience’s perception. The message must be clear and persuasive if it is to nudge perception or opinion in your direction, and lead directly to the behaviors you desire.

Much like the military when they call in artillery fire during combat, you must employ your communications tactics in a way that insures that your message reaches those members of your target audience.

Fortunately, you have a wide choice of communications tactics such as audience briefings, news releases, speeches, radio and newspaper interviews, special events, personal contacts, and many others. You do want to be sure that the tactics you select have a proven track record for reaching people just like the members of your target audience.

While a budget sufficient to employ professional survey counsel would be very nice, the fact remains that you and your PR team can once again monitor perceptions among members of your target audience by asking the very same questions used during the earlier monitoring session.

The difference now is that you will watch carefully for signs that your message and communications tactics have moved audience perception in your direction.

If things need to move faster, you always have the option of adding new tactics to the fray as well as increasing their frequencies. Also advisable, another check of your message for impact and factual accuracy.

By this time, you will have created a public relations program certain to reassure you that you are now getting the key stakeholder behaviors you need to help achieve your department, division or subsidiary objectives.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

The Best PR Has to Offer Managers

Author: Robert A. Kelly

The Best PR Has to Offer Managers

How cool is this? You’re a business, non-profit or association manager. You decide to get serious about your public relations and shift the spotlight away from communications tactics. You implement an action blueprint that (1), helps you persuade your key external stakeholders to your way of thinking. And then (2), helps move them to take actions that lead to your success as a department, division or subsidiary manager.

It comes into sharper focus when that public relations blueprint helps deliver target audience behaviors like new waves of prospects buzzing around, more qualified calls about strategic alliances, a jump up in repeat purchases, a boost in the number of engineering consultants specifying your products or services, and even increased membership applications and contributions.

What is that blueprint, anyway? Try this: People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

As I’ve said many times in the past about that fundamental premise of public relations, it shines the PR spotlight directly on those outside groups of people with a large say about how successful a manager is going to be – namely, it targets his or her most important external audiences.

But you need the PR folks assigned to your unit to buy into the program and shift their priorities from communications tactics to a workable, comprehensive plan like this one designed to deliver those key, outside audience behaviors.

Behaviors, by the way, that obviously help or hinder a manager in achieving his or her operating objectives.

The real work for you as the department, division or subsidiary manager starts by listing all your key external audiences in priority order so that you initially focus your resources on that number one audience.

Next step is answering the question, what do members of that audience think about your organization? Short of spending big money on professional survey counsel, you and your PR team can/should/must interact with those members by asking questions such as “What, if anything, do you think about us? Have you ever dealt with our people? Were you pleased with the experience? Have you heard other comments about our organization?”

At each step in this perception monitoring drill, you and your team must watch carefully for negatives like false assumptions, rumors, misconceptions and inaccurate statements. In other words, negativities that might turn into target audience behaviors that could really damage your operation.

The monitoring data you collect is the stuff of your public relations goal. For example, stifle the rumor, straighten out the misconception, turn around the false assumption, or make that inaccuracy accurate.

However, managers know that achieving any goal demands the right supporting strategy to show you how to reach it. Considering the workload, you’ll be glad to know that opinion/ perception matters allow just three strategy choices: create perception where there isn’t any, change existing perception, or reinforce it. But be alert to the need to select a strategy that directly complements your public relations goal.

The real burden of this PR problem solving sequence rests with the actual message you use to communicate your corrective facts to your target audience. This is where the public relations heavy lifting takes aim at altering individual perception among your target audience population.

First and foremost, your message must be clear, persuasive and carefully factual if it is to nudge perception/opinion in your direction and lead directly to those behaviors you desire. And it will do so only if your message is both believable and compelling. Which suggests that it be vetted prior to release by a variety of individuals to insure that it measures up to these standards.

You’re in luck because you will benefit from a long list of communications tactics to help carry your message to the eyes and ears of members of your target audience. The list includes tactics like speeches, special events, media interviews and newsletters as well as press releases, customer briefings, facility tours, emails and quite a few others. Only caution here is, research each tactic carefully to be certain it has a record of reaching people just like those who make up your target audience.

Fortunately, things can always be accelerated by adding more high- impact communications tactics, increasing their frequencies and fine-tuning your message.

Answering the opening question, using a public relations blueprint of this nature can be extremely “cool.” Especially when you, as a unit manager for a business, non-profit or association, take these steps to help persuade your key outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then help move them to take actions that lead to your managerial success.

In my view, that IS the best PR has to offer managers.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Incredible power of the press release service

Author: Peter Finers

However large your company might be whatever niche of the market it operates in and whatever services or products it provides, it should always stay in touch with the public. Even if the company has large pool of steadfast and reliable customers, it nevertheless bound from time to time to inform them about the latest developments in the company. Nowadays people tend to regard advertisement as oversimplified and exaggerated statement. Only few of them really believe in the text they see on the billboards. How their trust, their confidence can be won? What measures should be taken by the company to gain their attention?

The answer is simple-the company should cre ate press release . A press release is a short (usually not more than one page) informative letter that provides the reader with information on the latest newsworthy developments in your company. It must contain your address as well as the name of the company; the first paragraph of the press release should answer several questions, the most important of which are what, where, when. By creating press releases the company can gain the attention of mass media representatives. Journalists, correspondents, editors and commentators are trusted; the public is inclined to listen to their points of view as people hold the belief that they express independent and impartial opinions. However, wr iting press release is not composing another advertisement; rather one should focus on some newsworthy event that should be revealed to the public. If you have written and composed press release and it looks more like an advertisement try to rewrite it until it looks like an informative article in the newspaper, magazine or scientific journal.

What can be gained by this? Even as the companies frequently write and publish press releases only few people in my experience really understand the benefits of the pres releases. By publishing them you get the maximum exposure of you company. Wherever advertisement might cost you much energy, skills and certainly money, the writing of the press releases is one of the most effective, custom-oriented and cost-effective marketing tools. Even the giants of the business publish press releases from time to time, and it imperative for the new starters to get maximum possible exposure for their businesses. One should remember that it is extremely difficult to survive in today's highly competitive and ever-changing environment without it.

Killer-Content.com - Web copywriting services

About the author: Peter Finers is a senior copywriter at Killer-Content.com He has several years of experience as copywriter and has completed several important projects for different companies.

Not Getting the PR Results You Want?

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Not Getting the PR Results You Want?

The reason might be this simple: as a business, non-profit or association manager, you’re too focused on communi- cations tactics and not on a workable blueprint for dealing with those important outside audiences whose behaviors most affect your department, division or subsidiary.

If this sounds familiar, the blueprint I refer to provides the tools required to persuade those key external stakeholders to your way of thinking. Then, hopefully, move them to take actions that lead to your success.

A blueprint, say, like this one: people act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

And, by the way, this is a blueprint that can produce behaviors such as more prospects interested in your services or products, more proposals for joint ventures and strategic alliances, more frequent repeat purchases, or fresh, new capital contributions and membership applications.

If this is something you wish to pursue, the next move is yours. For example, take the time to enlist those public relations people assigned to your unit in a brand-new push to find out once and for all what those outside audiences – those with behaviors that actually affect your organization – really think about you.

That’s where the rubber meets the road because target audience perceptions inevitably lead to behaviors that will either hinder or help you in reaching your objectives.

So, let’s assume you and your PR team decide to prioritize your outside audiences, then monitor the perceptions of members of the #1 target audience on your list.

Here’s the first “fork in the road.” You can use your PR professionals – who after all are in the perception and behavior business – to interact with target audience members by asking a lot of questions. For instance, “What do you know about us? Have you ever had dealings with our organization? Was it, or they, satisfactory?”

Or, if you have access to an ample budget, you can engage the services of a professional survey firm to handle the perception monitoring chore for you. Keep in mind, however, that this activity is central to the success of a public relations effort.

Either way, the data assembled by this drill is the raw material used to create your public relations goal. And that goal might call for clearing up a troublesome misconception, fixing a serious inaccuracy or killing that budding rumor dead as a doornail.

But reaching that goal is another story. You need a strategy to show you the way, and when it comes to perceptions and opinion, there are only three strategies from which to choose: change existing opinion/perception, create it where none exists, or reinforce the perception. Trick is, be certain the strategy you select is a natural fit with your new public relations goal. For example, if you discovered a really negative perception among members of your target audience, you certainly wouldn’t choose the “reinforce” strategy.

But the real “beast of burden” in this PR problem solving sequence is the message you will use to alter the offending perception you turned up during your audience monitoring drill. This is one message that must be very well written, clear as crystal, and supported by compelling and believable facts if it is to alter what some of your target audience members believe. In this way, the message can nudge perception in your direction, lead to the behaviors you have in mind, and help you achieve your unit objectives.

Final challenge? Get that message to the eyes and ears of members of your target audience. And that means selecting and employing the right communications tactics from the wide choice available to you. You can use personal contacts, special events, media interviews and speeches. Or, you might select from among news announcements, facility tours, newsletters, brochures, audience briefings and so many others. But be certain that the tactics you choose have a record of reaching people like the members of your target audience.

Soon, however, questions will be asked as to how the new public relations effort is faring. In other words, “Are we getting the PR results we want?”

A fair question and one that can be fairly answered by returning to the field for a follow up monitoring session. Once again, you as the manager, and/or your PR support staff, must ask questions similar to those you asked during your earlier benchmark perception monitoring session.

The difference now? You want to see evidence that your perception monitoring, your public relations goal and strategy as well as your carefully crafted corrective message and communications tactics have actually altered the offending perception as you planned.

Should results not come fast enough, additional communications tactics can be added, and their frequencies increased.

Bottom line: as the department, division or subsidiary manager for a business, non-profit or association, if the primary focus of your public relations effort is tactics, you are well-advised to make a shift in favor of this kind of workable PR blueprint that gives you the best chance of achieving your unit’s operating objectives.

end

Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

About the author: None

PubliCity Outside Your City: Outsourcing For More Affordable PR Services

Author: Todd Brabender

We all know that the Internet has taken away geographic boundaries in the business world. The accessibility and expansiveness of the Internet allows the entrepreneur/business owner anywhere in North America to search outside his local yellow pages for the best and most affordable services available. This is especially true when it comes to finding PR/publicity services for your business. What it boils down to is . the Inter'net can mean a 'net savings in your publicity budget.

A few months back, I got an email from a California client who discovered that the local part-time freelance publicity specialist he had hired was charging three times the amount I charge and providing half the services I offered. Because of that, the client hired me to work with the freelancer in heading up this nationwide campaign launch. The freelancer told me that because of West coast cost of living/overhead, he was forced to charge the higher fees -- surprisingly, he was one of the cheapest publicity pros in that area! I have heard stories like this time and time again from clients who hit the 'net in search of a cheaper alternative to PR services listed in their local directory.

That fact was drilled home to me even more when I recently took a detailed look at my portfolio of clients. I was surprised to learn that over the last few years more than 40% of my clients for my Midwest-based PR business have come from the West coast, another 25% from the East coast and 10% from Canada. A quick e-mail polling of clients revealed the same story over and over. They simply found it hard to locate professional, affordable PR services in their area, so they turned to the Internet to find it.

Frankly, for publicity campaigns restricted to your city/region, I recommend going with a local PR specialist/firm. They typically know the local media market best and have solid media contacts there. But for a national or industry rade specific publicity campaign for your product/business, explore the possibility of hiring a PR individual or team outside your geographic area -- especially if your product has nationwide appeal. One client remarked that he liked how our campaign brought a Midwest feel to his East coast-based business and helped him open up potential new business avenues. Another client said he looked to outsource to a small to mid-sized city PR business because, as he put it, ""No matter the size of the office, West coast PR firms seemed very plastic and glitzy, while the East coast firms seemed to be too hectic, almost frantic."" That may indeed be a huge generalization on his part, because I'm certain there are wonderfully professional PR businesses in almost every city.

Be advised -- mechanically, most PR agencies do basically the same thing. Sure each firm/office/freelancer has their strong points. The major difference lies with the respective creativity, ingenuity and professionalism of the PR individual or staff. Don't take this to mean that ""cheaper is better"" - there is certainly something to be said for the phrase ""you get what you pay for"". Just don't pay three, four or even ten times as much to get you the same amount of quality. Look for a firm that can give you an entire campaign from start to finish -- release/kit, media market research, media contacts, large-scale media distribution, media tracking/clipping -- not just a $100 - $500 release distribution.

Take to the 'net and see what you can find. Above all, ask for references, writing samples, publicity placement history -- where they have generated publicity for past clients. Make sure they are technologically advanced enough to get timely, high-quality publicity information to media outlets all over the nation that benefits your business. Look for a PR service with a broad range of media contacts in multiple formats (print, broadcast & Internet) and strong media tracking capabilities. Some PR pros promise to pitch your campaign to hundreds of magazines and newspapers when your strongest media market may be in radio/TV shows & newscasts -- or vice versa.

I am not reinventing the PR wheel here, I am simply saying that when it comes to generating publicity for your business/website/venture/invention, the best match for you may not be in the big glass building in your city's downtown. Big firms in big cities most often mean big fees and not necessarily big quality.

Bottom line -- the Internet is giving entrepreneurs of all types the opportunity to afford publicity -- publicity from outside your city.

Todd F. Brabender Spread The News Public Relations Generating publicity/media exposure for innovative businesses, products, inventions & experts. http://www.SpreadTheNewsPR.com info@SpreadTheNewsPR.com

About the author: Todd Brabender is the President of Spread The News Public Relations, Inc. His business specializes in generating publicity/media exposure for innovative businesses, products, inventions & experts. http://www.SpreadTheNewsPR.com info@SpreadTheNewsPR.com

The PR Rainmaker Always Has a Plan B

Author: Rusty Cawley

PR Rainmakers know they can do everything right, and still fail to make news.

It is a fact of life. Accept it now.

All news is affected by whatever else happened that day. All news is relative.

Newspapers have only so many columns to fill. The TV news has only so many minutes to devote. Even Web sites have only so many slots to fill with news of the day.

Even on a slow news day, more copy is thrown away than is ever used. More emails are deleted than followed. More faxes are trashed than considered.

There is also a hierarchy to news, especially in the mainstream media. Breaking news will supplant soft news, such as features and analyses. News of broad interest will supplant news of specific interest; for example, a tornado that wipes out your downtown area will likely push a suburban school board meeting to the back pages, if not out of newspaper entirely.

You can arrange the most visual, most intriguing media event possible. But if City Hall is burning down at the same time as your event, then that is where the news cameras are going to go. The news demands it.

We all know what happened on Sept. 11, 2001: Two passenger jets slammed into the World Trade Center, while a third crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth was forced to the ground in a Pennsylvania field.

Just think how many important and interesting news events were chased out of the news media on Sept. 11 and during the weeks that followed – not to mention all of the soft news features and media events that were canceled.

So how do PR Rainmakers handle this reality? By leaving nothing to chance.

In others words: Always have a Plan B.

Keep the time window for your media event as open as long as is reasonably possible. If you arrange for a media event to last only one hour, then you severely limit the media’s ability to attend. You may force the media to choose between your event and breaking news. If you force that choice, you will lose. Keep the window open for at least three hours. If the participants (such as the CEO), balk at this idea, ask them bluntly: “How badly do you want to be in the news?” The media are in control of whether you get coverage, not you.

Choose a time that will work best for the news media. Generally, the best time for any event is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. These are the times when the news media have the most resources available to cover events. These windows also give the reporters plenty of time to meet their deadlines.

Have your own video crew on standby. Almost any city will have a company that provides video services for a variety of needs. Arrange to have a crew on standby, ready to step into the situation if breaking news draws the media away. Your crewmembers can shoot video and audio of the event, just as if they were the news media. They can then edit the raw footage into what is known as a “B roll,” which is a videotape of event highlights that you can provide to the local media. You must move quickly. Shoot the footage, prepare the B roll and get it to the TV stations on deadline. You cannot wait for tomorrow.

Be prepared to move to another date. When designing a media event, be sure to compare the event date with other events around the city. Avoid conflicts whenever possible. Monitor the news media as your event approaches. Have a back-up date in mind, in case other events threaten to eclipse your own. And if the newsworthiness of your event is threatened, especially by breaking news, do not hesitate to make the change.

PR Rainmakers understand and accept they are not fully in control. They know the daily news is driven by immediate events, not by advanced planning.

The only insurance policy is a sound Plan B.

Copyright 2003 by W.O. Cawley Jr.

About the author: Rusty Cawley is a 20-year veteran journalist who now coaches executives, entrepreneurs and professionals on using the news media to attract customers and to advance ideas. For more free articles and e-books, visit the Free University of Public Relations at www.rustycawley.com.

Why Small Business Must Turn to PR

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Why Small Business Must Turn to PR

If small business had no important outside audiences, it wouldn’t exist.

But since they do have external “publics,” it’s doubly unfortunate when those same small business owners seem unconcerned about the very outside folks whose behaviors can place a choke-hold on their business!

And worse, are so casual about public relations, the best way to move those behaviors in their direction.

Is that you? What’s the problem? Can you think of any other way to marshall those groups of people you need so badly if your business is to succeed?

Face it. You must turn to public relations if you are really serious about getting those important outside people to support what you are trying to do.

And the best part is, there’s no mystery about how to do it!

Start today by listing your important outside audiences in priority order. No doubt, customers and prospects will place #1 and #2. But think carefully about your local and trade media as well as community residents and leaders, suppliers and the like. The test for adding an external audience to your worry list is this: if left unattended, could its perceptions and behaviors hurt your business?

Since there is no other affordable way to find out how each of your target audiences perceive your business, products, services and operations, you must take the time to do it yourself along with your colleagues. Interact with members of that key target audience and probe their perceptions with plenty of questions. Watch for misconceptions, inaccuracies and rumors that need to be corrected. Stay alert to negativity of any kind.

This will let you decide how much you will try to alter perceptions among each audience. It also becomes the behavior modification goal against which you will measure your progress.

Now it’s message time. What will you say to members of your target audience to alter that negative perception that surfaced during your conversations with them? Your message must be persuasive, so stick with the facts and present them clearly. By identifying honestly what is really at issue at the moment, you impart a sense of credibility to your comments, and their timeliness adds a compelling dimension to your message.

What’s the best way to get that message to the eyes and ears of members of your target audience?

Here, you have an embarrassment of riches with dozens of communications tactics including news announcements, op-eds, letters-to-the-editor, speeches, community briefings, broadcast and newspaper interviews and many, many others.

Progress can best be tracked by interacting all over again with members of the target audience. While you’ll ask questions similar to those you asked in your earlier monitoring sessions, this time you’re looking for signs that your message got through. In other words, signs that your message succeeded in altering any negative perceptions of your business.

You should also monitor print and broadcast media, key customers and prospects for similar indications of success.

Should progress not be fast enough for you, you’ll want to consider increasing the number of communications tactics you employ as well as the frequency of their use. Your message should also be re-evaluated for its factual basis and clarity.

Gradually, your monitoring will playback perception changes among that target audience, and that means the behaviors you seek will not be far behind.

It is this kind of success that tells us very clearly why small business must turn to PR if it is to realize its potential.

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About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks about the fundamental premise of public relations. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ignore PR at Your Peril!

Author: Robert A. Kelly

If you do, it means:

1. you don’t value tracking the perceptions of important outside audiences whose behaviors could sink your ship:

2. you don’t care about setting a public relations goal designed to correct misconceptions, inaccuracies or rumors that can hurt you;

3. you care even less about strategies to get you from here to that PR goal you already don’t care about;

4. and you certainly don’t value the persuasive messages you need to convince your key outside audiences that their damaging perceptions of your enterprise are dead wrong.

Man, that’s risky and an awful lot not to care about!

Actually, I don’t believe you don’t care, and I don’t believe you’re really ignoring public relations. If you were, by now your organization would be on its last legs, Kaput!, Morto!

In fact, you may be a closet PR person who knows better. Why you may even buy the fundamental premise of public relations:

“People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action those people whose behaviors affect the organization, the public relations mission is accomplished.”

I’ll bet you’re also pretty darn good at monitoring what that #1 external audience thinks about you and your organization. And that you regularly interact with them asking questions like What do you think of us? Why? while watching for negative undertones, wrong-headed beliefs or misconceptions.

And that means you’ll be anxious to create a public relations goal that corrects such misconceptions because they can lead directly to negative behaviors that will hurt you.

In practice, your goal may be focused on pacifying an activist group, reinforcing prospect interest in your product or service, or even countering a painful rumor.

You’re probably ahead of me in forming the strategy you need to reach that goal. For better or worse, there are only three ways to deal with opinion or perception problems. Create some all-new opinion where none exists, change existing opinion, or reinforce it.

With goal and strategy both in hand, you now have some real work to do. What will you need to say to your key audience members to persuade them to your way of thinking? You must be clear about what should be corrected or clarified. You must also be persuasive, and your facts and figures believable. And if appropriate, try to be compelling, perhaps with a certain sense of urgency.

Your “foot soldiers” – communications tactics – can now carry that hard-won message to the attention of your #1 target audience, and there are scads of them just waiting for you to send them into action. For example, speeches, news releases, brochures, special events, radio interviews and one-on-one meetings.

One question remains. How do you tell whether or not you are making any headway with your public relations effort?

You again interact with members of that key audience of yours. And yes, with questions very similar to those you asked during your original information gathering exercise at the start of the program. Only this time, you are more interested in whether your communications tactics have moved perceptions in your direction.

Do the new responses show signs that your were successful in changing that inaccurate belief? Or correcting that misconception? Or killing that dangerous rumor for good?

Not enough movement? Take another look at your message to see if it is really compelling. Is it honestly persuasive? Are your facts supportive of your goal and strategy? Is it written clearly enough?

I want to reemphasize that what you are looking for at this stage is a strong indication that your efforts have clearly moved perceptions and target audience behaviors in the desired direction.

When this second monitoring drill allows that conclusion, you will have good reason to value highly your public relations goal, strategy, message and communications tactics.

Together, they will have made it possible for you to say, as promised in the fundamental premise,“My public relations mission is accomplished.”

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks about the fundamental premise of public relations. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com