Thursday, August 31, 2006

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

Dean Schmidt Drives Manufacturing Association PR Program

Author: Thomas Cutler

Manufacturer neglect, prompted the development and launch of the intensive Manufacturing PR Media Blitz' program, a 90—day program allowing even very small manufacturers to tiptoe into the public relations arena driving quantifiable and measurable impacts.

""Manufacturers spent the past fifteen years becoming lean, efficient, and highly competitive while completely ignoring their marketing and public relations efforts,"" according to Thomas R. Cutler, the nation's leading manufacturing journalist and CEO of TR Cutler, Inc. (www.trcutlerinc.com) based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

According to Dean Schmidt, Vice President of the Affinity Program for TR Cutler, Inc., ""We had to find a way for manufacturers to rapidly experience ROI from an aggressive PR campaign. 45 press releases in 90 days generates extraordinary traffic to manufacturers' websites and optimizes search engine rankings."" Schmidt acknowledged that new website traffic from potential customers often helps to quickly identify missing ""call-to-action"" messages and results in revised or updated websites.

Schmidt also noted, ""With almost nine out of ten manufacturers employing less than fifty employees, tight margins, global competitiveness, and enticing spending alternatives, PR is often relegated to the ""back burner.""

Cutler developed the PR Advantage Affinity program for manufacturing associations' members. TR Cutler suggested that, ""Due to our leadership role in the manufacturing public relations arena, we have decided to introduce a program that will allow manufacturing associations to offer their members deeply discounted PR services starting in September 2005. There is no cost for the manufacturing associations to participate in the program and offer these deeply discounted PR services to their members.""

In early Q3, Cutler conducted the largest North American manufacturer survey about anticipated marketing budgets in 2006. Statistically significant findings indicated that nearly two-thirds (64%) of the manufacturers surveyed anticipate a dramatic increase in PR budgets of 50% above 2005 levels; travel, print advertising, tradeshow exhibiting, and direct mail each revealed a 30% decrease in 2006 marketing versus 2005.

TR Cutler 954-486-7562 www.trcutlerinc.com trcutler@trcutlerinc.com

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About the author: Professional Marketing Firm

Are PR and Marketing Key To Yahoo!'s Future?

Author: YahooSupporter

Is PR and Marketing the Key to Yahoo!'s Future? Today, there is news that Google is ""testing"" its ebay-like auctions and it may soon release an electronic wallet.

Anyone who knows anything about Yahoo! knows that they implemented ebay-like auctions years ago (see http://auctions.yahoo.com), and have had an electronic wallet for years also (see http://wallet.yahoo.com).

Both of these products are FULLY tested, as are all Yahoo! products, by very very experienced software engineers, with excellent software engineering / QA skills, so that bugs are very rarely introduced into the ""live"" system - i.e. Yahoo! customers very rarely find bugs - Yahoo! employees find them first, before the software is made public. The wallet is highly secure and extremely reliable, and the auctions work spectacularly well and it is possible to purchase products often more cheaply than is possible on Ebay. The only fault with the Yahoo! versions of these products is that they have not been marketed fiercely enough - very few web users even know they exist!

Contrast this with Google, which appears to leave most of its products in ""beta"" mode forever, so that when their customers find bugs, they can use the excuse that the reason there are still bugs is because the product is a beta product.

My guess (though I cannot prove this, my experience in the software industry tells me that this is true) is that the real reason is because Google software teams hack together solutions very quickly to meet customer demand and that full software engineering and QA are not something that Google takes as seriously as does Yahoo!

This story is very similar to all the ""new"" products that Google comes up with..

Of course, everyone knows that Yahoo! Search (http://search.yahoo.com) was around long before Google gurgled its first goo. Unlike Google's search (with its so called ""Florida update"", and other accidental and/or catastrophic reorganizations of the search engine ranking criteria), Yahoo! has never upset its SEO audience by keeping its ranking algorithm secret, changing it drastically without warning, or accidentally changing it.. This is because all Yahoo! changes to the search engine (as is the case with all Yahoo! software) undergo Testing and Change Management (basic principles of software engineering that ensures that unexpected changes do not appear on the live web site). For some reason, publicity about Google's severe mistakes in this area rarely hit the news stands and TV news, despite the fact that it cost lots of businesses a great deal of money! Likewise, Yahoo!'s sterling record in search ranking is rarely publicized in contrast to the Google flakiness.

Google Groups was implemented years after Yahoo! Groups (at http://groups.yahoo.com) - Google Groups is still in beta, years after it bought the newsgroups and software running them from Deja (Google has not changed it much since buying the ready made software and content from Deja, and for a long time after they bought it, much of it was read-only, rendering it almost totally useless during that time period).

Google Desktop search came after Yahoo! Desktop search (see http://desktop.yahoo.com) too (and - oh yes - it is still in beta).

Google's shopping search service, Froogle, came a long time after Yahoo! Shopping (see http://shopping.yahoo.com). The Yahoo! product is vastly superior also, with lots of very useful content to aid in shopping decisions, comparison tools, rating and review facilities etc.

Google News came a long time after Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com) and, of course, it is still in beta! And, many would argue, is still inferior in many ways, to the Yahoo! offering - in terms of the diversity of news feeds on offer, the layout, and other factors.

Google Maps came along years after Yahoo! Maps (http://maps.yahoo.com), and is not only still in beta, it is full of little bugs which I, for one, find very annoying! Although there are some nice gimmicks in Google Maps (you can drag maps around), often such gimmicks are not what the user actually wants to do when using a map (I want to double-click and drill down on an area, like I can in Yahoo! Maps!), and other gimmicks, that would be useful, dont work - e.g it is easy to implement maps into other websites thanks to an open programming api - but that api often fails due to programming errors.

Gmail, likewise, has some nice gimmicks (some of which the user may actually want/need) but is full of bugs, is still in beta, and comes years after Yahoo! Mail (http://mail.yahoo.com) was well established. Yet Gmail got huge publicity because Google offered huge amounts of storage space as part of the deal for those signing up to the service (Yahoo! had, for a long time, offered a great amount of free space to its customers, - unlimited storage space on Yahoo! Photos (http://photos.yahoo.com), a 50Mb of free webspace courtesy of Geocities (http://geocities.yahoo.com), various amounts of free storage space for Yahoo! Briefcase (http://briefcase.yahoo.com) users, Yahoo! Notepad (http://notepad.yahoo.com) users and various amounts of space within many other facilities, all of which were fully integrated with Yahoo! Mail (http://mail.yahoo.com), helping users to organize their information more usefully (whereas Google's space is all contained within mail, creating a mass of different types of information all stored in the same application, making it very difficult to organize, search or make use of) - and yet Google publicity suggested it was the first to offer so much free storage space. Maddeningly, in response, Yahoo! simply expanded the amount of free storage space associated directly with Yahoo! Mail accounts and kept quiet about its other offerings, and the benefits of organizing information in the way facilitated by Yahoo! offerings.

Google Toolbar is another idea that Yahoo! (http://toolbar.yahoo.com) had before Google, though it is one of the few Google pieces of software no longer in beta, that actually works and even may occasionally feature one or two gimmicks that Yahoo! should implement in its own toolbar (for example, web ranking is a useful feature for SEOs and webmasters, which Google came up with first)!

The unhappy ""ig"" (Google's personalized home page) is Google's half-hearted attempt at a personalized portal home page like my yahoo! (http://my.yahoo.com) but it is a very very poor attempt, and is a vastly inferior product. Its a shame more Yahoo! users do not realize how powerful my Yahoo! is. Again, a fault with Yahoo! marketing and PR, not with the product itself.

Moreover, I am aware of at least three ""new"" products that Google is about to announce that Yahoo! has had available to the public for a great deal of time..

It is clear that Google has a very strong Marketing and PR machine - it is no coincidence that so many TV shows, movies and adverts feature people ""googling"", that so many news headlines feature Google's name, nor that Google's share price and revenues are going through the roof in comparison to that of Yahoo!

However, PR and Marketing are the ONLY reason for this.

So, what is wrong with the Yahoo! Marketing and PR machine? Why is Yahoo! allowing Google to grab the headlines for inferior copies of products that Yahoo! has had in its arsenal for many years?

Terry Semel, Jerry Yang et al ought to find out the answer to that question.. NOW!

See YahooSupporter's blog http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-4sU6UzIocqjUhnPaqIsNgU0-

About the author: I have permission to reproduce this article here on behalf of the mysterious YahooSupporter

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

Wednesday, August 30, 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

Fatal PR Mistakes Authors Make on Their Book Campaigns

Author: Penny C. Sansevieri

Any author who is driving their own PR campaign knows that often times marketing and media can be an uphill battle. Many times authors are pitching and promoting themselves with minimal results. It can be tedious and frustrating and sometimes lead them to make fatal PR mistakes that can cost them their campaign.

One of the first, and potentially most fatal, is thinking that one or two media appearances are going to wing your book into the bestseller spotlight. Media works when it's done consistently and often it takes months, and in some cases years, for you to reach your own ""PR payoff."" The most important part of a campaign is the author's ability to stick with it. Most of the interviews you see nationally on shows like Good Morning America and Oprah, started with a regional buzz. Build your base (or buzz) in your own back yard first and then start getting your message out on a national level. And this leads us to our second PR mistake: ignoring regional or trade media. Sometimes when you're promoting yourself it's easy to get caught up in going after the big fish, but don't ignore the smaller regional and niche publications, they can be a gold mine of PR and really help to get the buzz going.

Next on our list of fatal PR mistakes is the technique with which authors pitch themselves. First and foremost you want to make sure you're pitching the right people, don't just go after a ""producer,"" find the producer that's right for the story. And be cautious of when you pitch, before you start calling the media, turn on your TV or radio and see if there's a breaking news story. There's no quicker way to offend your media target then pitching them a story when they're scrambling to cover a plane crash or some other major disaster.

As you're navigating through your PR campaign you'll also want to make sure your pitches are focused and relevant. It's much easier to get the attention of the media when you're pitching them something that's already on their radar screen. For example remember when you're putting together your campaign to keep an eye out for seasonal or news spins to your topic. If, let's say, you are discussing the topic of depression, you might want to pitch it around a nationally designated ""depression awareness day"" or, perhaps, given all the buzz around college kids and depression, you might want to tackle this as a back-to-school issue. Targeted, focused pitches are the best way to get the media to notice you, so open that calendar or read your local newspaper to find out what's hot and top of mind. Also, respect their time when you're pitching. Get to the point, don't ramble and remember that this is not about you, it's about the benefits to their readers, viewers, or listeners and most of all, never, ever, ever sell your book. You should always sell yourself and your expertise. Producers and editors will be looking for the WIIFM factor behind your pitch (what's in it for me) not how they can showcase your book.

Finally there's no quicker way to end your campaign than to over promise, stretching the truth, or not being reliable. If you miss an interview or over promise on a commitment one time, you can kiss any further media goodbye. Word travels fast in the industry and bad news travels even faster. Remember be patient, be persistent, and be professional and you're bound to get the media you deserve and keep your campaign alive and well!

About the author: Penny C. Sansevieri helps turn authors into success stories. Check out her Virtual Author Tours, free insider info on publishing, and author marketing newsletter at http://www.amarketingexpert.com

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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.

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

TR Cutler, Inc. Manufacturing PR Firm Puts Dean Schmidt in Charge of International Growth

Author: Thomas Cutler

Thomas R. Cutler, who founded the consortium in 1999, has grown the participation from 300 journalists to more than two thousands key clients, journalists, editors, trendsetters, and key business leaders worldwide. Cutler noted that, ""The numerous Free Trade agreements, expansive globalization, and worldwide manufacturing process, has generated huge growth for manufacturers outside North America who want to establish a media and market presence in North America. Dean Schmidt, since joining TR Cutler, Inc. in August 2005 has made a significant and valuable contribution.""

Schmidt noted, ""We have already seen extraordinary growth from manufacturers in New Zealand, Australia, South America, and Europe. With the expansion of the Manufacturing Media Consortium in the international markets, we expect revenues to double by 2007.""

Vice-President of Operations for TR Cutler, Inc., Dean Schmidt is now responsible for the international growth and development of the manufacturing public relations organization. Schmidt will perform a critical liaison function between freelance journalists, editors, and publisher and manage the day-to-day operation of the highly successful division.

Cutler has authored more than 1000 articles for a wide range of manufacturing periodicals, industrial publications, and business journals including most of the leading monthly trade publications. TR Cutler, Inc., (www.trcutlerinc.com), is the nation's largest manufacturing marketing and public relations firm, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

TR Cutler, Inc. www.trcutlerinc.com Thomas Cutler 954-486-7562

About the author: None

Monday, August 28, 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

Can Small PR Firms Deliver Huge Results?

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Can Small PR Firms Deliver Huge Results?

They can when they invest in the basics. The best of them obviously rely on some form of public relations fundamental premise to produce winners across business environments from rockets and orange juice to product recalls and indicted CEOs.

But, chances are the top producers among small PR firms have built their businesses on a premise 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 those people whose behaviors affect the organization, the public relations mission is accomplished.

Public relations firms who do not base their work on a premise like this one are well-advised to consider doing so.

The reason? Their clients are subject to the same realities as the rest of us, realities that never change. People usually behave based on their perception of the facts. And clients usually demand certain behaviors from those “publics” whose behaviors have the most impact on their businesses.

Even more to the point, when client managers start looking for a return on their public relations investment, they want to see the kind of key stakeholder behavior change that leads directly to achieving their objectives.

Which is why, especially for the small PR firm anxious to meet client needs, there is no better performance measure at which to aim.

However, for those small PR firms not yet guided by any kind of public relations fundamental premise, here is a suggestion.

Consider the premise outlined above, then take a shot at convin- cing a new or current client to let you produce a broader, more productive public relations effort for his or her company. And remember, the fundamental premise of public relations outlined above is a great equalizer placing all public relations firms on a level playing field when it comes to the effectiveness of the process. It especially targets those firms with a client who expects the best value from PR dollars spent, not simply a limited and mechanical publicity placement effort.

In other words, consider using the premise as a means for going after higher quality new business, or upgrading an account and broadening the work performed for a savvy client who wishes to squeeze every benefit out of the money they spend on public relations.

Start by listing a client’s most important outside audiences in priority order – audiences whose behaviors directly and visibly affect client success or failure. At the top of such a list are usually prospects and customers. But it could well include community residents, business and political leaders, suppliers, minorities, fraternal groups, nearby military personnel and union leaders. The target list might even include “clients of your client” where such activity is a high priority for that client.

The test for listing an audience is this: does its behaviors affect my client’s business in any way? If they do, they belong on the list.

Obviously, you must now determine what members of that key external public think about your client and his or her business, in order to build and implement a successful public relations effort. And that means interacting with members of that audience and asking a lot of questions. What do they think about your client company and its products and services? Are there signs of negativity? Misconceptions? Inaccuracies? Rumors?

The answers to these questions allow you to establish the corrective public relations goal, i.e., a specific perception and, thus, behavior change. For example, clear up that misconception, correct that inaccuracy, or knock down that rumor as soon as possible.

How do you achieve that goal? Right! You select a strategy that will get you from here to there. And there are just three strategies to deal with a perception challenge: create perception (opinion) where there may be none, change existing perception, or reinforce it. Your choice will be dictated by your new public relations goal.

Clearly the most challenging step in this sequence is preparing the right message for delivery to the target audience. It must make a compelling case, so think about it carefully. It must state clearly that the offending misconception, inaccuracy or rumor is not the truth. Instead, layout that truth in a credible manner. The hallmarks of such a message are clarity, persuasiveness, credibility, believability and a compelling presentation.

Now it’s time for the “beasts of burden,” the communications tactics which will carry your carefully-scripted message to the eyes and ears of that target audience. Happily, there are a ton of such tactics at your disposal. Of course, you will want to double check the ability of each to zero in on your specific audience. As most PR firms are aware, they range from news- letters, press releases and radio and newspaper interviews to newsworthy surveys, sports sponsorships, op-eds and many, many more.

In short order, clients will be interested in evidence that the public relations effort is achieving results. The best way to demonstrate progress is by reporting on the results of a new round of perception monitoring among members of that target audience. You’re looking for signs that their percep- tions now reflect the corrective elements of your message

Your clients are subject to the same realities as the rest of us, realities that never change. As noted, people usually behave based on their perception of the facts. And clients usually demand certain behaviors from those “publics” whose behaviors have the most impact on their businesses.

Small (and large) PR firms have little choice but to go after those perceptions with a vengeance.

That is how that small PR firm can deliver huge results.

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

Managers and PR Genius

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Managers and PR Genius

The real public relations geniuses might be managers. You know, managers who pursue their objectives by reaching, persuading and moving those outside audiences whose behavior most affect their organizations, to actions those managers desire.

Their “secret” is probably a PR blueprint something 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.

What a PR blueprint like this gives YOU, a business, non-profit or association manager, are the tools you need to persuade your important external stakeholders to your way of thinking. Then, hopefully, move them to take actions that lead to your success.

Best part is, the public relations people assigned to your department, division or subsidiary can run the program for you if, that’s IF, you as the unit manager stay involved and participate in key decisions along the way.

First concern? In all probability, your PR staff will need to shift its attention from simple communications tactics to the more aggressive fundamental concept of public relations, and its action blueprint, mentioned above.

It’s worth the effort because the payoff for you will be target audience behaviors like these: boosts in repeat purchases, or higher contribution and membership application rates, or new waves of interested prospects.

Sit down with the PR folks who work for your unit and explain the need to list, in priority order, those key outside audiences. And discuss the importance of learning how the organization is perceived by members of those audiences. In particular because perceptions almost always lead to predictable behaviors, and that, of course, is what will soon concern you the most.

To probe those target audience perceptions, you and your staff must interact with members of that key external audience and ask a variety of questions. For example, “Do you know anything about us? Have you had dealings with us? Was there ever a problem with a transaction?

During these perception monitoring sessions, stay alert for negativity. Was there a glaring inaccuracy that popped up repeatedly? Any false assumptions about your services or products? Did you notice misconceptions, rumors or clearly negative attitudes? And watch especially for evasive or hesitant responses.

The data you gather from these perception monitoring interviews allow you to establish your public relations goal. You must decide to focus on correcting a dangerous inaccuracy or clarifying a troublesome misconception.

As a manager, you know that goals are achieved using the right strategy. In the case of perception and opinion matters, there are just three workable strategies available to you: reinforce existing perception/opinion, create perception where there may be none, or change existing opinion. Only caveat: be sure your chosen strategy fits well with the public relations goal you have established.

Now your PR people must prepare the message that will alter perception among members of your target audience. As the unit manager, your personal input will be required to insure that it is both persuasive and compelling. As well, the message must be clearly written, and well supported with facts if it is to be believable as it strives to alter perception in your direction.

Delivering your message is not a complex task and your PR folks will help select the proper communications tactics to get the job done. Luckily for all concerned, there is a full menu of such tactics from special events, news announcements, print and broadcast interviews and brochures to newsletters, speeches, emails and many others.

To satisfy all concerned that the effort to alter an offending perception is really working, you must re-monitor the perceptions of members of your external target audience

This go-around, however, will see all members of the public relations team on the lookout for clear-cut signs that the negative perception is actually being altered according to plan.

You should also be aware that matters can be accelerated by adding new communications tactics to the effort, AND/OR by increasing their frequencies, as appropriate.

If genius is too strong a descriptive for managers who apply this public relations blueprint, let us at least observe that it allows them a degree of success in achieving their unit objectives they did not previously enjoy.

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

How Managers Hit PR Paydirt

Author: Robert A. Kelly

How Managers Hit PR Paydirt

As a business, non-profit or association manager, you’ll know it’s PR paydirt when you’re able to persuade your key external stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that lead to your department, division or subsidiary’s success.

Proof of the pudding will be outside stakeholder behaviors like increasing repeat purchases, more inquiries about strategic alliances, new specifiers of your components, more membership inquiries, or a jump in capital contributions.

But to realize such results, you’ll have to get personally involved with the public relations people assigned to your unit. Then shift their emphasis from communications tactics to a workable and comprehensive blueprint that will lead to your success as a unit manager.

A blueprint, for example, 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 public relations blueprint will require of you, is a sharper focus on those outside groups of people who play a role in just how successful a manager you will be. In other words, the blueprint targets your most important external audiences.

Get your PR people on board early on. This should be an easy task as some of them, no doubt, are wondering if there may be more to public relations than press releases, special events and brochures.

Enlist them instead in a core public relations effort to determine how all of your crucial outside audiences really perceive your operation. I speak here of audiences with perceptions leading to behaviors that affect your organization the most. So discuss with your staff how you can gather those key audience perceptions in the most cost-effective manner.

Since retaining a professional opinion survey firm can be very expensive, you may well conclude that you and your PR staff can interact with members of your target audience and ask the necessary questions. And I would agree.

Among the questions: What do you know about us? Have we ever worked together? Was it a positive experience for you? Did you ever have a problem with our people? Watch for evasive or hesitant answers and, especially, for negativities such as inaccuracies, misconceptions, false assumptions or rumors.

The data you collect lets you set your public relations goal. For example, clarify that misconception, correct that inaccuracy, kill that rumor dead.

You are a manager fully aware that every good goal needs a good strategy to show you how to reach that goal. When it comes to matters of opinion or perception, you have just three strategy choices: create perception where there may be none, change existing perception/opinion, or reinforce it. But take care that the strategy you select fits nicely with your new public relations goal.

Now it’s message time – the special words you will use to alter what you discovered some of your target audience members have come to believe. This corrective message is crucial to the success of the program and, all at the same time, must be clear, believable and compelling.

The next step truly can be called “special delivery.” Here, you take steps to get your message before the eyes and ears of your target audience. Communications tactics will handle that chore for you, and there are dozens of them available like newsletters, brochures, press releases, media interviews, emails, facility tours and lots of others. Be sure that the tactics you select have a track record of reaching people like those who make up your target audience.

Your two-part bottom line? A workable and comprehensive public relations blueprint that (1) assists you as a manager in creating the external audience behaviors you need and (2), in so doing, helps you achieve your department’s business, non-profit or association 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

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

Sunday, August 27, 2006

PR Advice You Didn't Ask For

Author: Robert A. Kelly

PR Advice You Didn’t Ask For

Although, as a business, non-profit or association manager, you may be glad this came your way.

Especially if your current public relations effort is delivering more publicity plugs than real behavior change among your most important outside audiences. Change that could lead directly to achieving your managerial objectives.

I’m talking about persuading those key outside folks to your way of thinking, then moving them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed.

There’s even a blueprint to help you do it. 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 kind of results can you expect? Consider these: membership applications on the rise; customers starting to make repeat purchases; fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; community leaders beginning to seek you out; welcome bounces in show room visits; prospects starting to do business with you; higher employee retention rates, capital givers or specifying sources beginning to look your way, and even politicians and legislators starting to view you as a key member of the business, non-profit or association communities.

An obvious first step involves getting the public relations people assigned to your unit on board. Make certain the whole team buys into why it’s so important to know how your outside audiences perceive your operations, products or services. Be sure they accept the reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can hurt your unit.

Review how you plan to monitor and gather perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Questions like these: how much do you know about our organization? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the interchange? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

Since your PR people are in the perception and behavior business to begin with, they can be of real use for this opinion monitoring project. Professional survey firms are always available, but that can be a budget buster. Whether it’s your people or a survey firm who asks the questions, your objective is to identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, and misconceptions .

Then you must carefully select which of the above becomes your corrective public relations goal -- clarify the misconception, spike that rumor, correct the false assumption or fix certain other inaccuracies.

You can achieve your goal by picking the right strategy from the three choices available to you. Change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. But be sure your new strategy fits comfortably with your new public relations goal.

But what will you say when you have the opportunity to address your key stakeholder audience to help persuade them to your way of thinking?

Select your best writer to prepare the message because s/he must put together some very special, corrective language. Words that are not only compelling, persuasive and believable, but clear and factual if they are to shift perception/opinion towards your point of view and lead to the behaviors you have in mind.

Happily, the next step is easy. You select communications tactics to carry your message to the attention of your target audience. Making certain that the tactics you select have a record of reaching folks like your audience members, you can pick from dozens that are available. From speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others.

Since how one communicates often affects the credibility of the message, you may wish to deliver it in small getogethers like meetings and presentations rather than through a higher- profile media announcement.

You’ll soon feel pressure for signs of progress. And that means a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Employing many of the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you will now be watching carefully for signs that the offending perception is being altered in your direction.

Luckily, matters can be accelerated by adding more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies.

This workable public relations blueprint will help you persuade your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to the success of your department, division or subsidiary.

So, while you may not have asked for this public relations advice, I hope you will agree that the people you deal with behave like everyone else – they act upon their perceptions of the facts they hear about you and your operation. Leaving you little choice but to deal promptly and effectively with those perceptions by doing what is necessary to reach and move your key external audiences to action.

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 Who Spend PR $$ Wisely

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Managers Who Spend PR $$ Wisely

If you are a department, division or subsidiary manager, your budget is a precious possession whether you work for a business, a non-profit or an association. So why stand by while your public relations team spends too much time and treasure on tactics like press releases, column mentions and brochures? Especially when you could be using an aggressive PR blueprint to persuade your most important outside audiences to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that lead to your success?

The good news is, that aggressive blueprint shines the PR spotlight directly on those outside groups of people who have a large say in how successful you’re going to be – namely, on your key external target audiences. It reads this way: 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.

Look at the kinds of behaviors that are possible using such a blueprint. A big jump up in capital contributions, increased membership queries, new prospects showing up, more current buying and even repeat purchases occurring, and even new proposals for joint ventures.

Spending your PR $$ wisely implies that you are getting serious about your public relations by changing the emphasis from communications tactics to a workable plan for reaching those outside groups of people with a large say about how successful you will be. I refer, of course, to those key external target audiences of yours.

What do they think of you, anyway? Ask your PR staff why they believe that’s important to you? Hopefully, they’ll agree that target audience perceptions usually do lead to behaviors that can help or hinder you in achieving your operating objectives. In other words, is your PR team guided by solid fundamentals rather than mechanics like special events and communications tactics?

Next, decide together, then prioritize exactly which external audiences have the most impact on your operation, and let’s do some work on the audience at the top of that list.

Since you must monitor perceptions by interacting with members of that audience, you can elect to join your PR folks as they ask some penetrating questions: “Do you know anything about us? How do you feel about our services and/or products? Have you had any contact with our people? Did it work out to your satisfaction?”

Remember that you can also employ a professional survey firm to interact with members of your target audience. Only drawback here is the considerable cost involved in taking this route versus using your own PR folks who, as we know, are already in the perception and behavior business.

Either way, while the perception monitoring effort is proceeding, all questioners must stay alert to misconceptions about your unit, as well as inaccuracies, exaggerations, rumors or false assumptions. And keep an eye out for evasive and hesitant responses to your queries.

Once all the answers are in-hand, you’re ready to establish your public relations goal, thus fixing what needs correcting the most. And that may well be to clear up a potentially damaging misconception, shoot down a hurtful rumor, or clarify that misleading exaggeration.

Now, how do you reach that new goal? The right strategy is what you need and that means one of these: create perception where there may be none at all, change that offensive opinion/perception, or reinforce an existing perception. But make sure the strategy you pick fits naturally with your PR goal.

You still need a message that will correct/alter the negative perception turned up during your monitoring activity among members of your target audience. It must be a compelling message, one that is completely believable and one that explains why the offending perception is either untrue or unfair. The message must be clearly presented because you want to alter what people believe in a way that leads to the target audience behaviors you need to achieve your unit objectives.

Fortunately, delivering the message to those who need to hear it and read it is a simple matter. You have a real variety of communications tactics to help you from speeches, luncheon presentations, media interviews and emails to newsletters, facility tours, brochures and electronic magazines. Just be certain the tactics you use have a good record of reaching people similar to those who make up your target audience. So as not to call too much attention to the original misperception, your PR team may wish to deliver the corrective message as part of various presentations to target audience members rather than risk a high profile, news release transmission.

Now, to demonstrate program progress, you and your team must once again monitor perceptions among your target audience watching carefully for indications that your message and tactics have moved those perceptions towards your views.

Of course, to speed up the process, you can always add new communications tactics to the mix and increase their frequencies.

Finally, at this point you should be reassured that your new public relations effort has (1) persuaded your most important outside audiences to your way of thinking, (2) moved them to take actions leading to your success, thus (3) helping 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