Thursday, September 06, 2007

PR That Entrepreneurs Often Overlook

Author: Robert A. Kelly

PR That Entrepreneurs Often Overlook

If that sounds like you, here's what you may be missing once the new enterprise is launched

Public relations that really does something about the behaviors of those key outside audiences that most affect your new enterprise.

PR that uses a fundamental blueprint to deliver external stakeholder behavior change – the kind that leads directly to achieving your venture's objectives.

And PR that persuades many of those important outside folks to your way of thinking, then moves them to take actions that help your new enterprise succeed.

That's why you as a small business owner must gear up to deal with the unattended perceptions out there that could nudge your fledgling venture closer to bankruptcy than success. Perceptions that, if left unattended, may well result in actions that run counter to those you and your banker had in mind.

For example, when new ventures fail, the wreckage is often assigned to undercapitalization. Seldom is failure attributed to a lack of an effective action plan that might have modified the behavior of prospects and other collaborators in a positive way, thus averting that failure.

So why support your new venture with press release public relations when a basic PR blueprint like this one can hold the key to your success? 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.

Add to that these kinds of results: fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; customers making repeat purchases; prospects starting to look your way; community leaders beginning to seek you out; and even politicians and legislators viewing you as a true innovator.

Major caveat for a new entrepreneurial venture: because the cost of gathering key audience perception data – an absolute must in this business – can be substantial, it should be built into the original funding budget. That suggests that you, as the new venture leader, must take the lead in assuring upfront funding of the perception monitoring function.

So, with the people whose perceptions of your venture you care most about now the target of your PR effort, you are ready to launch a well-planned public relations program that can reach, persuade and move those individuals to actions you desire.

Here's a public relations checklist entrepreneurs may find helpful.

From Day 1, you have to be certain your staff or agency public relations people are really committed to knowing how your outside audiences perceive your operations, products or services. And further, that negative key audience perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can hurt your new venture. Fortunately, your PR people are in the perception and behavior business to begin with, so they should be of real assistance for your opinion monitoring project.

Professional survey firms are always available, but that can be expensive. So, whether it's your people or a survey firm asking the questions, your objective is to identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, and misconceptions.

First, rank your external audiences as to impacts on your operation. For example, #1 customers; #2 prospects; #3 employees; #4 local and trade media; #5 your local business community; #6 community leaders, and so forth. Then, involve your PR team in plans for monitoring and gathering perceptions by questioning members of those you expect will be your most important outside audiences.

Second, interact with members of your key audience and jot down their first impressions of your fledgling operation, especially any problem perceptions.

Use questions like these: Now that you've read our brochure, do you believe our products/services will be of use to people in this area? Have you used the services of our competitors? Did you find them useful? Fairly priced? Any problems? Listen carefully for any rumors or misconceptions about your new operation.

Third, decide which of the negatives you discovered, rates as the #1 corrective public relations goal – for example, clarify the misconception, spike that rumor, correct the false assumption or fix a certain inaccuracy.

Fourth, when you finally have the chance to address your key stakeholder audience to help persuade them to your way of thinking, what will you say? Ideally, you will prepare persuasive and compelling messages that not only provide details about your product and service quality and diversity, but address perception problems that surfaced during your monitoring sessions. As the method of communication can affect the credibility of the message, you may wish to deliver it in small meetings or presentations rather than through high-visibility media releases.

Not so incidentally, here's where a talented writer earns his or her keep because s/he must put together some very special, corrective language. Words that are not only believable, but clear and factual if they are to correct the negatives and shift perception/opinion towards your point of view and lead to the behaviors you have in mind.

Fifth, in the same way Quesadillas come with sauteed onions and smoky cheese, the right PR strategy tells you how to reach your goal. But just three strategies are available in matters of perception and opinion -- change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. And be sure your new strategy is a natural fit with your new public relations goal.

Sixth, things get simpler here. 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 of tactics. Everything from speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others.

Seventh, how do you decide that your efforts are changing perceptions for the better? As time passes, you should notice increased awareness of your business, a growing public perception of the role your business plays in the community; and, of course, growing numbers of prospects.

You can track these results by interacting on a regular basis with people from each of your key audiences, especially by monitoring print and broadcast media and through interaction with key customers and prospects.

But eighth, questions will soon appear as to progress. That will demand a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Using the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you will now be alert to indications that the negative perception is being altered as you wished.

In public relations, we're lucky that these efforts can be accelerated through more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies.

The stakes are high – the very survival of your new enterprise!

So, concentrate on what's most important -- people in your new venture's community or marketing area behave like people everywhere, they take actions based on their perception of the facts available to them.

In the proverbial nutshell, here you have a workable public relations blueprint that can 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 new enterprise.

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

PR Works! 15 Ways To Make Your Press Release Stand Out From the Crowd

Author: Julia Hyde

PR Works!

15 Ways to Make Your Press Release Stand Out From the Crowd!

Do editors of newspapers, magazines and online news sites really use press releases? Too right they do. In fact, the press release is one of the most effective forms of publicity. But many businesses, both online and off, underestimate the power the press has to promote their business and get their product or service noticed by potential customers.

There are no figures that show how many news stories are generated by press releases but my guess is that it runs into the hundreds and thousands, if not more. Many will be published word for word. Others will be paraphrased. But, either way the stories generate free, credible publicity for you, and your business.

So how do you convince reporters and editors to sit up and take notice of your company's news? Write a press release that's newsworthy, factual, topical, and then send it to the right people. It's not as simple as it sounds, though, because the press is bombarded with information everyday and their priorities are not necessarily yours.

Have no fear. Here are 15 tips to help you write a press release that will impress reporters, and increase your chances of publication.

1. Don't waste the reporters' time submitting something that isn't news. Find an interesting angle or a new twist and you're almost guaranteed success. If you make your story sound dull it will probably end up in the trash. The best source for ideas is the magazines and newspapers themselves. Not the front page headlines but the one or two paragraph items on page three or page 10. Play close attention to these because they often suggest something bigger is afoot. If that something can tie into your product or service you're on to a sure-fire winner.

2. Your headline should summarize your story in ten words or less. It tells the editor, at a glance, if your story is newsworthy or not. Avoid adjectives like "amazing" and "exciting'. It's a turn off for journalists. A simple title such as,"MarketingBiz.com Announces Launch of Newsletter Service" is better than, "MarketingBiz.com to Launch Exciting and Interesting New Service." Remember, this is news, not advertising.

3. Make sure your lead sentence contains all the main points of your story. It should tell the reader who has done what, where, why and when. Try not to let this sentence ramble on. Make sure it's straight to the point and contains only essential information.

4. Include all the benefits of your product or service. If your product is 20% cheaper, say so. If your service can help make your client, healthier or wealthier, say so. Concentrate on the advantages to the consumer because no one cares about the advantages the product has to you.

5. Add detail to your story. In the body of your release add extra information in order of importance. But beware, editors delete paragraphs from the end so make sure you include vital information early.

6. If possible include one or two quotes from reliable or expert sources. Quotes give a point of view, reflect the personality of the speaker and add a human element.

7. Keep the length to a single page if possible. Definitely no more than two. Anything over that becomes a chore for the editor. If you must go to two pages put "more" at the bottom of page one so the editor knows there is more to your story. At the end of your release put either the word "Ends" or ### or –30-. This lets the editor know your release is over.

8. If you're sending photos with your release, always include a caption listing the names of people in the photo. Include sources, contacts and the release date.

9. Avoid embargoes unless they are absolutely necessary. They are often used to make a story look more important than it actually is. Editors will rarely be fooled and you may find it's counter-productive.

10. Sending your release to the right people and to enough publications will increase your chances of getting your story printed. There are literally thousands of newspapers, magazines and online publications for trade and the consumer. Find the right ones by:

? Checking listings in a media directory. You can find them at your local library. ? Using an online service such as PR Web, that offers free distribution, or a paid service like PR Newswire. ? Sending the release to trade publications related to your business ? Contacting local and national TV and Radio

11. The more press releases you issue, the more will get printed. Ensure you issue at least one story a month. But don't send out a release for the sake of it.

12. If you're sending your release via email, avoid sending file attachments. Editors are wary of viruses and most will immediately delete your release.

13. Avoid fancy letterheads and gimmicks. What you say is more important.

14. Include contact name(s), telephone number(s) including cell phone numbers and an email address. This may sound obvious, but a surprising number of releases are submitted with this essential information missing.

15. Make your grammar and spelling perfect. A poorly written, grammatically incorrect press release tells the editor one thing…that your company does not have professional standards. Proofread your release several times before you submit it. Don't just rely on a spell-checker.

About the author: Julia is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in search engine marketing and copywriting, direct mail, press releases and other marketing materials businesses need to increase sales. Learn more about how Julia can help boost your profits by visiting www.juliahyde.com. Or email info@juliahyde.com. She'll get back to you right away.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Ultimate PR Edge: Getting Reporters To Open Your E-Mails

Author: Bill Stoller

The Ultimate PR Edge: Getting Reporters To Open Your E-Mails

by Bill Stoller, Publisher Free Publicity, The Newsletter for PR-Hungry Businesses http://www.PublicityInsider.com/freepub.asp

You know that getting publicity is vital to the health of your business. You probably also know that e-mail is the way most publicity seekers get in touch with reporters to score that precious coverage. Here's what you don't know: The vast majority of e-mails sent to journalists never get read.

Bottom line: if your e-mails don't get read, you have no shot at getting the publicity you so desperately need.

Here's how to beat the odds:

Avoiding the Spam Trap

To a spam filter, your humble e-mail pitch may appear to contain an array of trigger words and suspicious phrases. A server that relayed your message may be on a blacklist - a ""do not open"" list of known spammers. Or perhaps the filter's having a tough day and has decided to start blocking things arbitrarily. You can't prevent every instance of spam blocking, but you can take some steps to help lessen the chances of your e-mail ending up in a black hole.

The most important step is learning how spam filters think, and creating e-mails that avoid the usual pitfalls. Fortunately, you'll find that -- once you can do this -- many spam triggers are easily avoided.

Rather than taking up space here with all the how-to's, allow me to simply direct you a terrific site on the subject: http://www.wordbiz.com/avoidspamfilters.html

Getting Your E-Mail Opened & Read

After beating the spam filter, next up is getting your e-mail opened and read. The key: the subject line. No matter how on- the-money your pitch, a subpar subject line will kill any chance of getting the reporter's attention. You've got one shot at getting your e-mail opened, make the most of it with a killer subject line.

Here's how to do it: 1) Place the word ""News"" or ""Press Info"" or ""Story Idea"" at the beginning of your e-mail subject line, in brackets e.g.: [Story Idea]:

2) Try to incorporate the reporter's first name also at the beginning of the subject line.

3) If you know the name of the reporter's column, for instance ""Cooking with Linda"", also try to incorporate that. One more thing -- if the reporter doesn't write a regular column, try to at least include their beat (e.g. Joe, re: your future pieces on the wi-fi industry).

With these three tips in mind, a successful e-mail subject line might read:

[Story Idea]: Linda, Here's a Tip for Your ""Cooking with Linda"" Column

That's a heading that will stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Here are a few more e-mail do's and don'ts: Do:

* Make the information you place in the subject line short and to the point. Often, reporter's e-mail software cuts off the subject at only a few words.

* Don't get cute or be too vague in your subject line. For example ""Here's a Great Story!"" is vague and sounds like spam; ""This Will Win You A Pulitzer!"" will make you look silly (unless you're delivering the scoop of the century, of course!).

* Try to make your most newsworthy points at the top of your e- mail message - don't expect a reporter to scroll down to find the news.

* Include your contact information, including cell phone, e-mail address, regular address, fax number & website URL at the beginning and end of the e-mail.

* Include a link to your website if you have additional information such as: photos, press releases, bios, surveys, etc.

Don't:

* Include more than a short pitch letter or press release in the body of your e-mail.

* Allow typos or grammatical errors.

* Include an attachment with your e-mail. In this day and age of sinister viruses, reporters automatically delete e-mail with attachments.

* Place the following words (by themselves) in the subject line: ""Hi"", ""Hello"" - the media's spam filters will pounce and destroy.

* Send an e-mail with a blank subject line.

A cool tip: Use Google News (www.news.google.com) to search for recent stories that have appeared relating to your industry or field of interest. Then, e-mail the reporter directly (use a subject line such as Re: Your July 5th piece on electric cars). Give positive feedback on the story and let him know that, next time he's working an electric car story, he should get in touch, as you're an expert with provocative things to say. Give a couple of supporting facts to back up the assertion, include your phone number and web link, and ask if he'd like to see a full press kit. This technique really works!

About the author: Bill Stoller, the ""Publicity Insider"", has spent two decades as one of America's top publicists. Now, through his website, eZine and subscription newsletter, Free Publicity: The Newsletter for PR-Hungry Businesses http://www.PublicityInsider.com/freepub.asp , he's sharing -- his secrets of scoring big publicity. For free articles, killer publicity tips , visit Bill's exclusive new site: http://www.publicityInsider.com

Monday, September 03, 2007

Is This the PR You Thought You Were Getting?

Author: Robert A. Kelly

You know, where you do something positive about the behaviors of those outside audiences that MOST affect your organization? And where you do so by persuading those important external folks to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed?

Yes, that's right, it's where you use the fundamental premise of public relations to produce external stakeholder behavior change – the kind that leads directly to achieving your managerial objectives.

What it boils down to is (1) your public relations effort must involve more than special events, brochures and news releases if you really want to get your money's worth, and (2), the right PR really CAN alter individual perception and lead to changed behaviors that help you succeed!

You can do it when you bring that fundamental premise of PR mentioned above, into play. It goes 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 kind of results can you, as a business, non-profit or association manager, expect from such an approach? Well, for starters, improved relations with government agencies and legislative bodies, stronger relationships with the educational, labor, financial and healthcare communities; prospects starting to work with you; customers making repeat purchases; and even capital givers or specifying sources looking your way

And that's not all. You also could see progress in the form of membership applications on the rise; new proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; rebounds in showroom visits; enhanced activist group relations, and expanded feedback channels; as well as community service and sponsorship opportunities; not to mention new thoughtleader and special event contacts.

Yes, that's promising quite a bit but that's what this approach to public relations is capable of delivering.

Of course the PR people supporting you as a manager – agency or staff – must be real team members and committed to you, as the senior project manager, to the PR blueprint and its implementation, starting with target audience perception monitoring.

Ask yourself how important it is that your most important outside audiences really perceive your operations, products or services in a positive light? Then assure yourself that your PR staff buys into that notion wholeheartedly. Be especially careful that they accept the reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can help or hurt your unit.

Review the PR blueprint in detail with your team, especially the plan for monitoring and gathering perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Use questions like these: how much do you know about our organization? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the interchange? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

The perception monitoring phases of your program obviously can be handled by professional survey people, IF the budget is available. But keep in mind that your PR people are also in the perception and behavior business and can pursue the same objective: identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, misconceptions and any other negative perception that might translate into hurtful behaviors.

Clearly, you will need a well-defined goal, one that responds to the aberrations that appeared during your key audience perception monitoring. As a flexible goal, it could call for straightening out that dangerous misconception, or correcting that gross inaccuracy, or doing something about that damaging rumor.

Inevitably, a goal needs a strategy to show you how to get there. And here, you have three strategic choices for handling a perception or opinion challenge: create perception where there may be none, change the perception, or reinforce it. Unfortunately, a bad strategy pick will taste like fudge sauce on your spareribs, so be sure the new strategy fits well with your new public relations goal. For instance, you don't want to select "change" when the facts dictate a "reinforce" strategy.

Changing people's minds to your way of thinking is a tough assignment, so your PR team must set down the needed corrective language. Words that are compelling, persuasive and believable AND clear and factual. You must do this if you are to correct a perception by shifting opinion towards your point of view, leading to the desired behaviors.

Sit down again with your communications specialists and review your message for impact and persuasiveness. Then, select the communications tactics most likely to carry your words to the attention of your target audience. 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. But be sure that the tactics you pick are known to reach folks just like your audience members.

Because the credibility of a message can occasionally depend on its delivery method, you might introduce it to smaller gatherings rather than using higher-profile tactics such as news releases or talk show appearances. One good thing about doing progress reports for clients or bosses is that they sound the alert for you and your PR folks to return to the field for a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Using many of the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you must now stay alert for signs that the bad news perception is being altered in your direction.

If impatience shows up, you can always accelerate things with more communications tactics and increased frequencies.

It should be an irresistable premise for any manager! Do something positive about the behaviors of those outside audiences that MOST affect your organization. And do so by persuading those important external folks to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed.

Wow!

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels 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 communi- cations, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Ultimate PR "Scam"

Author: Robert A. Kelly

The Ultimate PR "Scam"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

end

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

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Managers: Are You PR-Fit?

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Managers: Are You PR-Fit?

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

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

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

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

Any idea how to make that happen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

end

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