Are You Sure You Know What Youre Doing?
Because when it comes to public relations, non-believers can produce a double-bummer -- missed opportunity AND a ton of wasted money. It really is a shame because we do public relations to change the behaviors of certain groups of people important to the success of those very Doubting Thomases.
And speaking of non-believers, what's the real reason some shy away from public relations? I believe it's because they don't understand, or believe, the direct connection between what public relations is capable of delivering and their need to achieve specific business objectives.
So, what do we say to non-believers?
Surely it's not that difficult a concept to understand or accept? People act on their perception of the facts; those perceptions lead to certain behaviors; and something can be done about those perceptions and behaviors that leads to achieving your organization's objectives. That's pretty good!
Better yet, you can establish the degree of behavior change you want, up front, then insist on getting that result beforeyou pronounce the public relations effort a success.
That way, you KNOW you're getting your money's worth.
But it gets better. How can you measure the results of any activity more accurately than when you clearly achievethe goal you set at the beginning of that activity? You can't. It's pure success when you meet that goal.
Public relations is no different. The client/employer wants our help in altering counterproductive perceptions among key audiences which almost always change behaviors in a way that helps him or her get to where they want to be.
But, the Doubting Thomases might ask, are we really qualified to do that job?
I think yes, because everything we do is based on the same realities -- people act on their perception of the facts, and we can do something about those perceptions. So, when publicrelations activity successfully creates, changes or reinforcesthat opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action those people whose behaviors affect the organization, the public relations effort is a success.
In practice, you may want people to perceive your organizationmore positively, thus strengthening its reputation. Or, you could communicate a company's strengths to a target audience leading them to a positive perception of the firm, in turn leading to new investments in the company's shares.
I know our non-believers are not primarily interested in ourability to communicate, paint images or schmooz with the media.Nor are they especially fascinated with our efforts to identify target audiences, set public relations goals and strategies, write persuasive messages and select communications tactics.
What I believe they DO want is a change in the behaviors of certain key audiences leading directly to the achievement of their business objectives.
Which is why I continually stress that quality planning, and the degree of behavioral change it produces, defines the success or failure of a public relations program.
Done correctly, when public relations results in modified behaviors among groups of people important to an organization,we could be talking about nothing less than its survival.
But that means public relations professionals must modify somebody's behavior if they are to help hit the objective and earn a paycheck - I believe everything else is a means to that end.
But, we can't let the Doubting Thomases off the hook withoutreminders that some very basic but unattended perceptions maybe out there that could lead to very costly negative behaviors.For example, if sales prospects are unaware of your product or service, you will not get them as customers; if your customers don't remain convinced of the value of your product or service, you lose them; and if employees believe you don't care about them, productivity suffers.
And on and on when still more audiences like citizens, journalists,regulators, investors and legislators don't believe you.
So, what do I believe the unbelievers still want from us whether they know it or not? I believe they want us to apply our special skills in a way that helps them achieve their business objectives. But no matter what strategic plan we create to solve a problem, no matter what tactical program we put in place, at the end of the day we must modify somebody's behavior for them if we are to earn our money.
Which is why I say that when you measure our real effectiveness, you will be fully satisfied with those public relations results only when our "reach, persuadeand move-to-desired-action" efforts produce that visible modificationin the behaviors of those people you wish to influence. In my view, this is the central, strategic function of public relations - the basic context in which we must operate.
As for the Doubting Thomases, I hope these remarks contain a nugget or two that assists you in leading them to a better understanding of how public relations works. Especially how it can strengthen relationships with those important groups of people - those target audiences whose perceptions and behaviors can help or hinder the achievement of their business objectives.
Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at bobkelly@TNI.net.
Robert A. Kelly © 2005.
Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to business, non-profit and association 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. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Columbia University, major in public relations.
Just What Kind of PR Matters to You?
Parties, videos, booklets and column plugs?
Pressure From the Top?
Yes, and that pressure often comes from a CEO who knows what a public relations investment SHOULD produce.
Ignore PR at Your Peril!
If you do, it means:
A Natural Phenomenon? Really?
Sure. What else do you call a human discipline whose very nature is firmly rooted in the principle that people act on their own perception of the facts. Then goes on to create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization?
Photographs - Ten Tips For Getting Good Shots
Photographs are essential for getting good publicity in the print media, especially magazines, newspapers, internal newsletters and even websites. Taking effective photographs often requires patience and practice but is a valuable skill to acquire.
A Well-Oiled Strategy Machine
Yes, that's what public relations really is when it tracks important external audience perceptions and follow on behaviors. And again when it does something about those perceptions and behaviors by reaching, persuading and moving to actions you desire, those people whose behaviors affect your organization the most.
Media Training 201: The Reporters Have Done Their Homework. Have You Done Yours?
Just about anyone who has been in the public eye has a story of the media interview that went south. "I talked to that reporter for an hour and all they used was a ten-second sound bite!" or, "He said he wanted to ask me about X when that was just a way to get in the door so he could talk about Y." Chances are, the reporter came armed with questions and if he really did his homework, knew what answers to expect. You should be just as prepared. Media training can't make the tough questions go away, but it can give you the tools to control the interview. Here are some tips:
Do You Really Need PR?
The right kind of PR, that is, the kind that puts you in charge of the care and feeding of a lot of people who play a major role in just how successful a manager you're going to be?
How to Keep PR Working for You
Managers in the non-profit, association and business worlds need to persuade outside audiences with the greatest impact on their operations to their way of thinking. And then move those external stakeholders to take actions that help their departments, divisions or subsidiaries succeed.
Publicity: Five Tips for Calling a Reporter
Always ask, "Is now a good time?"
Publicity: Show a Reporter You Care by Inviting Them to Fact-Check
Just like a financial planning client fears not having enough money for retirement, reporters fear getting their facts wrong in print.
How PR Helps Managers Win
Anything that lets managers achieve their managerial objectives is a winner.
Using Publicity As A Creative Marketing Tool
Publicity is an important and often overlooked tool of creative selling; and a more cost-effective way of reaching your target audience than advertising. With the inherent third-party endorsement of the media implied in every editorial story, a news or feature article in a newspaper, magazine, or on television or radio, is an infinitely more credibly-perceived communications message than an ad or commercial. Publicists less frequently are favored with hard news stories. They are more often tasked with getting "softer" news and feature stories on-air or in print. Here are some techniques involving creative conceptualization and application ? what I call CREATIVE FORMATTING ? and they work very effectively when carefully thought-through and constructed.
Watch Your Attitude
So many restaurants spend money on publicity and then practically chase customes away by the owner's attitude.Stop to think, please, who is really more important, yourcustomers, your chef or your own cost-saving ideas? True, youhave to keep your chef happy but not if he refuses to cook whatthe customer wants and you, Mr. Restaurateur: what good issaving a few cents here or even a dollar there, if the customernever returns?
R.O.I. -- O.K., Heres The Deal!
You can SO measure return-on-investment for a public relations program!
Public Relations: Understanding Educated Gambling
As an entry level position to PR, I found myself typing up a forecast by a major Public Relation's firm for a major pharmaceutical company of what life would be like in the year 2000. Market research predictions included telephones with monitors that could help you see people while you talked, fax machines that could transmit information over telephone wires, microwave ovens for reducing food defrosting time from hours to minutes and other devices that have certainly come to pass. In the lifestyle area, predictions proved less valid. Not only would Americans be enjoying longer lives, it foretold, but they would have shorter work weeks, more vacations and overall, a more leisurely lifestyle. An iota of truth, but mostly wishful thinking when we read 2005 front pages.
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.
Put Yourself in the Reporters Shoes
Imagine you're the technology reporter at a daily newspaper. You learn that a new computer virus is making the rounds on the Net and you find that it has shut down three local banks within the past few hours. You're desperately searching for information on the virus, names and phone numbers of experts who can tell you about it, ways to prevent the virus from spreading, how to eradicate the virus and repair the damage to computers, and a spokesperson from at least one of the banks so you can get a quote for your article -- all before 5 PM so you can write the story that will appear on tomorrow's front page. Whew!
PR: Am I Getting a Good Deal?
You are getting a good deal when you accept the fact that the right PR really CAN alter individual perception and lead to the changed behaviors you need.
Media Training: Exposing Reporter Tricks -- Three Tactics Designed to Get You
A reporter's job is to get the most accurate and interesting story he or she can. Whether journalists make you look good or bad in the process is inconsequential to them ? their loyalty is to their story, and their goal is to elicit the most dramatic quotes possible from you.
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|