Time to Spruce Up Your Public Relations?

Better check out the public relations fundamental premise, then take action in your own best interest.

The premise 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 those people whose behaviors affect the organization, the public relations mission is accomplished."

Here's how you can reap its benefits.

Do you REALLY know what your most important outside audiences think about your organization? Are you actually aware of which external audience has the most serious impacts on your operations?

Better find out by interacting with members of those target audiences whose behaviors affect you the most, then ask lots of questions. "Have you done business with us? Was it a satisfactory experience? What do you think of us and our products and services?" And watch carefully for any negatives, even undertones that may need corrective action.

The responses you receive allow you to set your public relations goal. For instance, correct that inaccuracy, straighten out the misconception, or challenge that rumor.

Not surprisingly, reaching that goal requires that you set a strategy, and only three are available to you: create opinion where there is none; change existing opinion, or reinforce it. The goal you set will lead you to the right strategy choice.

The "bullet for your gun," so to speak, will be the message you carefully craft and send to members of your target audience. It needs to be very clear as to meaning. It must be believable and it should be compelling. Above all, your message must be persuasive since it seeks to alter perception in order to modify somebody's behavior. Make your message very specific to your strategy: create opinion, or change opinion, or reinforce opinion.

Moving that message to members of your target audience is next, and you have a wide choice of communication tactics to do the job. Everything from speeches, emails and personal contacts to press releases, radio and newspaper interviews, special events and lots more.

By this time, you'll be wondering whether you're making any progress. Best way to tell is to interact once again with members of that key target audience. Ask much the same questions you used during your first perception monitoring session.

The difference the second time around is that you're watching carefully for altered perceptions. Were you successful in straightening out that inaccurate belief? Does it appear that you turned around that awful rumor, or made headway in clarifying that misconception?

Not enough progress to suit you? Take another look at your communication tactics and consider expanding both the mix and frequencies. And review your message. Is it clear enough? Were your supporting facts and figures as strong and persuasive as they might be?

As you increase the tactical pressure, you'll begin to notice positive changes in the perceptions of members of your target audience. In time, this will lead to the kind of behaviors you seek and, thus, the successful completion of your public relations effort.

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at [email protected].

Robert A. Kelly © 2003

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:[email protected]. Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com

In The News:

Public Relations Candidate  Fashion Journal
The First Look: Puerto Rico Open  PGA TOUR/Perform Media
Jackets in 2nd Place at the Puerto Rico Classic  Georgia Tech Official Athletic Site
PR Newswire - Start of Day  Yahoo Finance UK
Men's golf begins season at Puerto Rico Classic  The University of Alabama Crimson White

Financial Planners Get Free Publicity With Email

In previous articles for marketing-minded financial planners, I've discussed what... Read More

Managers: A Key to Your Survival

Most business, non-profit and association managers live to tell about... Read More

Ill Alert The Media

There is something newsworthy happening at your organization right now.... Read More

Mission-Critical Public Relations?

As a business, non-profit or association manager, any tool that... Read More

Financial Planners Publicity - Dont Wait, Media Folks Want Your Free Publicity

Looking to get your name into a magazine? You need... Read More

Imagine PR Like This Helping You

As the kids say, how cool is this?You're a business,... Read More

Speak Up

Another way to really become known in your area is... Read More

Why Public Relations Doesnt Just Happen

Public relations is a very important part of the marketing... Read More

What to Do When the Reporter Calls: Five Tips for New (and not-so-new) Business Owners

New business owners often miss out on publicity opportunities because... Read More

A Blueprint for Managing your PR

OK, as a manager, your goal is to show a... Read More

How Would You Ever Know?

Your important outside audiences behave in ways that stop you... Read More

Can Your PR Do This?

Can your PR do something positive about the behaviors of... Read More

Some Cool P.R. Tips for These Dog Days of Summer

Yup -- it's hot and sticky and you don't feel... Read More

Celebrities Cant Have It Both Ways

Corporations are willing to pay substantial amounts of money to... Read More

Business Growth for Financial Planners in Five Easy Steps

Attracting new business: sometimes it happens by luck, sometimes by... Read More

Managers Who Tap Into PRs Value

Business, non-profit and association managers get a ton of satisfaction... Read More

Publicity Performance Not Enough?

Even after a nice piece in a national publication, or... Read More

The Four Seasons of Publicity - Building an All-Year Publicity

If you're like most publicity seekers, you probably think oneproject... Read More

A PR Surprise for Managers

For those business, non-profit and association managers committed to PR... Read More


Is that what we are? Fanatic, over-the-top disciples of some... Read More

Mind Your Own Business!

And the best way to mind your own business is... Read More

Media Training - Essentials for ALL Office Professionals

Often the first point of contact the media has with... Read More

How to Get $1000 worth of Advertising for $60

©2004 Jeffrey DobkinSixty dollars doesn't go a long way in... Read More

Asian Media Relations: Increase Your Profile and Image in China

China's media is booming creating opportunities for marketing-savvy businesses. But... Read More

Publicity - How To Get Your Story on Television

A press release telling about "Stevie, the Water-Skiing Squirrel" will... Read More