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Public Relations are a planned and sustained activity to help an institution create a social climate favorable for its growth. It is based on the fundamental belief that the survival of any enterprise, public or private depends today on the sensitive response to changes in public opinion.

The International Public Relations Association defines Public Relations as “Public Relations is the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which will serve both the organization’s and the public interest.” Public relation is a two way process. On the one hand it seeks to interpret an organization to society while on the other it keeps the organization informed about the expectation of the society. Fundamentally public relation is a means by which an organization improves its operating environment.


Role, Need & Importance of Public Relations
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The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) claimed in 1988: “Public relations help an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other."[According to the PRSA, the essential functions of public relations include research, planning, communications dialogue and evaluation. This project will help you generate positive media coverage and identify the media you should target. It will also tell you how you can go about writing a press release and give you tips for dealing with bad publicity. • The main goal of a public relations department is to enhance a company’s reputation. Staff that work in public relations, or as it is commonly known, PR, are skilled publicists. They are able to present a company or individual to the world in the best light. The role of a public relations department can be seen as a reputation protector. • The business world of today is extremely competitive. Companies need to have an edge that makes them stand out from the crowd, something that makes them more appealing and interesting to both the public and the media. The public are the buyers of the product and the media are responsible for selling it.

Public relations provide a service for the company by helping to give the public and the media a better understanding of how the company works. Within a company, public relations can also come under the title of public information or customer relations. These departments assist customers if they have any problems with the company. They are usually the most helpful departments, as they exist to show the company at their best.


• PR also helps the company to achieve its full potential. They provide feedback to the company from the public. This usually takes the form of research regarding what areas the public is most happy and unhappy with.

People often have the perception of public relations as a group of people who spin everything. Spin can mean to turn around a bad situation to the company’s advantage. It is true that part of the purpose of public relations is to show the company in a positive light no matter what. There are certain PR experts that a company can turn to for this particular skill.

• The public often think of PR as a glamorous job. Public relations people seem to have been tarred with the image of constant partying and networking to find new contacts. The reality is usually long hours and hard work for anyone involved in public relations. • There are certain skills necessary to work in the world of PR. These include a very high level of communication skills, written and verbal. The PR person must also be very adept at multitasking and time management. He or she may also have some form of media background or training in order to understand how the media and advertising work. Organizational and planning skills are also important in public relations. • The PR worker must also be able to cope very well under pressure. He or she must have the ability to cope with a barrage of questions from the media and the public. If a company comes under critical attack, it is the PR department who must take control of the situation. They must effectively answer the criticism and turn it around in order to protect the company’s reputation. • A public relations worker usually has some form of relevant college qualification. Competition for jobs in PR is fierce. A talented public relations person has the opportunity to work up from a junior account

Methods, Tools & Tactics
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executive to an account director in around five years. This is not a nine to five job; the hours are long and can be stressful. However, for successful PR workers, the pay is good and the perks may be even better. Today, "Public Relations is a set of management, supervisory, and technical functions that foster an organization's ability to strategically listen to, appreciate, and respond to those persons whose mutually beneficial relationships with the organization are necessary if it is to achieve its missions and values."Essentially it is a management function that focuses on two-way communication and fostering of mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics. Building and managing relationships with those who influence an organization or individual’s important audiences has a central role in doing public relations Public relations and publicity are not synonymous but many PR campaigns include provisions for publicity. Publicity is the spreading of information to gain public awareness for a product, person, service, cause or organization, and can be seen as a result of effective PR planning.

Publics targeting A fundamental technique used in public relations is to identify the target audience, and to tailor every message to appeal to that audience. It can be a general, nationwide or worldwide audience, but it is more often a segment of a population. Marketers often refer to economy-driven "demographics," such as "black males 18-49," but in public relations an audience is more fluid, being whoever someone wants to reach. There is also a psychographic grouping based on fitness level, eating preferences, "adrenaline junkies,"etc...


In addition to audiences, there are usually stakeholders, literally people who have a "stake" in a given issue. All audiences are stakeholders (or presumptive stakeholders), but not all stakeholders are audiences. For example, a charity commissions a PR agency to create an advertising campaign to raise money to find a cure for a disease. The charity and the people with the disease are stakeholders, but the audience is anyone who is likely to donate money. Sometimes the interests of differing audiences and stakeholders common to a PR effort necessitate the creation of several distinct but still complementary messages. This is not always easy to do, and sometimes – especially in politics – a spokesperson or client says something to one audience that angers another audience or group of stakeholders.

Meet and Greet Many businesses and organizations will use a Meet and Greet as a method of introducing two or more parties to each other in a comfortable setting. These will generally involve some sort of incentive, usually food catered from restaurants, to encourage employees or members to participate. Other • Publicity events, pseudo-events, photo ops or publicity stunts • The talk show circuit. A PR spokesperson (or his/her client) "does the circuit" by being interviewed on television and radio talk shows with audiences that the client wishes to reach. • Books and other writings

Media Relations
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• Blogs • Direct communication (carrying messages directly to constituents, rather than through the mass media) with, e.g., newsletters – in print and e-letters. • Collateral literature, traditionally in print and now predominantly as web sites. • Speeches to constituent groups and professional organizations; receptions; seminars, and other events; personal appearances. • The slang term for a PR practitioner or publicist is”flak" (sometimes spelled "flack"). • Interactive PR incorporate all forms of communication

Media Relations is the act of involvement with various media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization’s mission, policies and practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner. Typically, media relations involve coordinating directly with the people responsible for producing the news and features in the mass media. The goal of media relations is to maximize positive coverage in the mass media without paying for it directly through advertising. Many people use the terms "public relations" and "media relations" interchangeably; however, doing so is incorrect. The definition of media relations is somewhat narrower. Media relations refer to the relationship that a

company or organization develops with journalists, while public relations extend that relationship beyond the media to the general public. Dealing with the media presents unique challenges in that the news media cannot be controlled - they have ultimate control over whether news angles pitched to them are of interest to them or their audiences. Because of this, the ongoing facilitation of communication and relationships between an organization and the news media is vital. Working with the media on the behalf of an organization allows for awareness of the entity to be raised as well as the ability to create an impact with a chosen audience. It allows access to both large and small target audiences and helps build public support and mobilizing public opinion for an organization. This is all done through a wide range of media and can be used to encourage two-way communication. By using media relations effectively, public relations practitioners can enhance the reputation of their respective organizations while establishing good working relationships with journalists that will serve them well in future endeavors. Key elements of strategically based media relations • The media strategy is documented and implemented according to principles agreed between public affairs and senior management. • A media policy is drawn up with responsibilities, profiles and positioning. • Media activity is planned to reach target audiences in direct support of your organizational mission and goals.

• Media contact is broadly divided into proactive and reactive activities. • Systematic use of consistent messages is made (e.g. about organizational performance, issues, use of new technologies and corporate behavior including environmental policy, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility). • Spokespersons’ roles are documented, communicated and supported. • There are clear triggers for engagement as part of the issues management/stakeholder relations process. • Decisions are agreed beforehand on the follow-up activities after media coverage.

Creating a Media Team Within the "movement" there is the inclination to be egalitarian with respect to who should deal with the media. While this may create an atmosphere of internal fairness, it will not always get the desired results. In our early years, we shared responsibility, taking turns as spokesperson, making press calls, and writing press releases, believing that everyone should have an opportunity to be our PR person. As times changed, and we saw

Managing the Media
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our work in increasingly life and death terms, we recognized that those we serve deserve the best we can provide, rather than it offering an "experience" for those who may not be well suited for the job. Lives depend on what we do, and we must never lose sight of that truth. Very often, those who are on the other side of issues that we support have more money, more power, more access. We can only create an equality of dialogue through our creativity, our commitment, and a professionalism that is equal to theirs. A professional approach to handling the media thus becomes essential. A good, solid media team includes three important roles: a media coordinator, a writer, and a spokesperson. Each is critical to the others, and each is also vital independently to the process of effective media management. Roles may overlap, and often can be handled by the same person, but each position must be covered.

The Media Coordinator

The media coordinator must be someone who is personable, can succinctly articulate the issues, and is willing to spend a great deal of time on the telephone. This person makes sure press releases go out on time, keeps media lists updated, makes press calls, and works actively behind the scenes during events. The media coordinator should become as well-known behind the camera as the organization's spokesperson is in front of it. One person handling press calls can cultivate important relationships with assignment desk personnel, news producers, and camera people. These people are key to getting the coverage of events you need, and the kind of coverage you want.

Get to know these important people. Always remember that they are people, too. Find out who they are, if they have children, what they enjoy. Make them your best friends, take them to lunch. Develop a personal and working relationship with these pivotal members of the media. They are used to drones calling with stories, and are disarmed by people who actually care about who they are. Make sure they know you are serious about your issue, but don't be so boring or intense that they don't want to talk to you. Be pushy -- but not obnoxious. The important thing is to make sure that someone who can do something takes your call -- that you are not shuffled off to an intern who simply writes down facts and then puts them aside because they don't understand the importance or the urgency of your call. At the same time, interns may someday become assignment desk editors, so don't discount them entirely. At an event, the media coordinator ensures that all press people receive a statement or handout, that all those present are acknowledged, that all props and sound equipment are in place, that one-on-one interview requests are satisfied, that the photo-op is the one that has been planned beforehand (i.e., that the right people are standing in the right place, etc.), and that the event runs smoothly. The spokesperson should not have to think about these things -- he or she needs to focus attention on what is to be said and not be distracted by details. Again, get to know the people who are there on and off camera. A friendly camera operator can help you get the picture or image you want to project; a producer can spin the story your way. ✔ The Spokesperson While the spokesperson must be someone who is articulate, he/she should also be more than that. He/She should be a good listener, have camera presence, be well-informed about your issue, be able to think quickly on his/her feet, have credibility, be able to develop a good rapport with a reporter, and be intuitive enough to know when a reporter is not friendly.


Know your interviewers. Do they have a reputation for honest reporting? Are they sympathetic to your issue? Are they fair? Or combative? If you want to learn to be a good spokesperson, spend time listening to others who are good at the job. Research your issue until you know it inside and out and can hold your own in a conversation or debate. Think through each question that you are likely to be asked, and consider carefully the possible responses. Always be ready to revise and refine. Listen for "good lines" that others may use. Be humble. You always have more to learn ✔ The Writer Finally, the writer creates the undergirding for all your press events. Clear, concise, effective writing is essential. Because someone is articulate does not mean he/she can write. Have a good editor available to "tighten up" news releases. Everything that is written and released must reflect accurately the position of your organization. Make sure more than one set of eyes from the media team reviews what goes out.


Handling the Media
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Never lie to a reporter. If you don't know an answer, simply say so, but add that you will be happy to find out and get back to them. If you are not at liberty to discuss a particular aspect, again, say so, but never lie. Your lie will be discovered, and a good story will turn bad. Don't be forced into saying something you don't want to say. If you don't feel comfortable answering a particular question, answer the one you want asked. Be clear about the point you want to get across. Always bring the discussion back to your points. It is important to realize that much of the substance you want to communicate gets lost. The quote that is inevitably used is the one that is the most colorful. Make it count. Everything else becomes background. Always remember that your story is in competition with many others. Only seventeen minutes of each half-hour news show is actually news. When you consider time spent on sports, entertainment, weather, and other items the time is even shorter. Your event needs to be interesting enough to capture a few of those precious minutes. If you have a story, get it out with your own spin instead of waiting for the other side to do their twist on the truth. If you know there is going to be a negative story, counter it someplace else first. Be smart. Be professional. Learn from others. Invite friendly media people to come to your organization to give workshops on interviews, and other topics. Understand the media people you are trying to influence and make sure they understand you.


Creating a Media Event
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We often hear complaints from other activists that the media never covers their events, or that their message is distorted. While reporters often lack depth, or the ability or time to investigate a story thoroughly, quite often the problem is with the source. You must not only be able to communicate your story properly, you must also be able to create an interesting story that is worth telling -- and maybe worth retelling. If you are able to generate ongoing debate about your topic, all the better. Controversy is sometimes your best publicity. Three elements can increase the possibility of coverage of your event: interesting people, interesting places, and interesting subjects. 1. Interesting People If you don't have a person in your organization who can attract press attention, try to find someone who can. Whether we like it or not, the reality is that some people are media stars. Build relationships with those people, involve them in your issue, and don't hesitate to ask them to stand with you. Stars also come with egos that need to be stroked, and sometimes handling them can be more difficult than handling the media, so beware. The other type of person who is a magnet for the media is one who can provide the human-interest story -- the victim of the policy you are addressing. Be sure the person is a sympathetic person who can present himself/herself well. Interview the individual yourself first. Don't take someone else's word for this person's credibility or believability. Ask all the embarrassing questions that a reporter might ask. Don't let yourself be surprised too late when the camera is rolling. In your pre-interview, spend some time helping the person craft answers that better

communicate what he/she is trying to say. If necessary, gently recommend grooming changes. If clothes are needed, help out. 2. Interesting Places Whenever possible, hold your event somewhere that will reflect your message. Create an effective backdrop. If you are addressing the lack of affordable housing, then go to empty public housing. If you are speaking about militarism, go to a military base. Try to find a place where members of the press don't usually go, but be sure it isn't so far afield that they can't find it (or want to). 3. Interesting Subjects One of the most overlooked and yet important elements in creating an interesting media event are visuals. "Talking heads" at press conferences are boring and commonplace. Find a way to make visible what it is you are trying to communicate. When planning a press event always keep in mind the photo-opt what photo do you want to appear in the paper or on the evening news? Make sure the picture says something. A picture really can be worth a thousand words. The best visual is the one that requires the fewest words to explain. The more words that are required, the more obtuse the message. Only one sentence should be used & the picture should say the rest.


How to get Media Coverage?
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You could send out press releases on the same story to a number of outlets. But you'll need to tailor each release to the audience. For example, a small engineering company wins a big Italian order with a new manufacturing technique which it uses under license. The press release for the trade and technical press highlights the success of the technique and the company's use of innovation. The press release for the local paper is about increased employment and the prestige for the town in beating foreign competition. There are many natural PR opportunities:

• • • • • •

a new product launch new premises new members of staff an important new order involvement with a charity significant anniversaries, eg your 1,000th customer business partnerships

And you can create publicity opportunities: • submit articles for publication • commission a survey on serious or fun issues and send the results to the press • suggest a newspaper competition with your product as the prize • give expert opinions and volunteer quotes • send letters to the editor on business topics using your business address


How to Improve Media Relation Skills
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You can have all the facts, know what you want to say, and believe that your message is important to your market, yet never get a single media placement. Could it be the way you are communicating? Listed below are 10 highly effective tips to improving your communication with the media and efficiently increasing media exposure for your company or client. 1. Know the reporter and the publication before picking up the phone. First, build a targeted media list of the publications that may have an interest in what you’re pitching, and then determine which journalists you should be talking to at those publications. If you are pitching a portal story to a technology magazine, for instance, don’t begin emailing and calling all of the reporters you can find at the magazine. You will be wasting time and reducing your chances of coverage by aggravating the staff. Once you know who to target, you should also find out what he/she has recently written to understand the subtleties of their coverage area. This will help you create targeted pitches and story ideas that are both compelling and relevant. 2. Always know how and when a reporter wants to be contacted. Some reporters want phone calls, others prefer email, and still others want news the old-fashioned way – by snail mail. In





the case of breaking news, some reporters even recommend that you call them on their mobile phone if they can’t be reached at their desk. Contacting reporters inappropriately or at the wrong time – such as on deadline – can lead to damaged relationships. Clarify your message before delivering your pitch. There is nothing worse for a reporter than receiving an email that is a carbon copy of a press release, or getting a call from someone that is not familiar with the company they are pitching or the news they are announcing. Develop a bulleted “fast facts” sheet, especially for phone pitches, that outlines your key message points. Most reporters are extremely busy and will give you only 30 seconds to make your case. They will not bite on your idea if you don’t offer a convincing argument. When sending ideas via email, always include a short, pithy pitch along with your contact information. It is important to make the reporter’s job as easy as possible so make sure to provide the most important news in the first paragraph. You should also include the company’s URL, as a reporter will often times visit the company’s Web site before calling back. Editors and reporters get hundreds of emails a day, so entice them into calling you for more information or, even better, to set up an interview. Be careful what you send via email. Never send unsolicited email attachments, as some reporters will be wary of opening them due to virus concerns, and others simply won’t take the time. In addition, always craft a catchy subject line but avoid using all caps or excessive punctuation as both tactics produce a red flag that your pitch might be a virus. Finally, never send out a group email with your entire distribution list in the header. It’s impersonal and shows a lack of effort on your part. When calling a reporter, introduce yourself fully, reference previous conversations to jog the reporter’s memory on who you are and why you’re calling, and ask whether it is a good time to talk. The press gets flooded with calls, so be as specific as possible. The more general you are,

the less likely your chances for success. As you develop a stronger relationship with the reporter, they will know you the minute they pick up the phone, making it easier to get their ear. 7. When you get a reporter on the phone, always ask what they are working on and how you can help. This will allow you to uncover new opportunities that will allow you to position your news by way of a different point of view. Also, be sure to provide assistance even if it won’t necessarily benefit your company or client today. Eventually, the reporter will come to you with new story opportunities – rather than the other way around. 8. Never make promises you cannot keep. Nothing will squelch a media relationship faster than if you promise something you cannot deliver. Promise to do your best to get the reporter what they need in advance of their deadline, and always follow through. However, if you won’t be able to come through, let them know as early as possible. 9. Follow up aggressively. While some reporters will provide coverage after one phone interview, that is often not enough. It is important to be in front of reporters on a consistent basis with compelling information that demonstrates what you are pitching is viable, credible and worthy of coverage. Also be sure to offer reporters the additional elements they would need to round out their story – photos, customer references, analyst references and additional sources, if necessary. You need to be able to provide these elements at the drop of a hat – so have the information ready in advance 10.Whenever possible, pitch by phone. This will get you better results and allow you to build the relationships you need to ensure consistent success. Plus, it’s much easier for a reporter to delete an email or send a quick “no” than it is to hang up on you. When using the phone, leave one message only, and then continue to call the reporter at different times of the day (nondeadline times, of course) until you catch them live. Once you have them on the line, it is much

easier to make your case, as you can engage a reporter in a conversation and handle objections as they arise. Media relations are critical to an effective public relations plan. It is important to develop a strong understanding of the media and how best to communicate with them. Once you develop these basic – yet key – fundamentals, you will improve message adoption, which in turn will generate better results.

Public Relations Across Cultures
Building international communication bridges.

The Public Relations (PR) industry is responsible for creating and maintaining relationships between clients and customers. Through areas such as brand management, advertising, media relations and crisis management, PR practitioners seek to foster interest, trust and belief in a product or company. PR practitioners are aware of how best to carry this out when dealing within their own nations and cultures, however, when dealing with a foreign audience it is critical that cross cultural differences are recognized. By way of illustrating the impact cross cultural awareness can have on the success or failure of a PR campaign a brief example can be cited Pepsodent tried to sell its toothpaste in Southeast Asia by emphasizing that it "whitens your teeth." They found out that the local natives chew betel nuts to blacken their teeth because they found it attractive. Had the PR Company

behind this campaign analyzed the cross cultural issues related to Pepsodent's product, the failure of this PR campaign could have been avoided. Cross cultural differences can make or break a PR campaign. It is therefore crucial that PR practitioners dealing with PR campaigns that incorporate a cross cultural element analyses likely cross cultural differences. A few key areas shall be highlighted in order to help PR practitioners begin to consider how culture may affect future projects. Language and Culture In order for a PR campaign to be successful abroad, an appreciation of the target language and its cultural nuances is necessary. The PR and advertising industries are littered with examples of poor translations and a lack of cross cultural understanding leading to PR failure. For example, when Ford launched the 'Pinto' in Brazil they were puzzled as to why sales were dead. Fortunately they found out that Brazilians did not want to be seen driving a car meaning 'small male genitals' and promptly changed the name. Translation of documents, slogans and literature must be checked and double checked for meanings and cross cultural nuances. This should not only take place between languages but also within languages. Even in English there are cross cultural differences in meanings. For example, the airline UAL headlined an article about Paul Hogan, star of Crocodile Dundee, with, "Paul Hogan Camps it up" which unfortunately in the UK and Australia is slang for "flaunting homosexuality". The Spoken Word Areas where the spoken word is used in PR, such as press conferences or interviews, should be prepared for within a cross cultural framework. In short, speaking styles and the content used differs across cultures.

British and American communication styles are described as 'explicit', meaning messages are conveyed solely through words. Correlating background information is deemed necessary and divulged, ambiguity is avoided and spoken words have literal meaning. In many other cultures, communication is 'implicit'. The message listeners are likely to interpret is based on factors such as who is speaking, the context and non-verbal cues. Spoken words do not fully convey the whole story as listeners are expected to read between the lines. With relation to content, speakers must be aware of the cross cultural differences in humor, metaphors, aphorisms and anecdotes. In addition, references to topics such as politics and/or religion can be a very sensitive issue in other cultures. When the spoken word is used the cross cultural distinctions of the target culture must be incorporated in order to help the speaker appeal to and identify with the audience.

The Written Word Press releases, features and copywriting all require a certain amount of cross cultural sensitivity when being applied abroad. Journalistic traditions, writing styles, news worthiness, delivery systems and whether a 'free press' exists are all areas that will affect how the written word is tailored. In addition, the most important point, from a cross cultural perspective, is how to write in a way that engages the readers in that society or culture. Some cultures may prefer colorful and inspirational writing, others factual and objective. Some may be motivated by language that incorporates a religious or moral tone, others by a moneyorientated or materialistic one.


When writing, the first step should always be to look at and integrate the cross cultural particulars of the target audience. Communication Channels PR practitioners employ many different communication channels when trying to circulate information relating to their campaign. The main channels of communication in the UK or America are the radio, the press, TV, internet and public spaces. However, these channels may not always be applicable abroad. In many countries the radio, TV or newspapers may not be the primary source of information. Literacy rates may be poor and/or radios may be expensive. In Africa, only 1.4% of the populations have access to the internet. Even where such channels of communication do exist, such as TV, some methods used by PR practitioners, namely guerrilla marketing, would be interpreted differently in foreign countries. For example, interrupting live TV may be laughed at in the UK but in other countries it would be seen as irresponsible and rebellious. The usual channels of communication in some countries would simply have no effect in terms of PR. In such countries, local alternatives need to be sought such as religious leaders, tribal chiefs, school teachers or NGO's. Information coming from such figures will not only reach the audience but be perceived as more credible than if it were from foreigners. PR Materials The use of publicity materials in PR campaigns such as logos, slogans, pictures, colors and designs must all be cross culturally examined. Pictures of seemingly innocuous things in one culture could mean something different in another. For example, a company advertised eyeglasses in Thailand by featuring a variety of cute animals wearing glasses. The ad failed as animals are considered to be a low form of life in Thailand and no self respecting

Press Releases
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Thai would wear anything worn by animals. Similarly, logos or symbols are culturally sensitive. A soft drink was introduced into Arab countries with an attractive label that had a six-pointed star on it. The Arabs interpreted this as pro-Israeli and refused to buy it. Conclusion The above cited areas are but a few of those that require decent cross cultural assessment by PR practitioners if they wish their international and cross cultural campaigns to succeed. The aim of implementing a cross cultural analysis in PR is to build campaigns that target the audience as best as possible, meaning appealing to their world view while avoiding offense.

Timing the Press Release and Call


A press release can serve a number of purposes. It is usually used to announce an event but can be used as a handout, can become a position paper, or can be used to educate the media about a topic. In any case, it is always important to have something in writing. Timing the release is important. If your event is planned well in advance it is good to mail it out at least a week ahead to ensure its inclusion on calendars. Sometimes, however, this is not possible. If a short lead time is all you have, faxing the release works just as well. When you must fax the release, be sure to target the person most likely to be interested in the event, since it is difficult to send to everyone on your list. In some cases, there is no time for a press release at all. If you plan a clandestine action, or if something develops quickly and unpredictably, there may be only enough time for a press call as you walk out the door. On occasions when we wanted to surprise someone, and could not release the information early, we took lots of quarters and a press list with us and called from a pay phone as our action was in progress. Sometimes, if we have been working with a particular reporter we feel we can trust, we release the information in advance to that person only, with the understanding that it must not be leaked to others. On other occasions we have called the media in advance and suggested that they would get a good story and picture if they appeared at a certain corner at a certain time. Because we have enough credibility with our local media, and because we don't use that tactic often, they usually show up. All press releases should be followed with a press call. Be thorough with your calls. This is when your past dealings with producers and assignment desk personnel are important. Always ask for the person you know best. Be persistent. Just because your story was not covered after your last call, or even the last ten calls, does not mean that it will not be covered this time. Sometimes it depends on what else newsworthy is going on at the time, but good, persistent press work tends to have a cumulative effect.

Writing the Release Press releases are the first encounter a media outlet will have with your event. While you want to be thorough and include all the information, and the underlying data, you also need to be succinct. In some large media markets, hundreds of press releases can cross an assignment desk each day. If your release is too wordy, it will likely be ignored. The first paragraph should include the "five W's" -- who, what, where, when, and why. Don't forget, your first goal is to get them to come to your event. If you have a high-profile person who will attract media, include his name in this first paragraph. The next paragraphs should include an expansion on the purpose of the event, and some history of what led up to it. Don't assume that the person who will be reading the release will necessarily be up to date on recent developments in your issue. If the location of your event is significant, include a discussion of its importance. It is also important to include some brief background material on any special people who will be in attendance. The release should include a quote from the spokesperson for your organization. Try to be pithy, clear, and to the point. This will very often be the quote used in the print media. Make it count. Finally, include a brief description of your organization. This is particularly important if you are a new organization, a re-formed organization, or as yet unknown to the media. Before you write your release, sit down and list the points you wish to make. Be clear. Don't ramble. While you need to include enough background information to educate, you don't need to say everything in the release. That is the purpose of the press event.


The form of the press release can vary. There are, however, a few elements common to all press releases. Always begin with the date the information can be released. Somewhere at the top of the page type "PRESS RELEASE" several times. All press releases end with "# # #" or "-30-" typed in the middle of the page toward the bottom of the release. Be sure to include contact names (it is best to have two names) and their phone numbers. Press releases should always be printed on your letterhead. Press Calls In many ways the press calls you make are more important than the press release. Although it is critical to have a written press statement that can be delivered or faxed upon request, it is during the call that you have the opportunity to really sell your story. In addition, press calls give the assignment desk person or the reporter the opportunity to ask questions, clarify the issue, and develop the "background" information that will be necessary to give depth to your story. It is during press calls that important relationships begin to be forged with the media outlet. Be sensitive to the people on the other end of the telephone. If they seem rushed, don't keep them any longer than you need to. If they seem to have more time, chat them up. Think through what you have to say very carefully before you ever lift the receiver. Write it down or rehearse it if necessary. Start with the less important calls in order to smooth and develop your "rap." Be succinct and clear, yet prepared to go into details if there is an opportunity. Always get the "who," "what," "where," and "when" out first. While the "why" is important, your first purpose is to get the news crew to the event.


Learn the names of assignment desk editors, and always keep them updated on your press list. When developing your list it may be useful to call the news outlets and get the names of these important people (weekend assignment editors are often different than weekday editors). Ask for them by name. You are less likely to get shuffled off to an intern if you can ask for a specific person. Always try to work with the same person -- this is how relationships develop. A typical press call should begin like this: "Hello, this is Carol Fennelly at the Community for Creative NonViolence. I'm calling to be sure you received the press release we sent about the rally to oppose the closing of city shelters scheduled for Monday, December 2 at 12 noon at the District Building." Be sure to leave your telephone number so you can be reached for follow-up questions. If you can go into greater detail, go for it. But again, be sensitive to the person on the other end of the line. If the reporter seems to be rushing, don't irritate him/her with more verbiage. Your message is out, and they will call back when they have more time. If your press release has been lost among the hundreds that have crossed their desk, fax or deliver another immediately. Have an assistant ready to get it out quickly, while you are still on their mind. Once you have made a few initial practice calls, follow this procedure. Start with the wire services (i.e., Associated Press and United Press International) since they can rapidly get the news out to everybody else. Follow those calls with television stations, since they have more staff to try to get to the location of your media function. Those contacts should be followed with calls to newspapers next, then radio stations. Don't forget those independent news feeds mentioned earlier. Calls should always be made the morning of the event. You can generally get a good sense of who to expect to show up. If you have enough time, calls should also be made one or two days before as well. If we have a large

event scheduled, and know well in advance that it is going to occur, we send out a press release the week before, make calls two days prior, and the morning of the event. Be thorough. What does not get a response the first time, only builds for your next call. No call is a wasted call. Each one helps keep your cause in the forefront. The PSA The public service announcement serves many purposes. It raises consciousness, educates, announces an event, or generates funds or other material needs. Depending upon the type of PSA you create, a radio or TV station may air it at no cost. Most stations have an employee assigned to deal with public affairs. That person is responsible for deciding which public service announcements get on the air. When you have a PSA, contact that person well in advance to find out what kind of lead time they may need. If you are producing a taped PSA find out what format they need (i.e., television stations usually want 3/4" or 1 " tape, while radio stations may want reel-to-reel or cassette). Stations will usually only run 10, 30, or 60 second announcements. Prepare them in all three lengths. If your public service announcement endorses a candidate, specific legislation, or promotes merchandise, it is considered advertising, and you will be charged a fee. If you are simply educating, you can usually find a station to air it at no cost. In addition, stations often have community billboards to advertise events, volunteer needs, or material needs (although they may not be willing to make fundraising pleas). Community billboard-type announcements are better submitted in writing for announcers to read on the air. Also, if you do not have the ability to prepare your own taped PSA, write it down (again, in 10, 30 and 60 second versions) and submit it. Be sure to read it out loud to verify the length of each version.

8 Requirements for Successful Press Releases
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1. Does it include what an editor wants? Editors want press releases that cover: who, what, where, when, how does it work, how much does it cost and why will readers want to know about it. A list of sources that back up the facts in the release is very helpful. 2. Does it include news that can be used by a publication's readers? You should always read the last couple of issues of any news publication or website where you want your news to show up. Try to find recent articles on similar subject matter and research what type of information the reporter included. Cover the same types of topics in your press releases that the reporter covers in their story and you'll greatly improve the chances that your press release gets selected for a story. 3. Does it include what problem the product/service solves? Make sure your release does a thorough job of explaining how the product works. The reporter should be able to read the release and completely understand what your product does. You might let someone outside your company read the release and see if they can answer your questions on what the product or service does. If a novice can understand the release, you're in good shape. If not, you re-write it until they can. 4. What is the typical return on investment if the reader decides to buy the product?


Also cover how the product will provide a return on investment for the reader who buys the service. If you can show an editor the return, suddenly your release will become newsworthy for their readers.

5. Does it have some supporting graphics to go with the story? Sending a graphic such as a shot of the product, a chart showing performance results, network diagrams or anything that gives a visual picture of what the release is talking about, the release will have 25% better chance of being published. 6. Does it have the right keywords included? Keywords are critical to a press release's ultimate success. All news portals and most smart reporters now subscribe to News Alerts that fetch news stories based on certain keywords. If you want your release to be picked up by many different news portals, engineer your release with the right mix of keywords for each site. If your product serves more than one industry, write a standard press release with the features and benefits, and then craft an industry paragraph that uses industry specific buzzwords. For example, if your company sells human resources software packages, write a release that touts the benefits of the software, but also write up a paragraph for healthcare, construction companies or any other vertical segment that fits. Make sure that the headline and the industry paragraph are in synch with the target publication and you'll get exposure across multiple industry segments. 7. Does the release tell the whole story?


Old school public relations pros would tell you to keep a release short and to the point. That was before computers existed and the Internet was born. Nowadays, their are hundreds of websites worldwide that publish press releases as is, with no edits. So if you tell the whole story in the release, the whole story will be presented to readers everywhere. Reporters are always on tight deadlines. Most reporters don't write more than 5-10 stories a week. The easier you make it for them to cut a fully developed story from your press release and paste into their publication's story development system, the easier it will be for you to get a story covered. 8. Does the release have a call to action? Just like an advertisement, all press releases should offer a call to action. Invite them to visit a website, download a free whitepaper, or fill out a form to request addition information. If you have something to sell, ask them to buy it online. Remember, the purpose of public relations and advertising is to generate sales, which ultimately provides a good return on investment for your marketing dollars. Think of mindshare awareness, education and credibility as the fringe benefits.


Using Public Relations to Increase Sales
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Five Ways Press Releases Can Increase Your Sales 1. Use Press Releases to Sell Product Direct - Some products can be sold directly from links contained in press releases. This is especially true now that the Internet has made it possible to buy products on line with a credit card. Selling direct works best for products that have clearly defined benefits and are not available through retail outlets. They should have some degree of inherent excitement and be priced under $1,000. It also works well for supplies and other commodity items that can be grouped together by category and offered in a catalog format. There are literally millions of websites using this approach. 2. Use Press Releases to Generate Sales Leads - For smaller firms with limited budgets the best use of public relations is to generate immediate business leads that can be converted to sales. This type of release encourages a reader to respond to some type of free offer - usually a free white paper, a free initial consultation, a free estimate, a free evaluation of a problem, or some other type free information.

Readers are willing to trade their contact information in order to get the free offer. The business leads generated through this process can add tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars to gross sales every year. 3. Use Press Releases to Educate Future Customers - Press releases are a great way to educate customers about your products/services, your business philosophy and why potential customers should do business with your company. For example, one our clients wrote a series of press releases that showed how wireless technology could provide broadband Internet services to areas that didn't have DSL or cable modem broadband services. Their press releases demonstrated the key differences between wired and wireless technology, explained why wireless was more cost effective and stressed be ease of use benefits that wired broadband couldn't deliver. In 2001, no one had ever heard of a Wi-Fi Hotspot or a Wireless ISP. Today wireless technology is making the headlines everywhere. The Broadband Wireless Exchange (BWE) Magazine was and still is the world's best source for broadband wireless news and "how-to" information. Their success started with a single press release that introduced wireless technology and explained its benefits. 4. Use Press Releases to Create Mind Share Awareness - There are many products, services and ideas on the market today. A big part of a public relation executive's job is to simply make sure people and reporters are aware that your company offers a product or service that could potentially solve their business problems. The BWE example mentioned above is the perfect example. BWE did not need to convince prospects that their site was better than the competition, because when they started, they had no direct competitors. BWE's only challenge was to make potential customers aware (a) that building broadband wireless networks was more cost effective than building wired networks, and (b) that BWE was a recognized authority and expert on how to build these types of networks.

After releasing a series of press releases on the benefits of wireless networking and providing links back to the company's website on "How to Build Wireless Networks," their web traffic rose from less than 10,000 hits per month to more than 6 million per month. The site is now the largest website of its kind in the world. 5. Use Press Releases for Cost Effective Marketing - Unlike advertising, public relations is the most cost effective way to market your products and services. Placing an ad in a typical trade publication costs around $10,000 for a page 4-color bleed. This advertisement will only be read for one cycle of the publication's print run. And, the advertisement is never seen online, so the maximum exposure you'll get is 50,000 - 100,000 readers. The cost to write and issue an 800-word press release, plus national newswire distribution can be as low as $2,000 (shorter releases cost much less). But unlike advertising, press releases show up everywhere, and if they actually lead to stories in news print and websites, their value increases dramatically. They literally have the potential to generate stories in hundreds of thousands of newspapers, trade publications, Blogs and news portals worldwide. One place our releases show up frequently is They receive around 100 million page views per day. It is hard to beat that kind of exposure for $2,000.

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Questions you can Expect Reporters to ask during an Interview
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If you are being interviewed by a newspaper, magazine or television reporter, don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t have to prepare for the interview. In some cases, if the reporter makes an appointment to meet with you in person, you may have several days to prepare. But a reporter may call when you least expect it and need your comments immediately for a story that will appear in the following day’s newspaper, or on that night’s TV newscast. Not knowing what kinds of questions reporters ask, or being unprepared for a killer question that comes out of left field, can leave you feeling frazzled and uncomfortable, and you might give a response that makes you come off sounding angry, defensive or confused.

Here are the types of questions you can expect reporters to ask, and tips on how to prepare for them. Name, Rank and Serial Number Early in the interview, reporters will want most of the basics from you, depending on what the story is about. One of the reasons they do this is that they can pitch you softball questions that you feel more comfortable answering, then ask tougher questions as the interview proceeds. Provide a media kit that offers your one-page professional profile, a history of your company, a simple Q&A sheet listing the most frequently asked questions, or a fact sheet about your organization. You can save the reporter a lot of time. Offer to drop off the media kit at the newspaper office if the reporter is local, or use an overnight delivery service. If you have this information posted at your web site, give the reporter your URL.

“Can I interview you over lunch?” Be careful. If it’s a sensitive story that you feel might not present you in the best light, don’t agree to this because it means you will probably be stuck sitting with the reporter for at least an hour. Simply tell the reporter that a lunch or breakfast interview would be difficult for you to schedule, but that you can give them 20 minutes or a half hour in your office during business hours. If the interview is on your turf, there are all sorts of ways to get rid of the reporter early, such as faking an emergency meeting with your boss. If the story is innocent enough, there’s no harm in meeting with a reporter over lunch, however. “What is your annual revenue? How does that compare to the last three years?”

How to take Advantage of Public Relations
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Many business people get rattled when reporters ask these questions. If your company is publicly held, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t offer this information. If you are privately held, or if you are a small business, answer the questions if you can. It helps the reporter understand how your business is doing now compared to three years ago. If you cannot give these figures for competitive reasons, at least give a range, such as “Between $250,000 and $500,000.” “How did you come up with the money for this (business, project, program)?” Explain how in general terms. You don’t have to give all the details. “What is the worst business mistake you ever made that you learned from?” Don’t be embarrassed. Everyone has a worst business mistake. Anticipate this question and prepare your response. The media love to help their readers and viewers avoid other people’s mistakes. Rather than just naming the blunder, explain how others can avoid making it.

• Decide once and for all to do something about those outside audiences whose behaviors affect your organization the most. • When members of those “publics" of yours perceive and understand who and what you are, and like what they see, the behaviors that flow from those perceptions will put a smile on your face.

• Good things happen like converting sales prospects into customers, convincing existing customers to stay with you, or even toning down activist rhetoric. Even internally, productivity often increases when employees conclude that you really do care about them. • It’s all possible when you commit your organization to confront head-on those key target audience perceptions and behaviors. • Easy to do? Well, it’s not so hard when you have a roadmap to guide you. • Right at the top, try listing, say, your top three outside audiences whose behaviors can really affect the success of your organization. Let’s pick the audience at the top of the list and go to work on it. • Can’t take any chances on being wrong about what they think of you, so now’s the time to start interacting with audience members. Ask a lot of questions. What do they think of your services or products? Is there a hint of negativity in their answers? Do you detect the evil effects of a rumor? Are their facts inaccurate and in need of correction? • What information gathering like this does for you is let you form a public relations goal. It could be as simple as correcting an inaccurate perception, clearing up a misconception or spiking that nasty rumor. Your goal might even have to take aim at a widespread belief that’s just plain wrong. • With your goal set, how will you actually affect those perceptions? Of course, that takes a successful strategy. But when it comes down to really doing something about opinion, we have only three ways to go: create opinion if there is none, change existing opinion, or reinforce it. Just make sure the strategy you choose flows logically from the public relations goal you set.


• What exactly will you say to the members of your key target audience? Well, that depends largely on what changes in perception and, thus, behaviors you want. Your message must be clear as a mountain stream and, above all, factually believable and persuasive. It should be direct and as compelling as possible. Might help to try it out on one or two audience members and get their reactions. • Dare I call this part fun? Communications tactics, I mean? There are dozens available and they all will reach members of your key target audience with varying degrees of efficiency. You could use personal meetings, emails, letters-to-the-editor and brochures, or you could try open houses, speeches, radio interviews and even a news conference. There are many, many more. • But now, you can’t avoid this. You must once again interact with members of your key target audience or you will never know if your goal, strategy, message and communications tactics ever worked. • When you again meet with these individuals, you’ll be asking questions similar to your first opinion monitoring session. • Difference this time is that you’re hot on the trail of altered perceptions because you know they will almost always lead to the change in behavior you really want. • Does it look like you were successful in cleaning up that misconception? Or in rooting out that wrong but deep- seated belief? Or shooting big round holes in that mischievous rumor? • If you’re not happy with your progress, consider altering the mix and frequency of your communications tactics. And don’t forget to take a hard look at your message. Was it REALLY clear? Did your facts and figures support your contention that the rumor is not only unfair, but hurtfully wrong?


• Finally, as noted at the top of this piece, when members of your key audiences really understand you and your organization, good things usually happen. Things that really will put that smile on your face.

Positive Publicity via Effective Public Relations


Conclusion Disadvantages of Public Relations
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Perhaps, the major disadvantage of PR is the potential for not completing communication process. While PR messages can break through the clutter of commercials, the receiver may not make the connection to the source. Many firms’ PR efforts are never associated with their sponsors in the public mind. Advertisements are often more eye catching than a small press release. PR may also mis-fire through mis management and a lack of co-ordination with the marketing department. When the marketing and PR department operate independently, there is a danger of inconsistence communication, redundancies in efforts and so on.

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What we learn from this project is that Public relations include ongoing activities to ensure the organization has a strong public image. It also includes activities like helping the public to understand the organization and its products. Similar to effective advertising and promotions, effective public relations often depends on designing and implementing a well-designed public relations plan. The plan often includes description of what you want to convey to whom, how you plan to convey it, who is responsible for various activities and by when, and how much money is budgeted to fund these activities. Similar to advertising and promotions, a media plan and calendar can be very useful, which specifies what media methods that are used and when.

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Public relations are conducted through the media that is, newspapers, television, magazines, etc. Publicity is mention in the media. Organizations usually have little control over the message in the media, at least, not as much as they do in advertising. Regarding publicity, reporters and writers decide what will be said. For effective Public Relations we should consider: What groups of stakeholders do we want to appeal to and how? What impressions do you want each of your stakeholders to have? What communications media do they see or prefer the most? Consider advertising, collaborations, annual reports, networking, TV, radio, newsletters, classifieds, displays/signs, posters, word of mouth, direct mail, special events, brochures, neighborhood newsletters, etc. What media is most practical for you to use in terms of access and affordability? What messages are most appealing to each stakeholder group? Just as understanding the requirements of your market is important in selling a product or service, understanding the needs of the relevant media is critical in a successful public relations effort.

Successful PR is All about Understanding the Media!!!

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