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How to Take Advantage of Public Relations

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, ... offline ... or website. A copy would be ... at ... Net word count is 760 ... gu

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your
ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would
be appreciated at Net word count is 760
including guidelines and resource box. Robert A. Kelly © 2003.

How to Take Advantage of Public Relations

Decide once and for all to do something about those outside
audiences whose behaviors affect your organization the most.

When members of those ďpublicsĒ 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.

Itís all possible when you commit your organization to
confront head-on those key target audience perceptions
and behaviors.

Easy to do? Well, itís 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. Letís pick the audience at the top of
the list and go to work on it.

Canít take any chances on being wrong about what they
think of you, so nowís 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

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 thatís
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

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 canít 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, youíll be
asking questions similar to your first opinion monitoring

Difference this time is that youíre 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 youíre not happy with your progress, consider altering
the mix and frequency of your communications tactics.
And donít 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

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.



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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.
Visit: http://www.prcommentary

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