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Public Relations Mixup?

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, ... offline ... or website. A copy would be ... at ... Word count is 885 ... guidel

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. Word count is 885
including guidelines and resource box. Robert A. Kelly © 2003.

Public Relations Mixup?

When you pay good money for public relations services, you
have a right to expect its primary focus to be on your most
important outside audiences, those people whose behaviors
have the greatest impact on your operation.

Often, however, that primary focus is limited to a communi-
cations tactics debate about the relative merits of brochures
versus press releases versus newsletters instead of planning
how to achieve those key audience behaviors that directly
support your business objectives and make the difference
between success and failure.

Nothing wrong with communications tactics. They fit in just
fine later in the effort, as you will see. Only point here? Use
them for what they are, tactics, not a substitute for your
primary public relations effort.

To insure that you’re not wasting that PR budget, you really
need to stay in touch with your most important external
audiences. Then carefully monitor their perceptions about
your organization, their feelings and beliefs about hot topics
at issue, both of which lead to predictable, follow-on behaviors.

First, you need to list those external audiences that have the
most serious impacts on your organization. Rank them as to
those impacts and let’s work on the one at the top of the list.

Now, you and your colleagues must interact with members of
that outside audience and pose a lot of questions in order to
gather the information you need.

Listen carefully to what they say about your organization, its
products or services, and its management. Ask questions like
“What do you think of us? and Are you pleased with what
you know about us? Have you heard anything that you want
explained?” It’s important to watch for negativity in attitudes
and responses while staying alert to misconceptions, inaccuracies,
dangerous rumors and unfounded beliefs and opinions.

The good news is the body of knowledge you will gather. Here
are the facts you need to establish your public relations goal.
That is, the actual perception change followed by the behavior
change you want. Specifically, you may decide to spend your
resources on clearing up a serious misconception, turning
around that unfounded belief or killing that dangerous rumor
once and for all.

What to DO with that completed goal comes next. Luckily,
there are just three strategies to choose from when you deal
with perception and opinion. You can create perception/opinion
when there isn’t any, you can change existing opinion, or you
can reinforce it. It will be obvious which one to choose once
you’ve set your public relations goal.

It’s been real easy to this point, now you must prepare the
message that will hopefully alter the perception and behavior
of your target audience. It’s not easy. But it must be done in
a believable, persuasive and compelling manner. The message
must be clear and to the point with regard to exactly what is
incorrect or untruthful. Remember this about the message: its
only function is to alter existing perception on the part of
members of the target audience. So, the guidelines are clarity, persuasiveness and credibility.

Here we are at the “public relations stable” housing our “beasts
of burden” – your communications tactics whose job it is to
carry your message to the attention of those key target audience
members.

There is a really long list of tactics from which you can choose.
Letters-to-the-editor, news releases, speeches, briefings, personal
meetings, emails, newspaper and radio interviews and dozens
more. Main requirement? Do they have a proven record of
reaching the members of your target audience?

Are you making progress? Short of spending some real money
on professional surveys (the cost of which often exceeds the
entire public relations budget!), the best way to find out is to
interact again with members of that target audience. In addition
to being among the very people with whom you should regularly
interact anyway, you and your colleagues can now personally
assess attitudes, responses and degrees of awareness of your
organization as well as particular misconceptions, untruths,
inaccuracies or rumors.

Now, after six or eight weeks of your communications blitz,
the difference between these perceptions and those gathered
during the earlier interaction is that you are looking for signs
that perceptions are now moving in your direction.

Should you decide to speed up the process, you might add a
few more communication tactics to the mix, and increase their
frequencies. Another look at your message would also be in
order to reassure yourself that its factual base, clarity and
impact measure up.

Once your perception monitoring shows that you have
persuaded many target audience stakeholders towards your
way of thinking, you may be sure that instead of wasting
your PR budgetFree Reprint Articles, you are moving those stakeholders to
behaviors that will produce the public relations success
you want.

end

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

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:bobkelly@TNI.net
Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com



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