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"Publicrelationistas?"

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, ... offline ... or website. A copy would be ... at ... Word count is 765 ... 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 765
including guidelines and resource box. Robert A. Kelly © 2003.

“Publicrelationistas?”

Is that what we are? Fanatic, over-the-top disciples of some
wretched obsession?

Well, maybe not fanatic, or even wretched or obsessive, but
certainly SOLD on the reality that people act on their own
perception of the facts before them, leading to predictable
behaviors. And equally sold on the next step too, create,
change or reinforce that perception/opinion by reaching,
persuading and moving-to-desired-action those people whose
behaviors affect the organization.

Why am I sold on what amounts to a fundamental premise
for public relations? Because it’s the best way to insure that
you, as a manager, get the key external audience behaviors you
need to help achieve your unit objectives.

It also makes the proper execution of the public relations
program very important to other managers like yourself in any
business, non-profit or association.

Here’s one approach that can work just fine.

Jot down your unit’s, or department’s, most important
audiences, then prioritize them as to the impacts they exert
on your operation. Let’s look at #1 on the list because, clearly,
any organization, including yours, must stay in touch with its
most important external audiences in order to know how
it is perceived, remembering of course, that behaviors usually
follow perceptions.

Now, you need to interact with members of your target
audiences, monitor what they think about you and ask lots
of questions. “What do you know about us? Have you had
any contact with us. Was it satisfactory?” and so on. Be
alert to an untruth, an inaccuracy, or a potentially damaging
rumor.

The responses to your opinion monitoring form the basis for
your public relations goal. In other words, the specific
perception to be altered, followed by the desired behavior
change.

Obviously, the goal will seek corrective action. That is,
clear up a misconception, scotch a rumor, or correct an
inaccuracy.

But a goal without a strategy is like a hot dog without a bun.

We’re fortunate we have just three choices when it comes
to strategies to deal with opinion matters: we can create
perception where there isn’t any, change existing perception,
or reinforce it. But make sure the strategy you select flows
naturally from your newly-minted goal.

Now, here’s where the art comes in. You have to write the
corrective message going to the attention of members of the
target audience. The satisfying part of this chore is the fact
that, done right, it will change opinion and, thus, behavior.
No small feat!

The art lies in the writer’s ability to prepare a message that
accomplishes that objective clearly and in a believable,
persuasive and compelling style. Not easy, but an absolute
must!

How do you get that message “into the end zone?” That is,
before the eyes and into the ears of members of your target
audience?

Good old “beasts of burden” communications tactics will
come through for you and carry your message to the attention
of your target audience members. And there are scores of
them ripe for the picking.

You can choose from letters-to-the-editor, speeches and
news releases as well as consumer meetings, brochures,
radio interviews and many, many others. Just be careful
that the communications tactics you choose have a good
record for reaching folks like those in your target audience.

The day will come when someone asks, “are we making any
progress with this PR effort?” A good and proper question,
the answer to which is available back out among the
members of your target audience. Assuming your budget
cannot accommodate pricey professional opinion surveys,
you and your colleagues can re-monitor perceptions among
audience members asking the same questions as before.

The difference this time around is that you will be watching for
perceptions altered in your direction – perceptions changed
as a result of your corrective message and some aggressive
communications tactics.

You can always increase the beat by adding a few more
communications tacticsBusiness Management Articles, and increasing their frequencies.
And be sure to re-vet the message itself for clarity and
actual impact.

The payoff is clearcut – you get the key external audience
behaviors you need to help achieve your mission objectives.

end

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to general management
personnel 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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