Managers, Got a Grip on Your PR?

What are you trying to do with your business, non-profit or association public relations program? Get a little publicity for a service or product? Or, perhaps, you're doing what you really should do, persuade your key external stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that lead to the success of your department, division or subsidiary.

To reach that objective, and get a real grip on your PR effort, you need a model like this: 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 the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

No small matter because this blueprint will help you redirect the focus of the public relations folks assigned to your unit from communications tactics over to your external audiences in a way that allows you to move ever closer to personal success as a unit manager.

The reason this PR paradigm works is that it requires you as the unit manager to zero in on exactly those people who play a big role in how successful a manager you're going to be ? your key external audiences.

The perceptions held by your most important outside audiences are crucial to your success. So meet with your PR crew and hammer out a consensus as to why it's vital to nail down just how your operation is perceived out there in the real world. They'll tell you quick-like that those perceptions almost always result in predictable behaviors that can help you or hurt you.

Which means you need to interact with members of your most important target audience while posing a number of questions. "What do you know about our organization? Have you ever made contact with us? Was it a satisfactory experience? Do you have an opinion about our people, services or products? Do you have a problem with our organization?

By the way, if your budget allows a significant expense, you can retain the services of professional survey people to interview target audience members. Of course your own PR staff is already concerned with perception and behavior matters, so they might lend a hand in this regard.

Those participating in monitoring the perceptions of your key target audience must watch carefully for negative responses to your questions. In particular for untruths, misconceptions, inaccuracies, rumors or false assumptions.

The data collected during the perception monitoring interviews are the ammunition needed to identify the corrective public relations goal. Examples might be, fix the untruth, clarify the misconception, or kill the rumor.

You still need help, however. Without a strategy to tell you how to reach that goal, not much is going to happen. You have a choice of three strategies. You can create perception/ opinion where there may be none, you can change existing perception, or you can reinforce it. But be certain that your new strategy is a natural fit with the public relations goal you selected.

Now, identify your best writer because you must put together the message which will do the heavy lifting when it alters any questionable perceptions among your target audience members. The message must not only be persuasive, but compelling as well. And it should aim for both factual accuracy and believability if it is to do the job. You may also wish to consider a lower profile means for delivering the message ? perhaps during a presentation on another matter ? so as not to raise eyebrows by using the press release format.

Actually getting your message to the right people ? members of your target audience ? is not complex. You have a wide selection of communications tactics at your disposal. They include presentations, brochures, newsletters and personal contacts as well as media interviews, articles, open houses and many others. But check carefully that those your select actually do reach people similar to those who make up your target audience.

You need results, as do all managers. And the best way to be certain your new public relations effort is succeeding is to return to perception monitoring mode and ask the same questions all over again. The difference the second time around is, you and your team will be on the lookout for signs that the negatives you discovered are actually being altered, and that your target audience perception is moving in your direction.

Fortunately, you can put things on a faster track by adding more communications tactics, AND increasing certain frequencies.

You'll know you have a solid grip on your public relations effort when you avoid communications tactics as a major focus and, instead, apply your resources to persuading your key external stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that lead to the success of your department, division or subsidiary.

About The Author

Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to business, non-profit and association managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. 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

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


What Determines PR Success?

As a business, non-profit or association manager, occasions will arise... Read More

Publicity: Nailing a Media Interview, Part II (Crisis Management)

We'd all like reporters to ask us about our career... Read More

Achieve Media Attention for Your Business

Do you want to be quoted by the national press... Read More

The Ultimate PR Edge: Getting Reporters To Open Your E-Mails

You know that getting publicity is vital to the health... Read More

Financial Planners Publicity and Marketing - Live By The Calendar

The media live by the calendar. Your story pitch might... Read More

For Financial Planners, Marketing and Publicity Is About You

For financial planners, getting publicity, in the end, isn't about... Read More

Media Relations: Should You Pay For News Coverage, Part II

Last month, we told you about "pay for play," a... Read More

Perception Persuasion Behavior: PR at Work

Managers ? the business, non-profit and association sort ? really... Read More

Managers Need Basic PR

True, because department, division or subsidiary managers for a business,... Read More

Leveraging Your Reputation - Making PR Work for You

We rely on all kinds of tools and advice to... Read More

PR: Advice You Didnt Ask For

Although, as a business, non-profit or association manager, you may... Read More

The MOST Powerful Marketing and Advertising on the Planet!

It sounds too simple to be true, but it really... Read More

Marketing-Minded Financial Planners, the Media Wants to Give You Free Publicity

In this great country of ours, there are basically three... Read More

Managers: Get Real, Please!

Personnel mentions in the newspaper and product plugs on radio... Read More

How to Get Publicity for a Service Business

Many of our clients are in service businesses, such as... Read More

Writing a Press Release: Inverted Pyramid Style

A term you'll hear in newsrooms, in editing meetings, in... Read More

How To Write A Killer Press Release

One of the primary tools still used by PR professionals... Read More

How Video Production can be used in PR

At the core of any successful public relations campaign is... Read More

How To Write A Press Release: The Seven Deadly Sins And How To Avoid Them

How to write a press release that generates free publicity... Read More

10 Tips for Tantalizing News Releases

Want to get radio interviews and coverage in print publications... Read More

Does Your Small Business Have a Grooming Policy?

They say that image is everything and some of us... Read More

Media Training: Why Nobodys Listening to You

SORRY?WERE YOU SAYING SOMETHING?Many spokespeople approach media interviews the same... Read More

Public Relations

The wind of changes...The digital world has changed the form... 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

Dont Waste Money on Public Relations

Demand that it pull its own weight in your boat... Read More

Publicity: Marketing-Minded Financial Planners, Never Say These Words to a Reporter

Everyone has something that drives them up a wall. You... Read More

Press Kit Elements That Work

Considering how fundamental they are to the publicist's trade,it's always... Read More

Managers: Heres a PR Template for You

Let's start out with a caution for business, non-profit and... Read More

Get PR Off the Bench

Something that results in your most important outside audiences doing... Read More

How To Get An Avalanche Of Free Publicity For Your Home Business!

There are many ways you can get tons of free... Read More

How To Get Zero Cost Publicity For Your Business Part 1

Would you like to expand the volume of your business?... Read More

When Tactics Are Not Enough

Your public relations people are busy. The buzz is all... Read More

How to Generate Free Publicity for Your Product, Service, or Cause

One of the most misunderstood and most underutilized promotional tools... Read More