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Archive for the ‘Reading Notes’ Category

There are numerous reasons that research is a critical part of any effective PR campaign (Cameron 129-30):

  • To achieve credibility with management
  • To define audiences and segment publics
  • To formulate strategy
  • To test messages
  • To help management keep in touch
  • To prevent crisis
  • To monitor the competition
  • To sway public opinion
  • To generate publicity
  • To measure success

The section of how to contact people to research their opinions was particularly interesting.  Some of the methods included questionnairs by ‘snail mail’, phone surveys (not personally a fan), personal interviews, omnibus surveys, and web/e-mail surveys.  The last one is probably the most popular now.

*Cameron, Glen T. & Wilcox, Dennis L. Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 47.

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So, basically, public relations functions for a company can be carried out by a PR department within the company or an outside public relations firm. There has been a recent move toward outsourcing, with studies showing that “Fortune 500 companies now spend 25% of their public relations budgets on outside firms. Almost 90% of the companies use outside public relations counsel to varying degrees.” (Cameron 109).

Public relations firms provide numerous services:

  • Marketing communications
  • Executive speech training
  • Research & evaluation
  • Crisis communication
  • Media analysis
  • Community relations
  • Events management
  • Public affairs
  • Branding & corporate reputation
  • Financial relations

I can understand the benefits of hiring an outside firm to handle many PR responsibilities.  However, with current technologies and trends, such as social media, it seems that some of those responsibilities would be best handled by someone within a company who has a closer connection to the company and is able to share that connection with people on a more personal level. Of course, even if a company is employing an outside PR firm, the company itself could still directly maintain many PR responsibilities, so they could still work together quite well.

*Cameron, Glen T. & Wilcox, Dennis L. Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 47.

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This chapter* dealt with the ethics that public relations professionals should maintain in their interactions with their organizations and the publics they serve.  Most PR organizations have a code of conduct to which their members are expected to adhere.  The International Association of Business Communicators is one of these, and its Code of Ethics includes the following guidelines:

  1. Professional communication is legal
  2. Professional communication is ethical
  3. Professional communication is in good taste

I certainly think that all Public Relations professionals should adhere to these guidelines, regardless of their affiliations with companies that require it. Interestingly, there may be some situations in which these guidelines are purposefully violated. For example, in the movie Wag the Dog, the PR pros are consulted for this express purpose. See more at my blog post on this film.

*Cameron, Glen T. & Wilcox, Dennis L. Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 47.

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There are several methods by which media materials may be distributed.  Each has its own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Mail – Even with the increased use of the Internet, some publishers still prefer to receive a hard copy of media materials.  It makes it easier for them to review the material and distinguishes the material from the numerous e-mails they receive, which are often filetered to include only people in the publisher’s contact list.
  • Fax – A fax has all the same benefits of regular mail, just faster delivery.
  • E-Mail – Despite the overwhelming numbers of e-mails publishers receive, most would still rather receive media materials through e-mail.  Including a good subject line in e-mails can help PR pros in making sure the publisher reads the info. instead of deleting it along with junk mail.

A few more good tips on news releases are:

  • Get to the point in breif headlines
  • Use specific words that are not overdone
  • Tell the news – don’t use it as an advertising opportunity
  • Relate the news to current trends
  • Make sure the information is pertinent to the public of the publisher to whom the information is being sent

*Cameron, Glen T. & Wilcox, Dennis L. Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 47.

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Especially with the rise of social media, taking note of diverse audiences is a must in the world of Public Relations today.  This includes groups of varying cultures, ages, ethnicities, religions, geographic locations, and interests.  More now than ever, people are paying attention to sources for Public Relations opportunities.  The following data was gathered by the Census Bureau in its annual Statistical Abstract of the United States, and breaks down the hours spent by Americans in 2007 on social media (Cameron 294):

  • 1,555 hours watching television
  • 974 hours listening to the radio
  • 195 hours using the Internet
  • 175 hours reading a newspaper
  • 122 hours reading magazines
  • 106 hours reading books
  • 86 hours playing video games

I’m sure the hours spent on the internet have risen since then, especially with the increasing popularity of sites such as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook.  Numerous organizations are making good use of these sources to reach bigger audiences in a shorter time than ever before.  Those who are not up to date on these new trends are in danger of being left behind. 

*Cameron, Glen T. & Wilcox, Dennis L. Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 47.

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Communication is a well-studied subject.  At first glance it may seem as though we should innately know all there is to know about this subject (after all, it is a huge part of our every-day lives).  However, there is plenty to learn about how to communicate effectively, especially in the world of Public Relations.

David K. Berlo’s communication model contains 4 elements (Cameron 173):

  1. Sender/source (encoder)
  2. Message
  3. Channel
  4. Receiver (decoder)

Two-way communication is of especially great importance in Public Relations.  PR professionals need to know what the publics of their clients are thinking and saying in order to accurately address any issues or goals the client has.  Of course, the message of the client is not to be forgotten.  It is the job of PR pros to ensure that the public receives the messae, believes it, remembers it, and acts on it.  All this must be done in a timely and cost-effective manner.  Wow!  That is a lot to remember – probably why PR pros should also have excellent organizational skills as well. 🙂

*Cameron, Glen T. & Wilcox, Dennis L. Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 47.

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This Chapter covers the importance and strategies behind planning successful PR campaigns. According to the book, a comprehensive plan includes 8 main factors:

  1. Situation
  2. Objectives
  3. Audience
  4. Strategy
  5. Tactics
  6. Calendar/timetable
  7. Budget
  8. Evaluation

Following a set plan ensures that all necessary aspects of a PR campaign are reached, with room to evaluate for improvement.  It is also necessary to be flexible enough to make changes along the way, making room to correct any unexpected twists.

*Cameron, Glen T. & Wilcox, Dennis L. Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. United States: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. 47.

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