Thursday, August 12, 2010

Public Relations in the Mix

Public Relations is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with public interests, and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance
-Public Relations News

Have used a benchmark for return on any investments in public relations activity. That return comes in the form of media exposure that is roughly converted to advertising value and or any monitoring of your key stakeholders/publics attitudes. Understand that advertising value is not an ideal way to measure public relations activity.

A steady stream of press releases featuring projects, personnel and expertise can add value to an existing advertising schedule. Indeed, media placements through public relations efforts can have an even greater value than paid media. Successful placements through PR efforts generally results in greater credibility for our message. It takes an ongoing program to assure 1) the message(s) are accurate and positive toward the brand, 2) the messages complement other elements of our marketing communications program (direct mail, advertising, trade shows etc.) and 3) the placements are timely and in appropriate editorial environments.

The following public relations tactics can result in impressive return on investment if you stay focused on execution, detail and follow through.

Project or product Profile/Releases – Projects wins and/or products. Take advantage of good news to further promote the company. Key milestones and activities such as ribbon-cutting ceremonies can create news of interest.

Personnel Releases – New hires, promotions and personnel news enhance the image of the company as a going concern. Sometiems business development personnel tend to get more emphasis as they are “front line” contacts but don't forget about the accounting, operatiosn, finance and support functions.

Conferences/Trade Show Opportunities –Leveraging our sponsorship or participation in conferences and look for opportunities to further reinforce involvement with editorial treatment in and around issues featuring such events.

Interviews/Expertise – Where appropriate look for opportunities for expertise to be included in stories related to your industry. This tactic is often under-utilized due to reluctance of qualified individuals to act as spokesmen.

Bylined Articles – Perhaps the best use of public relations, is the routine development of by-lined articles. Stories authored article by your firm's experts will generate interest and are more likely to be placed with limited distortion or interpretation.

To accomplish the above items it becomes necessary to:
Cultivate relationships with editors, writers and publishers.
Understand trade show/conference opportunities.
Have a thorough understanding of editorial calendars and what your firm might bring to the table in partnership with editors.
Develop and release a steady stream of items to stay on the radar of editors/publishers. Prepare bylined articles in anticipation of being able to place them. (Proactive) Develop and update Media Kits.