What's common to each of them? You've used the fundamental
premise of public relations to create results specific to your
business at a time of your choosing – and each was successful.
Can these results be repeated every time, everywhere? Probably
not, but certainly often enough to help your business stay
Here, in my opinion, is the best way to use that fundamental
premise of public relations to your best advantage. First, better
People will act on their own perception of the facts before them.
And those perceptions will lead 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 those folks whose behaviors affect your business,
the public relations effort is a success.
It works this way.
List your most important external audiences and put the one that
impacts your business the most at the top of the list.
Now you must interact with members of that key target audience.
Meet with a few people to find out what they think of you, your
business and your products and services. Notice any negativity
or brewing problem areas.
Strive to understand what's causing the negative perceptions
among these people so important to your business. Then decide
how much behavioral change you realistically can achieve in
the agreed upon time frame.
You've just set your public relations goal: a specific behavior
But what strategy will achieve that change? The answer is
actually very simple. You have just three choices: create opinion
(perception) where none exists, change existing opinion, or
reinforce it. This is an important decision because it will
influence the direction, content and tone of all of your
Which brings us right to those persuasive messages you will
Remember, while including details about your products and
services, your messages must identify what is really at issue
at the moment, impart a sense of credibility to your comments,
and regularly assess and reassess how opinion is running
among that group. And, you must indirectly, yet persuasively
address any problem areas that surfaced during your
information gathering meetings. And keep in mind your
behavior modification goal, especially the needed perception
At this time, communications tactics come to the fore. Ask
yourself, how will I reach my target audience members with
There are literally scores of tactics available to you. Media
interviews, emailings, brochures, speeches, face-to-face
meetings, open houses and other special events, news
announcements and many, many others.
Now, you must monitor results by interacting again with
members of that key, target audience, and by keeping an eye
on print and broadcast media for references to your messages
Because such indicators will reflect how local feelings about
your organization are changing, you'll then have a chance, if
needed, to adjust both those communications tactics and
As time passes, you'll begin to notice increased awareness
of your business and its role in the marketplace; a growing
receptiveness to your messages by customers and others;
increased public perception of the role your organization plays
in its industry and in the community, as well as increasing
numbers of prospects.
By this time, I hope you're persuaded that building a public
relations component into your organization does matter, and
that it can make a major contribution to your success.
Don't Waste Money on Public Relations
Like it or not, people take
action based on the facts they see before them. And that can
create behaviors that impact your business, sometimes
How to Sell Your News to Reporters
If you want create a PR campaign that is
effective and consistent, you must learn to
market your story to the news media. You must
learn to treat reporters as the customers who
will either buy or reject your product: raw
How to Write Press Releases that Get Published
Few people who write a news release really think about what they want the editor to do after they receive and read a news
Robert A. Kelly © 2003.
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.