Public Relations Activities
Your textbook provides a good introduction to the goals and objectives of public relations activities. The notes below address some of the steps you might go through to prepare for public relations activities.
Collect the Facts. The first step in any public
program is to develop a collection of facts about the organization. Some of the information useful
to collect for PR purposes includes the following:
- The History of the Organization -- Names, dates, facts of all
sorts. Look for old files with previously written company histories, old newspaper stories, contracts, letters, photos, scrapbooks.
- Research the Organization's Financial History -- This is
probably most useful for a for-profit company but it's useful for any organization to document the investments made in it and the ways the company has reinvested its funds with any payoffs.
- Biographies of Past and Present Principals -- Make a complete
list of every important person in or related to the organization with their current titles. Begin with the founder, include current executives, major stockholders, even the architect of a building, or a major contributor. Collect biographical information through newspapers, historical societies, letters, interviews.
- The Geographic Location may be Important -- If the organization
is sitting on a historic site or occupies a historic building, that fact is of interest. The neighborhood itself may be interesting.
- Calendar of the Organization's Anniversaries -- Annual events,
anniversaries, special events are important. Publicity events
can be timed
to coincide with important dates.
- Go "Backstage" -- Through the Plant or Processing Department --
Tour the facilities where the product is manufactured or the service is produced. Interview folks and ask them to describe what they are doing. Take along a tape recorder. Remember the people who are especially articulate.
- Talk with Key People -- Administrators, department heads,
designers, plant superintendents, old-timers, "outsiders" who are involved in current projects.
- Look for Interesting Photographs -- Historically interesting
pictures are valuable as are pictures of old trademark designs, old catalog cards, old equipment. Take photos of people doing things. Get portrait photos of all key personnel.
- Review all the Information -- Organize this background
into useful categories and review it from time to time, discuss it with others, consider it a resource for future publicity ideas.
Create a Media File. Analyze the media and determine which
are important for your publicity goals -- newspapers (local and/or large metropolitcan), television (news, sports, talk shows), radio (news, talk shows, music stations), special interest publications (consumer or trade). Study the media. Keep your list of publications up to date with names and telephone numbers of contact people.
Consider What is News -- Editors will ask the following
three questions about a potential news item:
The more news elements in a given story, the more likely it is to be picked up by the media. For example,
- Is it timely?
- Did it happen nearby?
- Is it about someone or something of interest to my
- You've hired a new chef for your restaurant.
- The new chef you have hired worked for a famous television
- The chef has a famous specialty, one so popular it has been named
Some Possible News Items
- New or Improved Product or Service -- what is is, how it's
it was invented or improved, how much it costs, how it's different from others, what is the intended market, what kind of advertising or promotional plans are intended to support it.
- Promotions or Appointments -- who was elected, appointed, or
promoted, and why. What were employee's past accomplishments and new responsibilities, a photo (head shot) should be included in press release.
- A New Outside Service or New Partnership -- new distributor,
branch, a company to conduct a survey, a new supplier, a new partner. Give the details and tell why. Use exact names of companies and key people.
- Changing Company Name or Image -- A new logo, a new trademark,
name change for the organization, a new package. Tell why it was selected in detail. Provide a good photo and point out special features. Get verbal description or quote.
- An Example of Organization Growth -- a new branch, a new
division, an expanded building, collection, staff, etc.
- New or Improved Facilities -- Relocation, expansion,
redecoration or renovation, new construction.
- New Markets -- Entering a new market, expanding an existing
market. Tell what markets you are currently in, why the new market is important, why you decided to target it, how you plan to approach it, whether you are changing your products or services to meet the needs of the new market.
- Research -- New research plans, a technological breakthrough.
Tell what it means. Get a statement from the research director or systems person. Include names and titles.
- Beginning or Completing a Project
- Price change or Unusual Sale -
- Annual Shareholders or Trustees Meeting
- Capital Investment
- Public Appearances
- Meetings, Anniversaries and Special Events
- Records -- first, most, longest, highest, least, shortest,
- Awards -- to employees, to someone outside your organization,
to your organization, for community service.
- Personal Milestones -- an employee's retirement or anniversary,
birth or marriage, anniversary of an old-timer
- Employee Activities -- an employee's unusual hobby, employee
parties, employee organiations.
An Example of a Professional Press Release
- Use 8 1/2 x 11 bond paper.
- Print release in standard size type on one side of paper.
- Allow 1 inch margin on each side and at bottom. Leave 4 inches at top
if press release is short or runs to more than one page.
- Double-space. Indent first line of paragraph 5 spaces.
- Place name, address, telephone number of your organization and name of
contact person in upper left-hand corner of first page.
- Type FOR RELEASE <DATE> or FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE a few spaces
above first paragraph.
- Page number in upper right-hand corner for more than one page. Type
"more" at bottom of first page if release runs to more than one page. End press release with ### or - 0 -.
- On upper left-hand corner of all pages but first, use one or two words
to identify the press release in case pages get separated.
- Use a paper clip, not a staple, to hold together pages of press
The John Diggs Shovel Company
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
John E. Peterson has been named Sales Promotion Manager of the John
Diggs Shovel Company, it was announced today by John Diggs, President.
Peterson, who for ten years has been Market Director for Farm
Equipment, Inc., will coordinate all sales promotion activities for the
company's new Back to Basics program.
Peterson said, "My goal is to make the public aware of how our
everyday activities of gardening and home maintenance can be altered to
improve our total environment."
The John Diggs Shovel Company is one of the oldest companies
in the Southeast.