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Public Relations Campaigns, Messaging, Media, Monitoring

Broadly speaking, public relations is the art of nurturing target audiences so that people will act in a manner that benefits your company. PR can help you build and manage relationships and influence what people know and think about you.

How do you get started?
What tools do you use?
Local, regional or national?
How do you monitor results?
Telling your story

How do you get started?

When planning a public relations campaign, you need to answer these questions:

  • Whom do you want to reach?
  • What message do you want them to hear?
  • What do you want them to do as the result?

You probably have many target audiences you need to influence, from employees and prospective customers to suppliers and venture capitalists. The media is also an important target audience, because reporters and editors interpret your message to your other publics.

You may have a time-sensitive message, such as a new product launch, the opening of a new store or a merger, or you may want prospective clients to understand how your firm differs from your competition.

Your objective may be to increase awareness, provide information, create a preference or close a sale.
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What tools do you use?

Wendy Van Parys Marketing Communications will help you channel your ideas and develop a plan that meets your objectives in a cost effective way. Some of the tools we use include:

  • press release a timely, well-written article about a newsworthy event that is distributed to editors, who may turn the information into a news item in their publication or on their broadcast
  • feature story a more general, often longer article, which is often written with a particular publication in mind (such as trade press, magazine or a local news outlet)
  • psa public service announcement - a 15 or 30 second spot written for radio broadcast
  • pitch sometimes media coverage is created by suggesting great story ideas to reporters or news directors and providing the backup information
  • backgrounder a document about your company that reporters may use when writing a story
  • press kit a packet of materials which may be distributed to prospective employees, customers and others, as well as to the media; the news page on your website is the digital version of the traditional press kit
  • press breakfasts, press tours, interviews, etc opportunities for you or another spokesperson for your company to talk directly to members of the media
  • community relations and special events creative methods for promoting your firm through sponsorships, grand openings, etc.
  • speaking engagements, business fairs and trade shows plus everything you need for a professional presentation
  • media relations building and nurturing relationships with key journalists and bloggers, including those who cover your industry and geographic area
  • reputation management monitoring, measuring and influencing what people think about you or your company
  • crisis communications it happens to even the best of companies

When the media prints or broadcasts a story about your company or organization, you don't pay for space and typically don't get to review the final copy. The benefit is that the people you most want to reach often will believe the message is unbiased and therefore more credible.

  • Media coverage is only part of the public relations picture. Internal communictions build relationships with your employees. A well-written annual report communicates confidence to your investors.

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Local, regional, or national?

Whether your company is a corner store or a multinational conglomerate, it's important to include your local and regional print and broadcast outlets in your public relations plan. Local coverage is a great way to reach prospective employees, and the stories can be compiled into a portfolio for press kits, your website, etc.

  • some publications will print a feature article written by you, which is an ideal way to promote your expertise if you hate writing, ask us to "ghost write" it for you!

National coverage is best approached by targeting editors, writers and news directors who are interested in your industry. Don't forget trade and online publications. There are also several organizations which will widely distribute press releases, photos, audio/video footage, etc. for a fee.

  • PRNewswire and BusinessWire are established wire services. These provide an excellent way to reach the burgeoning number of online databases and trade publications. If you decide to use them, we recommend that you still communicate directly with your "A" list of reporters and editors.
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How do you monitor results?

Measuring the effectiveness of the message can be done with a simple market research study, as well as by tracking changes in your website traffic. We monitor local, regional and trade press and selected Internet and national media outlets. We can also suggest a variety of clipping and monitoring services, for both traditional and online media.
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Telling your story

We've designed and executed media plans to help a community bank smoothly transition through an abrupt change of senior management, to help a not-for-profit exceed the $3 million goal of a capital campaign, to roll out a new automobile dealership and to launch a new internet site. We've placed stories about everything from fresh corn to streaming the Woodstock concert over the Web. Do you have an interesting story to tell? Ask us how to get the word out!
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