Do you know…no matter how large or small your organization, public relations can be an important component of your marketing and communications plan?
Organizations, from small volunteer groups to large non-profits and for-profit businesses, often neglect public relations. Public relations’ impact can be difficult to quantify and may not result in direct revenue the way marketing does. However, projecting your organization’s image, expertise, successes, and values to a targeted prospective customer base can be a valuable investment in your overall marketing strategy. A well executed public relations program can be valuable in a number of ways. It describes an organization’s personality and puts a face to the markets it serves. Public relations helps gain recognition among constituents and the public at large. It can increase influence and augment member or customer recruitment. A well executed PR program can deliver dramatic results in both the short and long term.To find out how you can have an award-winning website, contact MGI today.
Tip: Public relations is often perceived as an expense rather than an investment.
WHAT IS PUBLIC RELATIONS?
The Public Relations Society of America says ‘public relations helps an organization and its public adapt mutually to each other.’ In more simple terms, PR defines public image. Public relations campaigns tell an organization’s story, what it does, and what makes it special.
Tip: ‘Media Marketing,’ another aspect of public relations, can be more cost effective and credible than buying advertising.
PR can be routine or it can focus on special events, but it should have content that is genuinely worthy of interest to members, customers, prospects, or the greater public.
Media marketing is the concept of having someone else, such as a major industry trade publication, write an article about your organization’s impact and success. Trade publications, as well as mainline business media, are constantly looking for good and credible stories that are relevant to their audience. Identify the topical or business print and e-media outlets that reach your targeted audience—clients or prospective clients—and send them a concise, factual, and well-written news release outlining one of your organization’s accomplishments or areas of expertise. Make certain it is ‘newsworthy’ and provides significant or unique business information relevant to the publication’s readership. Focus on the unique aspect of your organization’s expertise or accomplishment and avoid the pitfall of writing the news release or article in a self-serving style. In most cases, a news release should not exceed one page—single spaced, with double spacing between paragraphs. Editors and reporters universally prefer a tight, well-written news release or story idea.
PUBLIC RELATIONS VENUES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Public relations can take the form of a mention of a meeting in a newspaper calendar of events, a letter to the editor, a comment on the editorial page in a local newspaper, a public service announcement on a local broadcast or cable station, an interview, a press release describing an important milestone or accomplishment by a member or staff, or it can be a press conference to announce a major initiative. PR is all of those things, separately or, better yet, working together to improve understanding of your organization.
Tip: Public relations plans can be developed to serve every level of need and budget.
CRAFTING THE MESSAGE…AND GETTING IT READ AND HEARD
Learn about your relevant, topical, and geographical media, particularly publications that serve your constituents such as trade publications, newspapers, and community outlets. Develop a list of contact names and numbers and keep a record of publication deadlines. Check and update it frequently for accuracy and communication preferences, such as email, fax, or postal mail. A written news release is a good beginning. In today’s competitive media marketplace, the key words are ‘relevant,’ ‘concise,’ and ‘brief.’ Make your words count. If editors want more information, they will contact you. Your letterhead should include release date, contact name, phone number, and e-mail address.
Tip: Two key aspects to remember in developing public relations are interest and timeliness.