PR Best Practices: Just Like Introducing Your New Beau to the Family

December 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

Written By Annie Almasi

Public Relations (PR) is about building strong relationships with a company’s various stakeholders (consumers, employees, stockholders, etc.). It’s like introducing your new beau to the family. You want everyone to love your new beau just as much as you do. Same goes for your client. So you talk your beau up with everyone important in your life – your stakeholders. This includes your family, your friends, maybe even your dog, Spot. Building up the positive image of your beau makes him more attractive and appealing so everyone wants to know him too. That’s PR in simple terms. Now let’s explore some best practices.

Tailor the message.

For those of you that have been in a relationship, making people see how great your beau is isn’t always easy. You’ve got your skeptics, cynics, and cranky Great Aunt Sue that hasn’t liked anyone since the Cold War. So it’s all about the two-way communication – you know your stakeholders’ interests so you try to pair them up with your partner’s. “Oh, you’re going to the Packer game this weekend? My boyfriend, Joe, loves to watch them every Sunday. I’m sure he’d love to hear about it when you get back!” In PR, as it is with relationships, you try to find the right channel to get your message across. You wouldn’t talk to a non-Packer fan (heaven-forbid!) about Joe’s love for the Packers. You have to tailor your message.

Evaluate the distribution of information.

You have to choose the best distribution and delivery. For example, if you want your other friends to know that Joe just got a great new job, who do you tell? Tell your chatty friend, Kathy, who knows just about everybody and is sure to deliver the message swiftly. This is the same for PR; you want to find the best avenue of delivery for your audience, whether it be newspapers, magazines, blogs or social media. With this, you have to make sure to monitor the results. If Kathy upset half your friends at the last party and they aren’t on speaking terms, you may not be reaching as many people as you thought. So you may have to re-evaluate your communication channel, just as you would with PR.

Develop strong media relationships.

Now having someone like Kathy around that is a chatterbox brings me to another crucial PR strategy. You must continually review media sources and identify contact points. These contacts are important when looking to pitch stories for your client. So for example, you know Kathy loves a good story and you have a story that is right up her alley – something about someone else, so you keep in touch with her periodically. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship because you need to get the word out and she loves being the one to do so. That’s how a media relationship should be – your story should be timely, interesting and beneficial to the media contact.

Select the proper public relations tools.

However, you can’t always just tell Kathy. You have to have different people (media contacts) that have different audiences. So if you want your family to know, you might tell your mom to spread the word instead. In PR, there are different tools, including blogs, press releases, newsletters, etc. They all have different audiences and are tailored to make your message the most effective. With this, it is important to note the evolution of the Web and technology within PR. Not utilizing this tool, would be like telling tipsy Uncle Bob at Thanksgiving that the Vikings are your new favorite football team – stupid and counterproductive. Use these emerging technologies!

As you see, PR practices follow the same course as introducing your new beau to the family. You’ve got to tailor the information shared so it’s pertinent to each audience. Then evaluate how your “Pumpkin” (client) is being received. If you have to change your approach, make sure to have the right relationships with other people that will share your messages effectively. And, always remember the different tools you have at your disposal!

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