Effective Public Relations has never been more in need, small businesses and big businesses alike are continually feeling the pinch in today’s economic climate. With cutbacks and redundancies happening regularly across the board, clever PR tactics are NEEDED in place of expensive advertising campaigns. Advertising is in principal, a method of ‘paying to blow your own trumpet’ whereas Public Relations is a process of receiving a third party endorsement for your product. In other words, Public Relations is used to build rapport with customers, employees, voters, investors or the general public.
Definition of Public relations
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At the most basic level, public relations (PR) simply means managing relations with one’s public(s). A “public” is any group of people who are important to the well-being of a person, group, organisation or business. For example, a company’s publics might include customers, employees, investors, and local businesses and communities. On the other hand a non-profit organisation’s publics might include members, donors, volunteers, and society at large.
Writing a press release
Writing an effective press release is the most important part of an effective PR campaign. In order to write an effective press release you need to first have a product to write about. Enthusiasm for said product is an important factor; if the person writing the article is not enthusiastic about the product this will come across to the reader and potentially lessen the effectiveness of the article. To begin with, a catchy headline is paramount; think about what makes the product stand out in comparison to similar products already in the market. Your headline is the first tool required in order to captivate your reader, if the title is clear and interesting then your reader will WANT to read on to find out more. Secondly, you will need a good introduction; this is key as it will outline the topic and intention of your article. Here you can use your enthusiasm about the product so that your reader can also feel the same energy. Thirdly, you will need the body of your article. This is where you will outline the topic in greater detail making sure basic questions the reader may have are carefully answered. You could maybe draw upon a personal experience to better convey your message. Finally, you will need a conclusion to your topic. This is a brief summary of your article and a call for the reader to take action. How do they find out more Where can they buy/bookOnce you have completed your press release ensure you proof read it and read it out loud and if necessary make any required edits. Once you are happy with the article you can then distribute it to your chosen media list.
A magician seeking publicity in the 1900’s had himself strapped into a straitjacket and hung upside down off the roof of a building. Through word of mouth and promotion 50,000 people gathered and eagerly watched him escape and return to safety. The name of the magician was Harry Houdini. A century later, another magician seeking publicity had himself locked into a glass box and hung for 44 days from a spot located next to the Tower of London Bridge, his feat of endurance attracted huge crowds, and an estimated 10,000 people were there to see him come out. That magician was David Blaine. These two individuals from different times in history had one thing in common; they both used a publicity stunt to raise their public profile. Publicity stunts have been around as long as people have wanted attention. Richard Branson built his empire through various effective Publicity stunts. He broke a few records in his hot air balloon emblazoned with branded Virgin advertising. An effective publicity stunt carried out by your business will boost your public image and improve sales of your product.
Public Relations, advertising and marketing are in essence part of the same dance. All three appear to be selling something and all three overlap in some ways. The ultimate goal never the less is the same – all are designed to influence the perceptions, actions, and/or behaviours of a group of people.
There’s a famous saying that illustrates these differences.
- If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign that says: “circus coming to the fairground Saturday” that’s advertising.
- If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk him into tow, that’s promotion.
- If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flowerbed, that’s publicity.
- If you can get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.
- And if you planned the elephants walk, that’s marketing.
Effective press releases and publicity stunts can do wonders for a struggling business in this harsh economic climate. In order to improve sales and boost your public image your business will have to reach a wider audience. And the only way to do this is to be everywhere your potential clients are. You have to create an awareness of your product or service on a wider scale. This can only be done through effective Public Relations.
- Suley Khan is the C.E.O of Free-st8 PR, a subsidiary of Freest8 Entertainment
and owner of www.freest8.com
- Author of “PR tips for increased exposure” newsletter. To subscribe, enter your information at: www.freest8.com
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