Know what works in public relations
Public relations is the management of perceptions in order to influence public opinion and encourage action actions in support of your organization. But like any other discipline, public relations requires practitioners to set the right goals in order to succeed.
Often, we set too high an expectation for public relations. Maybe out of enthusiasm, many overrate what public relations can do. This sets the stage for disappointment.
Most often, this overestimation comes from a lack of awareness of what works in the field of public relations. There are simply things that PR alone cannot deliver. For example, while PR helps promote your products, actual sales would depend on the sales force. Creating content alone does not mean people will want to engage you. Generating leads does not automatically convert to sales.
3 broad PR objectives
Goals for public relations usually fall under three broad areas:
- Raising awareness – Increase the public’s level of understanding of your campaign, project, or product.
- Forming opinions – Get your intended audience to form a particular view or opinion on a subject.
- Motivating action – Often the most difficult among the three, this involves moving your target audience to act in a desired way.
Whatever your goal may be, set them right and plan the appropriate steps to meet them. In introducing a new idea, for instance, you need to make your intended public aware first. Persuading someone to act is harder than getting them to think about something.
Planning helps you
- Focus your efforts
- Know the order of your priorities, and
- Reach your objectives efficiently and effectively.
This means saving time and money as you avoid unnecessary diversions. You concentrate on the most fundamental tasks.
Planning helps you prepare contingencies and minimize untoward incidents. Plan B should be handy if ever plan A fails. Planning helps you take a long-term view that goes beyond the most immediate concerns.
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- Align your public relations campaigns and programs to support your organization’s overall direction. Losing this perspective would tie you up on interesting but otherwise trivial details that may not benefit your organization on the larger scale.
- Be specific. If you seek to compel a particular action by the public, then you must identify what, to whom, when, and how this can be done.
- Quantify when possible. How many? How much? Sometimes this is not possible, but it often is. By quantifying you make visualizing accomplishments and evaluation easier.
- Follow a timeline. You have to be clear about the deadlines for deliverables. This will help in phasing the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals.
- Check finances. It is important to work within a budget. Know how much things cost and not set goals beyond financial constraints.
- Know your priorities. Know what is primary and secondary within the overall framework of plan. Keep your focus on what’s important.