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The ABC’s of PR

Public Relations, is the key to effective communications. Organisations who understand the power of PR develop strong bonds with their stakeholders, have sharp brand awareness and a voice with the people that matter.

A is for the ANGLE
Finding the angle or ‘news’ of a story is vital. Having a catchy, worthy, interesting focus or putting a spin on something ordinary/identifying some unusual aspect will increase the chances of the media finding it ‘newsworthy’.

B is for BRANDING
The word branding began as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by using hot iron stamps. Brand management is aligning the expectations of the brand experience, and creating the impression that it has certain qualities/characteristics making it special or unique.

C is for CALL TO ACTION
Your communications should include direction on what action you want your reader to take after reading your piece. Make it clear what the reader should do next. Simple call to action could be “Phone us to sign up for our special offer” or “Visit our website to learn more”.

D is for DEADLINE
The deadlines for most magazines to publish an article are 2-3 months prior to the magazine going on sale (online is shorter). Consider this with your PR campaign it can dramatically alter the time of year that the story is ‘newsworthy’. Always keep tabs on magazine editorial calendars for specific features that will suit your product/service and the deadlines prior to the release.

E is for EVENTS
Whether it’s a tradeshow, conference, exhibition or premiere, events allow you to promote yourself and your business. Helps build brand awareness while cultivating relationships, can break down barriers, eliminate internal divisions and ease frustrations. Experiment with sound, lighting, audio visual, costumes, interactive sessions, themes and unique food and drinks. It doesn’t need to be big either; think small, think exclusive.

F is for FREQUENCY
The number of times you communicate with your target audience in a given period is critical to the success. Too often you run the risk of annoyance; too infrequently your audience may think you only contact them when you’ve got something to sell. The best way to find out how often they want to be contacted is to ask them. Aim to be active on social media, update your status on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ daily, for Twitter aim for 2-3 times a day.

G is for GOOGLE ALERTS
Set up Google Alerts. You’ll receive email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your choice of query/topic. Keeping tabs on these alerts is useful for monitoring a developing news story, staying up-to-date with competitor or industry activity, and of course making sure you don’t miss any online mentions of your own business.

H is for HANDWRITTEN
In an increasingly electronic world, a handwritten note will make you stand out. Taking the time to send a handwritten thank you note to a client or supplier is sure to impress.

I is for INSIGHTS
Research can be as simple as phone calls, a one question poll on your Facebook page, a multi question online survey through Survey Monkey, or even focus groups. Keep in mind; the optimal length of time for an online survey is 8 minutes. Anything over 12 minutes and you need to do some serious editing!

J is for JARGON
Jargon is like slang, it can develop as a short-hand, to express ideas that are frequently discussed between members of a group. Be aware that jargon may make your communications difficult to understand, so our advice: consider the appropriateness of using jargon with your customers and ask yourself if it will help or hinder their understanding of your communication.

K is for KEY MESSAGES
Key messages are the messages you want your audience to remember and react to. It keeps your writing on track, and is opinions that you can back up with proof. If a particular section of your communication doesn’t have a key message, you need to ask yourself, “why is it there?” Key messages should be positive, short, and specific.

L is for LOYALTY
Forget coffee cards, true loyalty is showing your customers that you appreciate their business. One of the fastest ways to upset your loyal customers is to offer a special deal to new customers and exclude existing ones.

M is for MISTAKES
We all make them, and without them we wouldn’t grow our experience. However, when it comes to public relations, you’d do well to avoid them at all costs. Always have copy read three times by three different people, ensure your information is accurate and able to be backed up by evidence. When using quotes in press releases and testimonials, always ensure the essence of what the person is saying remains true.

N is for NEWSPAPERS
A scheduled publication containing current affairs, feature articles, diverse information and advertising. Although, the move to online information sources has rapidly changed the newspaper industry. 24 hour news channels and the World Wide Web mean that news travels faster than ever. Newspapers are still a great way of getting your information out, as long as it is current and on-target.

O is for OBJECTIVES
Objectives are your destination, or what you want to achieve. These are what keep you accountable and give reason for celebration when they’re achieved. “SMART objectives” (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) are a good way to structure your objectives.

P is for PROOFREADING
Your communication needs to be error-free! Mistakes in your written word can lead your customers to think that you’re careless, lack attention to detail or are ignorant.
Some tips for error-free communication include: take a break after you draft your content and then review later; use Spell Check (set to Australian spelling); if you’re editing on screen, proofread a hard copy as well; if possible, ask a colleague to review your content; and lastly review again after the content is laid out ready for publishing.

Q is for QUALITATIVE and QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
If you’re looking to explore in-depth opinions, attitudes, behaviour and experiences you’ll want to conduct qualitative research (in-depth interviews or focus groups). Quantitative research is best if you’re looking to generate statistics (use questionnaires or structured interviews). Neither methodology is better than the other; each has their own strengths and weaknesses.

R is for RECIPROCITY
The Principle of Reciprocity is defined by the human need to want to give something back when something is received. This need is strongest when the gift is given without expectation of return. Apply this principle to your business; for example, give something without the expectation of a return, such as bonus points, discounts, or something exclusive that is not offered to the general public.

S is for SPOKESPERSON
Having a person or persons within your business who can present confidently to staff, customers, shareholders and media is extremely important. Your spokesperson needs to know and understand your key messages and be able to remain calm and composed under pressure.

T is for TESTIMONIALS
Essentially a formal ‘word of mouth’, testimonials (provided they’re believable) are an effective way to gain brand trust and credibility. They are often used to align your brand with that of a company that has a good reputation.

U is for UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUDIENCE
Before you start writing make sure you understand your customers and their communication preferences. What tone is appropriate (e.g. personal, emotive, academic, professional, humorous)? Are they receptive to the use of jargon? What’s their reading attention span? What will the audience of your targeted media want to read or know about?

V is for VIDEO
Many customers prefer short videos to long blocks of text, while others are more likely to trust a business when they can see and hear the owner/manager speaking on the website.

W is for WHITE PAPERS
It’s opportunity to position yourself or your business as a thought leader. Papers typically include credible research, current facts and figures, and follow a format of outlining the issue, providing a general solution to the issue, and if applicable, demonstrating how you or your business can specifically solve the issue.

X is for X-RAY
Imagine that your customers unexpectedly came to your business and ran an x-ray machine over it. Are you comfortable with being completely transparent with your customers?
Building trust is an ongoing process and one which needs to be constantly reinforced. Always do what you say you’re going to, create realistic expectations, discuss potential issues ahead of time, and never over promise.

Y is for the brand called YOU
The idea of personal branding was summed up brilliantly by Tom Peters in Fast Company magazine:
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You”.

Z is for ZADRO
Of course! We are a full-service Marketing, Communications and Design Agency specialising in integrated marketing communications for businesses and not for profit organisations. The benefit of working with us is that we oversee your entire marketing, communication and PR activities so your messages are consistent, your strategies are cost effective and your activities are leveraged to their full potential.

 

 

 

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