Tag Archives: PR Information

“Extra, Extra!”

Topic of the Week 14
News Release Tips

The ability to write a news release is one of the most important skills a potential public relations professional should possess. A news release is a PR firm’s opportunity to promote a product, event, or idea that could greatly influence a company or organization. This promotion is defined as a simple document whose primary purpose is the dissemination of information to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines. Furthermore, many companies has a section devoted to public relations press releases on their official websites. Through news releases, public relations departments can reach both their target audience and the media.

A news release utilizes a simple format to make it easy for media to read and comprehend the most important information regarding the product, event, or idea. A news release consists of a 5WH method: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Who discusses who the news is about and who should be interested in the story. What introduces what the news and its significance is. Where describes where the news is or happened to take place. Where discusses when the event will or did take place. Why shows why the news is newsworthy and why it is happening. Finally, how shows how will this story happen or how will it take place. It is best to follow a news release template when writing releases.

Because being able to write a news release is so vital to the profession of public relations it is critical to understand the proper format in order to ensure editors will use the release in their publications. Here are a few tips to create a successful news release.

1. Don’t skimp on the details
2. Give background information
3. Provide information on photo opportunities
4. No typos
5. Don’t get flowery – avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language
6. Make sure the information is newsworthy
7. Make sure story can relate to the public – ensure connectedness
8. Deal with facts
9. Make sure the first 10 words of the release are effective and important
10. Provide as much contact information as possible

For more information on press release strategies check out Louisiana Tech PR and Press Release Writing.com



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Cleaning up the Mess

Topic of the Week 13
Crisis Case Study

Although it was a hoax, I still remember the Wendy’s chili crisis like of 2005 like it was yesterday. The catastrophe began when Anna Ayala found a human finger in her bowl of chili at a Wendy’s restaurant located in San Jose, California. When this story was leaked to the media, Wendy’s was forced to act quickly and draw up an effective crisis management strategy in order to soften the oncoming blows they were about to take. Here was their plan according to Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics:
1.Establish that the brand name was not at fault quickly
2. Maintain Wendy’s core values
3. Brief and mobilize employees
4. Build a postincident strategy to enhance Wendy’s brand

Although they did the best they could in this crisis, Wendy’s restaurants lost 20-50% of their business in the San Francisco area and their 6,600 outlets around the nation experienced a large decline in sales.

After 2 months of thorough police investigation, Ayala was found guilty of creating a hoax and grand theft for causing Wendy’s to $2.5 million in revenue. In addition, Ayala was charged 9 years in prison along with steep fines. In order to rebuild their tarnished reputation, Wendy’s rewarded their loyal customers with free Frostie desserts, giving out almost 18 million free treats.

Sadly, Wendy’s reputation was destroyed for a small amount of time because of an enormous lie. After successful image restoration, however, Wendy’s was able to jump back up to one of the most favored fast food chains in America. How did they do it? Wendy’s followed an action plan using the following methods described in Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics:
1. Make progress visible
2. Analyze what went wrong
3. Improve governance structure
4. Make CEO and leadership accessible to media
5. Fire employees involved in problem
6. Commit to high corporate citizenship standards
7. Carefully review ethics policies
8. Hire outside auditors for internal audits
9. Issue an apology from the CEO

For those who aren’t familiar with the Wendy’s Chili Crisis, check out the sketchy Good Morning America interview with Anna Ayala:

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Art of Persuasion

Topic of the Week 11
PR Podcasts

 For this assignment I explored The Creative Career for interesting podcasts relevant to the profession of public relations. On this site I discovered a link to CBC Radio’s show “Art of Persuasion,” hosted by Terry O’ Reilly. Each show is a half-hour long, so I was able to enjoy two of O’Reilly’s clips.

Persuasion Fail
In this episode, O’Reilly commented on some of the catastrophes within the world of public relations.  First, company acronym failures were discussed. For example, the Wisconsin Tourism Federation’s acronym “WTF” became a huge joke after “WTF” became short for “what the…” (Well, you can fill in the blank). Other acronym fails belonged to the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Duke University Hospital.

One publicity fail O’Reilly highlighted was made by KFC in 2009 after Oprah announced its “two free grilled chicken pieces, 2 sides, and a biscuit for free” promotion used to introduced its new grilled chicken menu choice. KFC, however, underestimated the power of Oprah and supply was killed by outrageous demand and many eager customers left the restaurant hungry.

Finally, O’Reilly commented on marketing strategies with new products. “Marrying a brand with the right strategy and the right creative direction is like a culinary art. You might like smoked sturgeon and you might like strawberry jam, but that doesn’t mean you want them on the same cracker.” It is important to do the research before presenting an idea.

The most important thing “Persuasion Fail” teaches PR professionals and students is that failure is sure to happen, especially in an industry where so many risks are taken. O’Reilly, however, encourages us to “fail forward.” In order to succeed, it is necessary to bounce back stronger and smarter.

Embracing New Media
In this episode, O’Reilly discusses how new media brings about new changes in communication, especially language. New media and the introduction of new language, however, brings about problems. O’Reilly explains that each new media enters a “grace period” in which consumers have to figure out which manner, form, and language best suits the new media.

One great example of this new language was the early days of the telephone. If it was up to Alexander Graham Bell, we would be answering the phone using “Ahoy, Ahoy!” Instead, as we all know, “Hello” was adopted as the universal telephone greeting.


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Two Roads Diverge

Topic of the Week 6
Public Relations Departments and Firms

Public Relations Departments or Public Relations Firms? Is there really that much of a difference? The answer is yes! Make that definitely yes!

Which Path Will You Choose?

In my opinion, it would be most beneficial for a new PR practitioner to begin a career in a PR firm. First off, the importance of the public relations firms are growing at an extremely rapid rate.  Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics, “forecasts that the public relations industry will grow 11.1 percent though 2010.”  This is because American corporations are becoming more interested in outsourcing their PR services to outside contractors. In addition, the text states “Today about 90 percent of corporate and institutional advertising is handled by agencies rather than by in-house departments.”  This means there are more opportunities for jobs and advancements within PR firms.

Secondly, PR firms offer extensive variety on the job because agencies are involved with several clients and projects. This variety also allows for advancement within the field and the ability to gain skills at a faster rate. Even though PR firms offer more to choose from, budgets and resources are traditionally lower than those in corporate PR, where salaries are much higher at entry level. However, the credibility gained within a PR firm is very valuable. For example, “A successful public relations firm has a solid reputation for professional, ethical work. If represented by such a firm, a client is likely to get more attention among opinion leaders in mass media, government, and the financial community.” Therefore, after gaining experience with a PR firm, higher salaries can be reach by moving to corporate PR because of the high credibility gained within the agency.

Advantages of Departments
Important component in the “big picture
Get to know the organization very well
Less daily pressure
More resources available
Higher salaries, more benefits

Disadvantages of Departments
Jobs more difficult to find without experience
Little variety
Growth usually limited
Not much time for networking with other PR professionals
Not a lot of coaching by peers, strength in all areas expected

Advantages of Firms
Fast paced, exciting
High amount of variety
High amount of networking with other PR professionals
Opportunities for mentoring
Rapid growth in firms

Disadvantages of Firms
Intense daily pressure
Limited budget and resources
Low salary at entry level
Seldom see the impact of your work
Less resources available

To find out more information or explore to the world of PR for yourself check out Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron.

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Nifty Fifties

Topic of the Week 4
To me, the 1950’s were probably the most fascinating era in American history. After WWII, the United States experience a boom in the economy and also rapid growth in mass media. If I could work in an era of PR history, it would definitely be 1950!
 During this time, there was a revolution in the mass media industry as televisions changed the public relations scene. Just as smart phones, blogging, and other technological advances are transforming  today’s culture, the television started a revolution within the teenage community in the 1950s.

I first fell in love with the 1950’s after watching the movie Back to the Future. I love the style, the cars, and the lifestyle. Everything just seemed more laid back and family-oriented. The 1950’s was a time of prosperity and hope for the future. It was a time where we were introduced to Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor, celebrities whose work still has an impact on today’s society. It was a time where Drive-in movie theaters and shopping malls sprung up around the nation. Shows such as Lassie and The Ed Sullivan Show ruled the television airwaves, while Jackie Robinson, Wilt Chamberlain, and Jim Brown were stars in the athletic platform.

The most interesting part of the 1950’s, however, was the music. Although Elvis Presley was the main highlight of the music industry during this time with the introduction of rock and roll, I have fallen in love with the soothing voices of Frank Sinatra (my personal favorite) and Nat King Cole. Whenever I am having a rough day I just turn on some Frank, close my eyes, and imagine myself at his concert in New York City.

The 1950’s culture makes me think that maybe I was born in the wrong era, or maybe I’m just an old at heart.

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COMM 2322 – Chapter 3

Ethics and Professionalism
Chapter three of Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics, highlights topics such as ethics, the role of professional organizations, professional codes of conduct, professionalism, licensing, and accreditation.

Here are a few tidbits of information I found important:

What is Ethics?
Depending on your religious or philosophical views, or even your family background, everyone has a different view on what ethics are and what codes of conduct to follow. Public relations professionals, when making ethical decisions, must take into consideration the public interest, the employer’s self-interests, the standards of the public relations profession, and their personal values. Therefore, making ethical decisions is a complex process.

Professional Organizations
1.) The Public Relations Society of America
          -The largest public relations organization in the world
          -Publishes Tactics and The Strategist
          -Sponsors the Silver and Bronze Anvil awards
2.) The International Association of Business Communicators
          -Publishes Communication World in magazine and e-mail format
          -Sponsors the Golden Quill honors
3.) The International Public Relations Association
          -Organizes regional and international conferences to discuss issues in global PR
          -Publishes Frontline
Sponsors the Golden World Awards

Codes for Specific Situations
1. Financial Information
2. Video News Releases
3. Internet Public Relations
4. Corporate Practice

 To find out more information or explore to the world of PR for yourself check out Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron.

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COMM 2322 – Chapter 2

The Evolution of Public Relations
Chapter two of Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics focuses on the history of public relations and the direction the profession is heading. Although the digital age has extremely transformed PR, according to the text, “the practice of public relations is probably as old as human communication itself.”

Here is some important information from chapter two:

The Beginnings of Public Relations
The practice of public relations has been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians. The Greeks, Plato, Julius Caesar, St. Paul, and the early Roman Catholic church all used methods of public relations to persuade and inform the communities around them. Public relations also played an important role in the Boston Tea Party and the attractions of showman Phineas T. Barnum. In addition, westward expansionists and early American politicians fused public relations into their publicity and promotion acts.

Four Classic Models of PR
Press Agentry/Publicity– distribution of information that may be exaggerated, distorted, or even incomplete to “hype” a cause, product, or service
Public Information– based on the journalistic ideal of accuracy and completeness, and the mass media is the primary channel
Two-Way Asymmetric– help the communicator better understand the audience and how to persuade it
Two-Way Symmetric– use of “relationship building” as there is a mutual understanding of purpose and communication between an organization and its audience

Feminization of the Field
The most dramatic change in the field of public relations is the tranformation of PR from a male-dominated field to one in which women constitute about 70% of practitioners. Here’s why:
1. Women find a more welcoming environment in PR and see more opportunities for advancement
2. Women make more money in the PR field than in traditional female-dominated professions (teaching/social work)
3. A public relations firm can be started without a lot of capital
4. Women tend to have better listening and communicating skills
5. Women are more sensitive in 2-way communication

The Future of Public Relations
This second of the chapter is particularly important for students like  me who are interested in a career in the public relations profession. We must be ready to face the changes that are constantly taking place within the field such as a multicultural world, the public demand for transparency, the expanding role of PR, an increased emphasis on measurement and evaluation, the managing of the 24/7 news cycle, the fragmentation of the mass media, the rise of social media outlets, and the need for lifelong learning.

 To find out more information or explore to the world of PR for yourself check out Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron.

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