Chapter 19: Success Measurement

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 19 discusses the importance of measuring success. There are many reasons why you should measure success and it’s importance listed in the book. Some of the reasons the reading lists are to document if PR efforts actually achieved objectives, apply lessons learned to future PR efforts, to demonstrate the practitioners are actually doing their jobs, and show the impact PR had on the organization.

The book goes on to discuss how important it is to first have the management and PR professionals agree on criteria that is used to evaluate. This can make a big difference on how you structure your campaign. It also makes readers aware that they shouldnt wait until the last minute or the end of the campaign to determine how successs will be evaluated. Another good thing  to remember when thinking about measuring success is to ensure your objectives are not vague.

There are many ways to evaluate and measure success of a campaign. One of the ways is to focus on the measurement of production and distribution. This method focuses on the number of news releases, feature stories, photos, etc. that were produced for the campaign. This is not a great method always because it lacks meaning. Instead of focusing on quality of materials produced, this method focuses on quantity.

The most common way to evaluate PR programs is to measure the message exposure. This is a compilation of print stories, broadcast mentions, and number of visitors to websites. Many use the media mentions to evaluate success but today it is becoming more relevant to know who is being reached by the message and what they are doing once they are reached.

The book lists many ways to play “the numbers game” when measuring success of campaigns such as media impressions and advertising value equivalency. These are important but now there are more systematic content analysis that can be done thanks to computer and various software programs known as systematic tracking systems.

Measuring audience awareness is important when evaluating PR success. This can be done using surveys asking audience what they remembered about the message. Measuring audience attitudes is extremely vital because it will decided if audience actually changed its attitudes and opinions. One way to do this is to conduct benchmark studies, which means to sample the opinions of the target audience before and after the campaign.

Measurement of action is also discussed in the book. While it is hard to accomplish this it is easy to measure. By using sales figures, market share, or voting results one can see the results of measurement of action.

Once a campaign is over and you have finished with the evaluation stage, you need to report the results to the client. When you are reporting to your client you need to refer to the original plan and state what you accomplished under the categories of situation, audience, objectives, strategy, tactics, timing, and costs.

While chapter 18 and 19 in the book were important , I think the tactics are the most important part of any public relations campaign. These are the tangible materials that you decide to produce because it was the medium you decided best for the objectives. It is always good to go back and look at what other publications or materials might have accomplished your objectives differently. It is also good to remember what you could have done differently or better so you can make those changes for future campaigns. Since we spent a lot of the semester discussing types of tactics and how to produce materials, I think everyone would agree that is a huge part of all PR campaigns that everyone should take tactics seriously.

 

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Chapter 18: Program and Campaign Planning

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 18 is about planning and organizing campaigns. Throughout previous chapters the book discusses tactical aspects of public relations, this chapter focuses more on the campaign management and programming. An important thing to know before beginning the planning process is when making plans for a campaign it is important to make a written plan because it improves effectiveness overall. The campaign has a greater impact as well if utilizing a written plan.

In the stages of development the book suggests consulting with the client or management first. This gets them involved and gives you the basic information you will need to make your plan. The next thing one should do when planning a campaign is research. There is never enough information you can know about your subject. When researching there are various sources to utilize. One source the book mentions is surveys. These will make you more in tune with the target audiences attitudes and perceptions. Another good source to utilize is the organization itself. The organization can provide you with marketing research that has been conducted, it can also help you to understand why certain things have happened or how they have been done. Other resources the book lists are references, questions, analysis of communications, focus group interviews, media databases and demographics.

The book goes on to discuss the elements of the plan. In every PR plan there should be eight elements. These eight elements include situation, objectives, audience, strategy, tactics, timing, and budget. First the situation part of the plan. The situation refers to summarizing the organization’s relationships with it’s publics. This is where the PR professional should get an idea of why the program is needed and may be the most important aspect of the planning process since it is your job to ensure the campaign is necessary and a good thing to spend money on.

Objectives are the next part of the planning process. The book explains that the campaign may have many objectives if it is large enough or it may just have one. There are two basic kinds of objectives. Informational objectives increase awareness of an issue, event, or product. This can be harder to measure than the other kind of objectives which are motivational objectives. Motivational objectives are meant to change attitudes and opinions with the idea of modifying behavior. These are more bottom line oriented.

The next part of the plan is the audience. It is vital to know the audiences and that there are primary and secondary audiences to consider. The book then goes on to explain the strategy part of the campaign. This relates to what the campaign will be based on and keyed directly to the objective. Strategy should reflect audience key interests and key selling proposition.

The fifth element in the plan is tactics. This is the actual execution of and materials produced in the campaign. Timing is the sixth element and all campaigns should be done in a timely manner relative to what is going on surrounding the campaign. Another important element of planning a campaign is the budget. There are staff expenses to be familiar with as well as out of pocket. The eighth and final element of the PR planning process is evaluation. Did you meet your objectives? A good way to find this out when using informational objectives is to conduct before and after surveys. For motivational objectives a way to figure out if you met your goals is to see if there is an increase in sales since the campaign began.

Chapter 18 was really important because it taught students and those who read it that there are more than just tactical aspects to the PR career. There must always be a plan first and reasoning behind the types of tactics you are using. Planning takes a lot of time and I now know how important a well written and though out plan is in advance before tactics. Now I know when I am in my profession the written plan is extremely important to utilize and should always be thought of when conducting campaigns.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 17: Meetings and Events

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 17 is all about organizing, planning, and executing meetings and events. In the public relations profession it is often part of your job to plan events to help promote the business you work for or your client. Meetings and events, if done the right way, can do a lot for your clients reputation and image.

The book discusses staff meetings, group meetings, banquets, receptions, cocktail parties, open houses, plant tours, conventions, trade shows, and promotional events. I think banquets are very important to discuss because they are usually held to celebrate an event like a companies anniversary or to honor an individual within the company. They can also be utilized to raise money for charitable organizations.

When planning a banquet, budget costs are an important key consideration to remember. While special speakers at the banquet may help increase ticket sales it will also increase price of the event. Throughout entire process of planning a banquet you should always be considering your budget and what it allows for. Other important aspects besides speaker costs when considering budgets for banquets are menu types. Fixed menus are usually used for banquets to help maintain costs. As far as drinks go for the event, sometimes it is best to go through the location of the banquet but sometimes it is best to provide liquor yourselves or through other services. It all depends on the costs and if there will be a corkage fee for alcohol brought in by another party.

The book discusses short cocktail parties as well. Usually these are used to celebrate a milestone or a recent success. They can also be used to introduce new key employees or just for alumni gatherings. The important thing to remember about all cocktail parties is that they are mainly focused on interaction and not speeches. If there is some kind of speech given it should last a maximum of 5-10 minutes. While it is easy to begin a cocktail party, they aren’t always the easiest thing to end. The best way to conclude the cocktail party is to notify guests the bar will be closing in ten minutes and close the party once the bar is closed.

Open houses and plant tours are important when wishing to gain favorable public opinion about the organization. Open houses are usually one day affairs unless there is a large number of people planning to attend then it could be stretched out for two days. Plant tours on the other hand are usually offered regularly. An example I thought of when reading about plant tours are the tours given at Anheuser Busch brewery. Those are offered quite often and attract a large crowd to the facility. While a lot of people go on the tours at the brewery there are only so many allowed in the groups that they take at one time. This was mentioned in the book as a difference between plant tours and open houses. Open houses have a large amount of guests at one time and plant tours have less people in groups at one time. The main key considerations to remember when planning an open house are: day and hour, guests, and publicity and invitations.

I think all of the events are important to discuss in the book and it was a great chapter to read for students because events require a long and detailed planning process. I don’t think I realized how much work planning an event or meeting entailed until I had to help plan some events at my internship. The events I have helped to plan include company movie nights, in-house contests, and right now I am in the middle of putting on a canned food drive event. For the canned food drive event we have teamed up with Operation Food Search from November- December to help out the less fortunate. We have prepared flyers, sent out emails to employees, kept in touch with the Operation Food Search people, and included a company wide contest where winners will receive a gift card to Target for their contributions to the food drive. It takes a lot of preparation and a lot of planning to conduct these things and I don’t think people are always aware of the time that goes into such events. This chapter definitely helps to explain the long process of organizing and hosting events.

 

Chapter 16: Direct Mail & Advertising

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 16 discusses the importance of utilizing direct mail and advertising. I found this chapter to be extremely interesting since I am a mass communications minor and in one of my classes we have been working with direct mail pieces for projects as well as advertising materials.

The difference that is important to remember as a PR professional when utilizing these tools is advertising used by public relations professionals should not be aimed to sell a product or service to consumers. Instead public relations professionals should utilize advertising and direct mail to build further trust, create favorable opinions or attitudes and motivate audience to support. When talking about advertising in my mass communication courses the objective to sell the product or service so PR objectives differ greatly and it is important to remember the differences.

The book discusses  some advantages of using direct mail. One main advantage is it is a controlled communication medium. You are in charge of who receives the direct mail and who doesn’t. I think this is an advantage over some technological communication advantages we have now because if you are posting something online somewhere there is no control of who sees it and who doesn’t. Another advantage is the personalization factor. There are so many emails and things sent via web these days and while that is good the materials tend to lose the personality factor.

Another reason direct mail has an advantage is because of its cost effectiveness. Direct mail is cost effective in the sense that it costs much less than a radio or TV spot. It’s also less than a print advertisement in a magazine.

Direct mail has some package components the book lists that are important to know. The mailing envelope should be attractive to the eye because it is what the reader or intended audience sees first. The envelope should make the audience want to open it. Some direct mail pieces used for advertising purposes include teasers on the envelope such as telling the consumer they won a cruise or money. These should be avoided by PR professionals.

Another component of the direct mail package is the letter. It should use a personalized greeting and the headline or opening paragraph should attract the readers interest. The book also lists brochures as a component in the direct mail package. Brochures should be brief but also provide useful information. Some elements that can increase a brochures interest are testimonials, questions and answers, benefits tables, comparisons, and guarantees. Other components of direct mail packaging are reply cards, return envelops and gifts.

Advertising is a controlled medium like direct mail. There are different types of public relations advertising. These include image building, investor and financial relations, public service, advocacy/issues, and announcements. I think the most important type for PR professionals is image building. Since PR is all about building and maintaining relationships with publics and maintaining an image, image building should be considered extremely important when it comes to advertising. This will strengthen an organization’s image or reputation and that is what PR is all about.

Chapter 16 was a good read for public relations students. I really enjoyed reading about how public relations utilizes advertising because since I am a mass communications minor advertising is an interest of mine. I think that now I know there are differences between the type of advertising we talk about in our PR classes and the type we talk about in my mass communication classes I will be a well rounded PR professional. Since I work with both kinds of advertising I can understand the difference to a further extent now that I read the chapter.

Chapter 15: Speeches and Presentations

In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 15 is about giving speeches and presentations. Public speaking is an important skill to utilize and should be taken seriously public relations professionals.

Before you can give a speech there is a lot of preparation to do. First it is important to research everything possible about your audience. Not only should you research your audience but you need to know things about speakers too. After you do your research you can lay groundwork for your speech.

There are three main parts of a speech; objective, key message and strategy. The objective is the framework for the speech. It should aim to determine what you want to accomplish by giving your speech. What do you want your audience to walk away thinking or believing after your presentation? The key message is important too. There can be more than one key message in a speech. The strategy is the way you approach the speech. The strategy should be appropriate for the setting and tone of the speech.

When writing the speech it is important to remember that there will be several drafts and outlines conducted. The outlines include an opening, body and closing. The opening should get the audience’s attention and establish empathy as well as point to the conclusion. The body of the outline needs to present evidence that leads to conclusion and should use examples, quotes and facts or figures. The conclusion of coarse should summarize evidence and point out what it means.

The book discusses the importance of word selection. The speaker needs to talk to the audience not at them. Some word selection suggestions given were use personal pronouns, avoid jargon, use simple words, use direct quotes, use questions and make comparisons and contrasts. I thought this part of the chapter was extremely important and useful because word choice is critical when preparing speeches. The use of personal pronouns allow the speech to seem more conversational. Avoiding jargon is important because although you know what words used in your industry means it doesn’t necessarily mean your audience does. All this is important to know when preparing speeches and I think will come in handy in the future for me.

Chapter 15 is extremely important for public relation students because knowing to write a successful speech is vital. Speeches can be tricky and will require many drafts and different approaches before succeeding. This chapter can help students to prepare better written speeches once they are professionals in the industry.

Chapter 14: Emails, Memos & Proposals

Chapter 14 in the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, discusses proper use of emails, memos and proposals. Public relations professionals spend a large portion of their day working and engaging in interpersonal communications. Since professionals have so much communicating to do they need to have good organization, efficiency and communication skills. Remember when writing that to save the reader time information should be concise and to the point.

The book lists basic guidelines for writers to follow in all areas of writing. The guidelines include: clarity, completeness, consciseness, correctness, courtesy and responsibility. I think consciseness is important to remember while discussing this chapter because it is all about brevity. Your objective is to be as brief as you can because less is better. Select words that will help convey the ideas in a concise manner.

The chapter goes on to discuss emails, memos, and proposals. Emails are extremely utilized today by all kinds of companies and organizations. Inboxes are filling up at astounding rates and so it is important to have your emails be short and to the point for readers. When writing emails it is important to know the purposes of it. Emails serve special advantages to PR professionals because they can send news releases and media advisories via email and distribute newsletters to employees. It also is effective at keeping up with events, arranging appointments, and editing documents. Email can do a lot of things but can not supplement face to face communications at all times. Good and bad news should be delivered face to face.

While writing emails it is important to know that content can be somewhat informal but that does not mean sloppy. They still need to include proper grammar. Another good thing the book pointed out was that emails have a lot less likelihood to get opened if they include an attachment. This is important for the PR professional to know because they should ensure their news release is in the body of the paragraph and not attached. The first paragraph and subject line should draw readers into the email. It is the most important part and should include the bottom line. It is advised to avoid using “I think” or “I believe” but you should utilize positive statements and keep a good tone.

Proposals are often seen as RFP or request for proposals. The purpose is to get something accomplished, persuade management to approve and authorize some important action that will have a long lasting effect on organization or its people. It should show & satisfy needs and show benefits.

Letters are also discussed and are seen as extremely important because most employers see applicants that write a written thank you letter for the interview as leaving a better impression. The written thank you letter can set you apart from other applicants and can land you the job if it is written effectively.

The most important part to me in the chapter was the section on emails. At my internship I am constantly emailing other company locations general managers and distributing PR materials to them. I send a numerous amount of emails a day and include flyers that should be utilized for the business, screen shots of stories we have landed in the media outlets, and just talk about upcoming events with them so everyone is on the same page at all the locations. While reading this chapter the no attachments included on emails stood out to me because my boss is always telling me if there is an attached image for the news release it is important to make that image size smaller since email inboxes are getting so clogged up lately. After reading more on it I can see why people would rather receive emails without attachments because it saves time for the readers. I am glad that I read this chapter and can utilize this information daily at my internship.

Chapter 13: Newsletters and Brochures

Chapter 13 in the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, is about newsletters and brochures. I thought this was an interesting chapter because recently at my internship we have been busy changing from a newsletter to our first magazine. It will be out before the end of the year and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

While the web is making print publications less popular there still are some advantages to print. One advantage of print material is the portability of it, it can be passed around to family members and friends for people to see at gatherings. Print materials can also lead readers to the websites to discover more content.

The chapter focuses a lot on basics of newsletters and magazines. It discusses content that should and should not be involved, format of newsletters and magazines, costs of each, and design elements. The book recognizes the fact that the design should give a clear insight to the organizations personality and work with the content to give complete message to audiences.

While I was working on things for the magazine at my internship, it was my job to find some industry news pieces that would be interesting for the audience. A survey discussed in the book found results of the  the top 5 audience interests to be organizations future plans, personal policies and procedures, product improvement, job related information and job advancements. The last five interesting topics to audiences in the survey were found to be personal changes and promotions, financial results, stories about employees, personal news, and ad and promotion plans.

Chapter 13 was extremely interesting to me because since I am working with magazine design at my internship it was helpful to know some more basics about it. The book discussed a lot on audience interests and needs, which I think is ultimately the most important thing because if no one is going to read what you produced then there is no point in spending all the time and money making it. Audience needs is the most important thing to meet when producing publications for your organization so now that I have read some basics and basic tips from the book I can apply that when looking for content for the next magazine.