(Syndicated Newspaper Story)
How to improve your public image
By Pierre A. Kandorfer
Do you belong to executives who love to save money, especially on something as “mysterious” as PR? Have you ever thought why some people, companies and organizations are so widely recognized and successful? This does not happen by accident! Unless you are a celebrity, a “good PR” does not happen on its own. It is a combination of art, science and hard work.While some big corporations employ dozens of people who work virtually 24/7 to improve their media appearance and public image - many (mostly smaller and mid-size) companies are practically unable to "sell" themselves in the arena of public opinion.
Why Is PR Vital?
Today’s public life is congested with conflicting, opposing, often radical political agendas, far-reaching business and philosophical ideas threatening our way of life – and sometimes our very own existence. If you do not compete in the war of public opinion, you already have lost half of the game. The “wait-and-see” attitude may produce the first nail on your coffin, and just “reacting” to ideas from your competitors or enemies makes you a second class player. You deserve better!
Media Increases Your Credibility
Why are virtually all relevant companies and organizations spending millions of dollars for their marketing and advertising? To increase their name recognition. However, only Public Relations also increases your credibility. If your customers read about your firm, products or organization in the editorial section of your newspaper, this also increases your importance and your public image.Media Coverage
Opens You Doors
Ask people who use PR successfully how much their favorable media coverage influenced their ability to approach new areas of activity. The favorable impression on you offers you the opportunity to open new doors shut to you before.
Media Coverage Makes You a Player
Any positive coverage of your company, products, organization of ideas features you as a “player” in the field of your expertise. Subconsciously, it makes you appear “larger” and more important than you seem otherwise.
PR Surpasses Your Competitors
Any good PR tries to “sell” you as “the best” in your field, or at least close to that impression. If the public “buys” this image, they will respect you and your ideas, and they even may think that it is worth to pay a higher price.
PR “stretches” Your Total Budget
Nothing is “for free”, especially paid advertising. However, if you compare the cost of ads to a sophisticated PR campaign, this form of public communication is the best deal you can get for your marketing buck!
PR Is Ideal To “Sell” Your Ideas
With a professional PR, you are virtually always in a driver’s seat. Unless totally unavoidable, never just “react” to other people’s actions. Launch your own products or ideas first, and let other people or competitors react to your work.
Create A Public Relations Plan
• Budget • Timetables of your strategy• Methods you intend to use• Your key ideas• Your objective• Analysis of your situationEverything starts with a professional PR plan describing your PR goals and objectives. Determine your targets and document products or ideas you want to communicate. The following key elements are vital:
Standard Press Kit
Always have a professionally prepared standard Press Kit of your company or organization ready. Whenever necessary, you can instantly deliver all-important information about you to the media. All names, numbers and facts you want to “sell” to the media. A “must” for everybody.
Data Base Of Media Contacts
A good media list makes it easier to maintain a long-term contact to specific important people in the media business.Start developing a complete database of all important media outlets you want to talk to. You may sort them by regions, print or broadcast, news or magazines, and many other parameters.
Main Focus: “Press Releases”
• Feature Press Releases with “Evergreen” topics not depending on specific release date• “Trend” Press Releases informing the media about specific trends in the business• Extensive Press Releases focusing on all major announcements• Brief Press Releases used for short announcementsPress Releases are usually the bread-and-butter of any PR work. There are many opportunities to use them:
Highly effective and mostly reasonably to produce, are video news releases for TV stations. This can be completely pre-produced TV stories such you can watch on any television station – or just a compilation of attractive video footage the stations do not have but would like to use for their stories about the topic or event you want to “sell” to them.Video News Releases
Media Training For Key ExecutivesJ
ust watch executives of any firm or organization giving interviews to journalists. There are huge differences in their appearance and effectiveness. There are many aspects to consider – not just what to say, but what not to say also. And, always important, how to say it….
The Meat: Press Conference
Secondly, just the timing is a big factor: No time of the day is really convenient to all news media, which is permanently under deadline pressure. Many journalists hate press conferences because they want “their story” independently from the competition.For instance, you cannot avoid unfriendly journalists opposing your ideas in an unfair and aggressive, sometimes agenda-driven way. Press conferences are very effective but very “risky” also. They usually reserved for really “big events” and important topics. They must be extremely carefully planed and executed, and they contain many pitfalls you cannot judge ahead of time.
Popular: Media Tours
Quite popular among journalists are “media tours”. As always in contacts with media people, you must be very careful with the organization and planning of the tour. You must guarantee that it is “worth” for them spending hours on your tour. Otherwise, the effect might be just the opposite of your intention.
Photo And Video Source
A very good way to “sell” whatever you want to do, is having an archive of photos and maybe video clips ready to release them to the media. They are sometimes very thankful for that, and you are in the news again.
Acting As A Source
Any professional PR work must be more than a short-term “fireworks”. If you establish yourself and your organization as an “expert” of your field, you will be greatly rewarded for that. In this case, journalists will contact you whenever they think that you as an “expert” have something to contribute to their story. Definitely worth pursuing!
PR And Much More….Depending on your manpower and budget, there are many other things you can do to improve your image by being featured in the media. Special events, trade shows, fact sheets, community relations, etc. just to name a few.And for all those who still don’t get it, refer them to the Bible: Lord forgive them because they don’t know what they don’t know….