Weiland & Associates
Using the Free Media
Public Relations and Publicity
Weiland & Associates
8107 Pagels Drive
Grand Blanc, MI 48439
Table of Contents
Even though it has been called the free media, public relations requires the investment of thought, time and energy. It can be done without the skills of a professional public relations agent. However, successful public relations activities need sound planning and execution by those who are sensitive to the process of communication. To achieve the full potential of its benefits for your organization, a public relations strategy should be institutionalized as an ongoing part of your promotional activities.
This manual is a checklist of public relations opportunities. It contains many ideas that can help you build your image through well-conceived publicity. It has been an accepted axiom of effective communication that its best to have someone else say something good about you. Publicity does this!
Keep in mind that public relations cannot take the place of good customer relations. But, coupled with a never-ending effort to satisfy customer needs, publicity serves to enhance the image of your organization in the minds of the public.
Research has consistently found that organizations with a well-defined, positive image need to spend less money advertising than those with a poor image. In fact, having a positive image is your single most valuable promotional asset. Credibility is the key that unlocks a powerful strategic advantage that can help you achieve a larger slice of market share.
A word of warning! Poorly executed, ill-conceived advertising, or poor customer treatment can quickly undo the positive impact of an otherwise imaginative and effective public relations strategy. A word of warning! Poorly executed, ill-conceived advertising, or poor customer treatment can quickly undo the positive impact of an otherwise imaginative and effective public relations strategy. A word of warning! Poorly executed, ill-conceived advertising, or poor customer treatment can quickly undo the positive impact of an otherwise imaginative and effective public relations strategy. A word of warning! Poorly executed, ill-conceived advertising, or poor customer treatment can quickly undo the positive impact of an otherwise imaginative and effective public relations strategy.
Douglas K. Weiland
Public relations is doing something worthy of attention. Publicity is telling people about it. Good Publicity and public relations can help promote customer awareness and credibility for a firm and its image in the community.
News releases are good tools for generating positive publicity and they can be tailored to different audiences that you may want to reach. These include narrow groups, such as employees or attendees at particular meetings or conventions, as well as broader groups, such as those in the general marketplace.
The purpose of these notes is to suggest what you may be doing that is worthy of attention, and how to make the most of it.
When you are looking for newsworthy items think in terms of these categories:
Work-related as well as nonwork-related activities of your employees can be a source of news and feature material. Career progress, special recognition and worthwhile activities can all yield good publicity.
The following list of events and activities is provided to suggest sources of publicity:
Business expansion is good news and offers many fertile publicity opportunities. The construction of a new facility, for example, contains the material for a long succession of good copy, including:
A major project will command attention, but even a modest expansion can be used for some beneficial publicity.
Other newsworthy developments include:
Information about company products and services is often of interest to general circulation, business, or industry publications.
How is your organization, its principals, or employees contributing to the community and the industry to which it belongs? In addition to being good business, this kind of effort can make an interesting story.
You might consider planning special events to generate interest in your firm and its products. Open houses, tours and ceremonies can be staged to celebrate such occasions as:
The aforementioned sections on People, Buildings and Facilities, Products and Services can also be a source of occasions to mark in conjunction with anniversary events.
Credibility is increased and news value is intensified when another reputable source is quoted in your new releases. For example, if a feature is written about your business in a national publication it may be viewed as newsworthy in your local papers.
When some important person or organization says something positive about your business it may be newsworthy, or create an occasion to stage an event. Remember, its always more effective when others say something good about you.
A captioned photograph is often used instead of a story where space allows. Therefore, you should plan to send a photograph with a written caption along with a news release whenever possible. The weekly newspapers are especially likely to use pictures if they help tell the story and are of publishable quality.
(to be typed on letterhead)
FOR RELEASE: Immediately.
CONTACT: Jim Smith, President (123)456-7890
SUBJECT: Smith Auto Sales Breaks Ground on Beautification Project
Smith Auto Sales broke ground today on an extensive landscaping and beautification project at the dealerships Main Street location.
Dealership president, Jim Smith was joined by local civic leaders and city officials in scooping up the traditional ceremonial shovel full of earth to commemorate the start of construction on the project. This marks the beginning of a major beautification project which will include extensive landscaping, new signage and the addition of a new, decorative facing on the dealerships showroom.
The project coincides with the 20th anniversary of the dealerships founding on this site.
Commenting on the project, Jim Smith said, "This community has been good to me and to my business. When I heard that local officials were becoming concerned with the view along Main Street, I wanted to do my part to help."
Following the ground breaking ceremony, a luncheon was held at the All America restaurant where local community development officials stressed the need for further beautification.