Monthly ArchiveNovember 2007

Business of PR &Public Relations Tools 29 Nov 2007 02:34 pm

Employee communications: Don’t forget your internal “public”

I’ve had the pleasure to work with a diverse group of companies to help them become better known in their respective industries. In doing so, our firm has employed every conceivable traditional public relations tactic and some non-traditional ones.

While we’re calling and emailing media, securing speaking engagements, writing byline articles, conducting blogger relations and managing crises for our clients, it’s easy to forget about internal communications. If a company is introducing a new product, hiring a new CEO or going after a new type of customer, we advocate that public relations strategies be integrated with focused, internal communications strategies in order to maximize overall business results.

The disciplines of external vs. internal communications have been so specialized that owners of the functions all too often operate independently. Smart companies integrate the functions. They might not reside in the same department or under the same leader, but they work together to achieve exponentially larger results than either could achieve alone.

Southwest airlines’ Nuts About Southwest blog is a great example of an integrated tactic as it achieves greater online visibility while providing a forum for employees. Greater visibility and presence in cyberspace is certainly a public relations goal, and greater employee engagement is certainly an internal communications goal. Together, they help Southwest achieve the ultimate business goal of growing profits.

Posted by Linda

Public Relations Tools &Technology PR Insights 28 Nov 2007 04:00 pm

How to destroy a perfectly good press release, and other gems

I came across some great blog posts the other day – some more recent than others.

The first two links are just great how-to lists when preparing for a panel discussion or product demo presentation. Both are important ways to enhance visibility for our companies and selves, but they also put us in grave danger of being really boring. Guy Kawasaki puts our concerns at ease with his two blog posts:

How to Kick Butt on a Panel, and
How to be a Demo God

I have to give a shout out to PR Insights for referring me to these posts, as well as this one, which is hilarious and sad depending on how you look at it: Hacking Cough provides great journalist perspective on how good news releases can be, and how boring they can become if they are ruined with PR/corporate speak.

On a separate note, The Byline has moved up on Brendan Cooper‘s monthly list of PR Blogs, which is cool. It’s also good place to check for new/unfamiliar blogs similar to this one, which I encourage you to do.

Posted by Rebecca

Public Relations Tools &Technology PR Insights 21 Nov 2007 12:49 pm

News release 101: the DIY guide to newsworthiness

It seems simple, right? We’re doing something cool, we want others to be aware of it, let’s send out a news release. While it’s true that frequent media outreach helps to build brand awareness and perceptions, it’s also true that needless news releases can annoy reporters and lessen your chance of productive media relationships.

Here are five questions to ask yourself before you hit the send button (or ask someone else to do it on your behalf):

1. Who, what, when, where and why? (well, that’s actually five different questions, but anyway…) If your release answers all of the above, you’re good to go. If not, reconsider. When one or more of these key facts are absent, it’s usually an indication your “news” is incomplete and wont be useful to journalists or others. Extra tip for success: try to answer all five briefly within your lead paragraph.

2. What’s new? As Larry always says, “three quarters of the word ‘news’ is the word ‘new.’”If you can’t explain the “new” part (product, growth milestone, client win, management team member, certification, award, etc.) clearly, easily and within the first sentence, don’t send.

3. What’s my goal? The old adage, “begin with the end in mind” helps with news releases, too. “XYZ Company is doing something cool over here” is not a very directive headline (or subhead), so it’s important to decide which specific part of the cool thing you want to emphasize. Do you want people to attend an event? Learn about a new product? Be impressed by your dramatic growth (and what it does for your industry and economy)? Note, the goal of your news release is not “to get media coverage.”

4. Why does my news matter? If your news release does not tell readers why your news is important, don’t send it. For example, a new client win means very little on its own, but when this new client win exemplifies your growth, industry expertise/specialization, etc. it’s more valuable.

5. Where does my news matter? Different aspects of your business have different levels of impact. Generally speaking, your news is regional, national, industry-specific or some combination of these. A new product launch release is best suited for your industry because it reaches your target consumers. On the other hand, noteworthy revenue or employee growth might be a regional success story about XYZ Company’s impact on the economy. For tips to leverage your national media outreach, check out my previous blog post, “National coverage for local organizations.”

Once you’ve addressed these five questions, read our “Meet the press” blog post for technical tips to maximize media relationships by meeting reporters’ needs.

Posted by Nicole

Business of PR 07 Nov 2007 12:36 pm

Ethics and Morality

What has happened to moral values in our times? There has been lots of buzz about the lack of such. Where do we learn our code of ethics, our upbringing, our religion, education and example set by our influencers?

Each of us certainly should maintain a personal code of ethics but also a professional code of ethics. I applaud Dean David Mielke at EMU School of Business for his institution of Ethos Week. Students at EMU will have the opportunity to hear various speakers on the topics of business ethics.

What is also sad at the same time is that this subject even needs to be addressed. What has happened to moral fiber and values of our society?

One of my staff, when discussing this issue said this is “capitalism on steroids.” The pervasive thought is that you can have anything that you want and it does not matter how you achieve it.

Perhaps it is time for each of us to think about how we can turn the current direction of society and make ethical issues of high importance.

Posted by Sandy

About Eiler Communications 07 Nov 2007 12:18 pm

Do You Have a Bus Seat?

Reading Rebecca’s blog entry of Good to Great harkened me to the busload of people that we have had on our staff throughout our 20+ years.

I has been a very interesting time observing how people work, are they a team player, leader and a good PR practitioner. Can they deliver for Eiler Communications clients the caliber of service which we strive to deliver.

Some have been able to stay on the bus and others were off.

I think that it is inherent to human nature to want to succeed personally and professionally. Some are able to achieve in both realms and some in only one. Personal satisfaction is what really counts.

We have had several members of our firm become highly successful in their careers. Larry and I have seven children and have a strong nurturing component to the culture of our business. I am sure that is part of the reason that we have always had a young staff who have blossomed from the guidance and mentoring they have received. We have had staff who have entered careers in the corporate area, one started his own PR firm in DC.

What makes these folks unique is that they maintained humility and recognized the basis of their growth. We are all products of our influencers, experiences and opportunities. These folks flourished in their careers giving credit to those who nurtured and influenced them. They will stay on any bus they chose. They acknowledge their foundation.

Sometimes and fortunately not often, individuals develop exaggerated self-pride or confidence and a sense of arrogance. Someone like this climbs the ladder of success without any acknowledgment of how that success was achieved. By doing so each of the rungs of the ladder is destroyed leaving them no way to climb down. They delude themselves into thinking that they were self-made talent. These folks do not stay on the bus for long.

Posted by Sandy