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News Release

  • Use short, succint headlines and subheads to highlight main points and pique interest. They should not simply be a repeat of the information in the lead in paragraph.
  • Don’t use generic words such as “the leading provider” or “world class” to position your company. Be specific.
  • Don’t describe products using phrases such as “unique” or “total solution.” Use specific terms or examples to demonstrate the products distinctiveness.
  • Use descriptive and creative words to grab an editors attention, but make sure they are accurate and not exaggerated.
  • Don’t highlight the name of your company or product in the headline of a news release if it is not highly recognized. If you are not a household name, focus on the news intended.
  • Tell the news. Focus on how your announcement affects your industry and lead with that rather than overtly promoting your product or company.
  • Crititique your writing by asking yourself, “Who cares?” Why should readers be interested in this information?
  • Don’t throw everything into the release. Better to break your news into several releases if material is lengthy.
  • Don’t use lame quotes. Write like someone is actually talking- eliminate the corporatese that editors love to ignore. Speak with pizzazz to increase your chances of being published.
  • Target your writing. Create two different tailored releases that will go out to different types of media rather than a general release that isn’t of great interest to either group.
  • Look for creative ways to tie your announcement in with current news or trends.
  • Write simply.
  • Follow the AP style.
  • Don’t use metaphors unless they are used to paint a clearer picture for the reader.
  • Don’t overdo it. It is important to write colorfully, to focus on small specific details, to include descriptions of people, places, and events- but do not write poetry when you want press.
  • Don’t be formulate in your news release writing. Not every release must start with the name of the company or the product. Break out of the mold to attract media attention.
  • Don’t expect editors to print yoru entire release. Important info should be contained in the first two paragraphs.
  • Make it clear how your annoucement is relevant for the editors’ readers.

Media Kit components:

  1. The main news release
  2. A news feature about the development of the product of something similar
  3. Fact sheets on the product, org., or event
  4. Background information
  5. Photos and drawings with captions
  6. Biographical information on the spokesperson or chief execs
  7. A basic brochure

Public Relations – Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition

Wilcox and Cameron-


Reaching diverse age groups

Youth and Young Adults

  • They will spend equal time intereacting with friends online and in person
  • Initial interaction online will precede most dating and marriage
  • They will spend more time online than in interaction with parents by tendfold
  • They will be more reserved on social skills
  • They will be savvy and skeptical about online identities such as chat participants
  • They will not tolerate print forms, slow application processes, and archaic systems

Baby Boomers

  • Tidal wave of Americans born between 1946 and 1964- about 76 million people
  • Grew up in an age of prosperity and not too worried about problems or retirement (wealth)
  • Now concerned with health care, insurance, retirement planning, and personal investing
  • Active, socially conscious


  • With the perspective of long experience, they often are less easily convinced than young adults, demand value in the things they buy, and pay little attention to fads
  • They vote in greater numbers than their juniors and are more intense readers of newspapers and magazines. Retirees also watch television heavily
  • They form an excellent source of volunteers for social, health, and cultural organizations because they have time and often are looking for something to do
  • They are extremely health conscious, out of self interest, and want to know about medical developments.

Reaching racial and ethnic groups

  • Organize a team with an inherent understanding of the customs and values of the various demographic groups you are trying to reach
  • Understand that consumers of diverse cultural backgrounds respond better to messages that are culturally relevant
  • Remember that consumers of diverse cultural backgrounds are extremely loyal and once your products are services become part of their lives, there is a very good chance you will keep them
  • Use the primary language of the audience. A large portion of your target audience prefers to communicate in their primary language, even if they also have strong english skills
  • Use good spokespersons who represent the audience. The spokesperson must be able to be a good communicator and be sensitive to the issues that are important to the audience

Matching the audience with the media

  • Public Relations practitioners should use local print and broadcast media to reach diverse publics. She media have high credibility among the public.
  • Campaigns should incorporate concepts of word of mouth communications to reach influentials in target publics. Social networking websites are a good way to do this.
  • Information should be provided when the audience is most receptive.
  • Celebrity endorsements have low credibility among consumers, but they can provide a “triggering effect” in terms of getting audience attention.
  • Women, particularly age 25 to 54, use traditional media but also use the internet more frequently than men to make purchasing decisions

Public Relations – Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition

Wilcox and Cameron-

What is public opinion?

  • Public Opinion is the collective expression of opinion of many individuals bound into a group by common aims, aspirations, needs, and ideals.
  • People who are interested or who have a vested or self- interest in an issue, or who can be affected by the outcome of the issue, form public opinion on that particular item.
  • Pyschologically, opinion basically is determined by self interest. Events, words, or other stimuli opinion only insofar as their relationship to self interest or a general concern is apparent.
  • Opinion does not remain aroused for a long period of time unless people feel their self interest is acutely involved or unless opinion, aroused by words, is sustained by events.
  • Once self interest is involved, opinion is not easily changed.
  • Opinion is highly sensitive to events that have an impact on the public at large or a particular segment of the public.
  • By and large, public opinion does not anticipate events, only reacts to them.
  • Events trigger formation of public opinion. Unless people are aware of an issue, they are not likely to be concerned or have opinion. Awareness and discussion lead to crystallizing of opinions and often a consensus among the public.
  • Events of unusual magnitude are likely to swing public opinion temporarily from one extreme to another. Opinion does not stablize until the implication of the event is seen with some perspective.

Opinion Leaders- those who are:

  1. Highly interested in a subject or issue
  2. Better informed on an issue than the average person
  3. Avid consumers of mass media
  4. Early adopters of new ideas
  5. Good organizers who can get other people to take action
  6. Typically- active in the community, have a college degree, earn relatively high incomes, regularly read newspapers and magazines, actively participate in recreational activities, and show environmental concern by recycling

Persuasion is used to:

  • Change or neutralize hostile opinions
  • Crystallize latent opinions and positives attitudes
  • Conserve favorable opinions

Persuasive Messages Include:

  • Make money, save money, save time, little effort, more comfort, better health, cleaner, escape pain, gain praise, be popular, be loved or accepted, keep possessions, more enjoyment, satisfy curiousity, protect family, be stylish, have beautiful things, satisfy appetite, be like others, avoid trouble, avoid criticism, protect reputation, be an individual, be safe, make work easier, be secure.


  1. Do not sue false, fabricated, misrepresented, distorted, or irrelevent evidence to support arguments or claims.
  2. Do not intentionally use specious, unsupported, or illogical reasoning.
  3. Do not represent yourself as informed or as an expert on a subject when you are not.
  4. Do not use irrelevant appeals to divert attention or scrutiny from the iddue at hand.
  5. Do not deceive your audience by concealing your real purpose, your self interest, the group your represent, or your position as an advocate of a viewpoint.
  6. Do not ask your audience to lunk your idea or proposal to eemotion laden values, motives, or goals to which actually is not related.
  7. Do not distort, hide, or misrepresent the number, scope, intensity, or undesirable features of consequences.
  8. Do not use emotional appeals taht lack a supporting basis of evidence or reasoning or that would not be accepted if the audience had time and opportunity to examine the subject itself.
  9. Do not oversimplify complex situations into simplistic, two valued, either/or, polar views or choices.
  10. Do not pretend certainty when tentativeness and degress of probability would be more accurate.
  11. Do not advocate something in which you do not believ yourself.

Objectives: A prerequisite for evaluation

  • Was the activity or program adequately planned?
  • Did the recipients of the message understand it?
  • How could the program strategy have been more effective?
  • Were all primary and secondary audiences reached?
  • Was the desired organizatinal objective achieved?
  • What unforseen circumstances affected the success of the program or activity?
  • Did the program or activity fall within the budget set for it?
  • What steps can be taken to improve the success of similar future activities?

Media Impressions- The potential audience reached by a periodical, a broadcast program, or an internet website.

Advertising Equivalency- A 5 inch  acrticle in a trade magazine thats charges $100 per column inch for advertising would be worth $500 in publicity value.

Measurement of Audience Awareness

  • Day after recall- participants are asked to view a specific television program or read a particular news story and then the next day they are interviewed to learn which messages they remembered.

Measurement of Audience Attitudes

  • Baseline Study-  measurement of audience attitudes and opinions before, during, and after a public relations campaign
  • Benchmark studies- graphically show the percentage difference in attitudes and opinions as a result of increases information and publicity.

Measurement of Supplemental Activities

  • Communication Audits
  • Pilot tests and split messages
  • Meeting and event attendance
  • Newsletter readership

Public Relations – Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition

Wilcox and Cameron-

  • A Public Relations perspective
  1. Message Exposure. Public Relations personnel provide materials to the mass media and disseminate other messages through controlled media such as newletters and brochcures. Intended audiences are exposed to the message in various forms.
  2. Accurate dissemination of the message. The basic information, often filtered by media gatekeepers, remains intact as it is transmitted through various media.
  3. Acceptance of the message. Based on its view of reality , the audience not only retains the message, but accepts it as valid.
  4. Attitude change. The audience not only believes the message, but makes a verbal or mental commitment to change behavior as a result of the message.
  5. Change in overt behavior. Members of the audience actually change their current behavior or purchase the product and use it.
  • Five Communication Elements
  1. Sender/ Source (encoder)
  2. A message
  3. A channel
  4. A receiver (decoder)
  5. Feedback from the receiver to the sender
  • Use Symbols, acronyms, and slogans
  • Avoid jargon
  • Avoid cliches and hype words
  • Avoid Euphemisms
  • Avoid Discrimanatory language

Remembering the message

  • Repetition is necessary because all members of a traget audience don’t see or hear the message at the same time. Not everyone reads the newpaper on a particular day or watches the same television news program.
  • Repetition reminds the audience, so there is less chance of a failure to remember the message. If a source has high credibility, repetetition prevents erision of opinion change.
  • Repetition helps the audience remember the message itself. Studies have shown that advertising is quickly forgotten if not repeated constantly.
  • Repetition can lead to improved learning and hearing and increase the chance of penetrating audience indifference or resistance.

Five Stage Adoption Process

  1. Awareness. A person becomes aware of an idea or a new product, often by means of an advertisement or a news story.
  2. Interest. The individual seeks more information about the idea or the product, perhaps by ordering a brochure, picking up a pamphlet, or reading an in-depth article in a newspaper or magazine.
  3. Evaluation. The person evaluates the idea or the product on the basis of how it meets specific  needs and wants. Feedback from friends and family is part of this process.
  4. Trial. Next, the person tries the product or the idea on an experimental basis, by using a sample, witnessing a demonstration, or making qualifying statements such as, “I read…”
  5. Adoption. The individual begins to use the product on a regular basis or integrates the idea into his or her belief system. The “I read…” becomes “I think…” if peers provide support and reinforcement of the idea.

Factors that can affect the adoption process

  1. Relative Advantage
  2. Compatibility
  3. Complexity
  4. Trialability
  5. Observability

Public Relations – Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition

Wilcox and Cameron-

  • Management By Objective (MBO)- Provides focus and direction for formulating strategy to achieve specific organizational objectives.
  • Nine steps that can serve as a planning checklist that provides a basis for strategic planning:
  1. Client/employer objectives
  2. Audience/ publics
  3. Audience objectives
  4. Media Channels
  5. Media Channel Objectives
  6. Sources and Questions
  7. Communication strategies
  8. Essence of the message
  9. Nonverbal Support

A strategic planning model:


  • Category facts- What are recent industry trends?
  • Product/ service issues- What are the significant characteristics of the product, service, or issue?
  • Competitive facts- Who are the competitors, and what are their competitive strengths, similarities, and differences?
  • Customer facts- Who uses the product and why?


  • Business objectives- What are the company’s business objectives? What is the time frame?
  • Role of public relations- How does public relations fit into the marketing mix?
  • Sources of new business- What sectors will produce growth?


  • Target audiences- What are the target audiences? What are their “hot” buttons?
  • Current mind-set- How do audiences feel about the product, service, or issue?
  • Desired mind-set- How do we want them to feel?

Key Message

  • Main point- What one key message must be conveyed to change or reinforce mind-sets?

8 elements of a program plan:

  1. Situation
  2. Objectives
  3. Audience
  4. Strategy
  5. Tactics
  6. Calender/ timetable
  7. Budget
  8. Evaluation

Public Relations – Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition

Wilcox and Cameron-

Questions that should be asked before formulating research:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. What kind of imformation is needed?
  3. How will the results of the research be used?
  4. Whats specific public (or publics) should be researched?
  5. Should the organization do the research in house or hire an outside consultant?
  6. How will the research data be analyzed, reported, or applied?
  7. How soon will the results be needed?
  8. How much will the research cost?

10 Ways to use PR research:

  • To achieve the credibility with management
  • To define audiences and segment publics
  • To formulate strategy
  • To test messages
  • To help management keep in touch
  • To precent crises
  • To monitor the competetion
  • To sway public opinion
  • To generate publicity
  • To measure success.

Types of Research:

  1. Qualitative- research that is good for probing attitudes and perceptions, assessing penetration of messages, and testing messages. (Content analysis, interviews, focus groups, copy testing, ethnographic techniques.)
  2. Quantitative- Randomness and large number of respondents.

Public Relations – Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition

Wilcox and Cameron-


July 2018
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