How do I know if I need public relations services?
Most businesses, organizations, associations, nonprofits, professional service providers and individuals understand the need for effective and clear communication with their various audiences as being crucial to their success. Your messages will influence your reputation and help create your success.
The wise application of professional public relations strategy and services can make all the difference to your successful communications efforts. But many organizations and individuals don't have in-house expertise, or the human resources to get the job done. Other times, you need help with a specific area of expertise, strategic planning, specialized training, or counsel during a crisis.
By closely assessing public opinion and interpreting it, a public relations professional can develop an effective communications plan that will enhance your effectiveness, build positive public opinion, or help change it.
What can a public relations professional do for me?
- Provide an external, objective viewpoint or perspective;
- Increase an organization, business, or individual's overall visibility;
- Support a product, service, or entire marketing effort;
- Offer counsel and direction during a crisis;
- Communicate with internal audiences including employees;
- Establish and strengthen community relations;
- Interact and communicate with government agencies;
- Critique existing organization policies as they affect public relations goals;
- Measure and evaluate existing public relations programs;
- Bring new skills to support and augment existing public relations efforts.
How do I decide who to hire?
Finding the right match in a public relations firm will pay off in time, money and performance. You want a firm that understands your business or organization, shares an enthusiasm for your mission and vision, communicates clearly, sets realistic goals, manages expectations, gets up to speed quickly, and most important, creates good chemistry with you and your staff and is comfortable with your company's culture... all the while remaining independent and honest, even when it’s difficult.
For additional advice, the Counselors Academy of the Public Relations Society of America offers this helpful guide, Selecting a Consultant. | PDF
Isn't public relations only for large companies?
Almost every business, organization, or individual can benefit from public relations as an alternative and supplement to traditional advertising and marketing. Even the smallest company can seize the opportunity for potentially massive local, national or international exposure.
Aren't public relations services expensive?
A well-designed program that is customized to meet your goals and objectives should not be any more expensive that any other professional service critical to your success, and you should see a significant return on investment.
How does the Falcon Valley Group charge for its services?
Public relations firms charge for their time in much the same way as do most attorneys, accountants and other professional consultants retained to help businesses run more productively. The Falcon Valley Group offers its clients options in billing for services, based on its initial review of your needs and your budget, including:
- Monthly contract rate
- Hourly rate (usually against a monthly or yearly budget)
- Project rate
- Retainer rate
Falcon Valley Group will fully detail the method of billing fees/time charges, suppliers' costs, out-of-pocket expenses, payment terms and any interest charges for late payment to insure a mutually beneficial arrangement prior to signing any agreement with you.
What is Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)?
Accreditation in Public Relations, or APR, is a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals, administered by the Universal Accreditation Board
. An APR designation is a symbol of professional decision to knowledge and ethics at the highest level. It identifies a public relations practitioner who has demonstrated exceptional skills, experience and professional judgment in the field by participating in a rigorous program of skills assessment, review, and study, and by passing an examination. The designation Accredited in Public Relations (APR) signifies a high level of experience and competence and represents the top 2% of all public relations professionals in the United States.
A news release (often incorrectly called a press release) is an article that is written in a journalistic format. It is not an advertisement and it is not a marketing message. The purpose of the news release is to highlight what is interesting and newsworthy about your company, organization, services or products.
How often should we send out news releases to the media?
As often as you have something newsworthy to communicate – the key being “newsworthy.” In general, once a month is the minimum. It is important to generate fresh and updated information, especially on your website. New information drives new traffic to you, validates you as a leader in your field and can help you maintain visibility so that you might be called upon as an expert when a story about your subject is in the planning stages.
How do you write a news release that doesn't sound like an advertisement?
A good news release needs to be informative and include items of genuine interest to your target audience. Writing a release that sounds like an advertisement is a sure fire way to be ignored by news media, and can even hurt you in the long run. Writing effective news releases that get attention demands skill and experience.
Do I need to be blogging, Tweeting, uploading video on YouTube, have a MySpace or Facebook page, or a Second Life presence?
Maybe, maybe not. Social media and Web 2.0 tools are exciting and can be useful, but they aren’t one size fits all and they aren’t for everyone, especially if they become outdated and stale. A savvy public relations counselor determines exactly where you should be investing your time and energy, and it might be in good old fashioned communication tools that are still plenty effective.
What's the difference between public relations and marketing?
Many people confuse these two concepts. Public relations establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends. Marketing identifies human needs and wants, offers products and services to satisfy those demands, and causes transactions that deliver products and services in exchange for something of value to the provider.
Marketing focuses on exchange relationships with its customers. Public relations covers a broad range of relationships and goals, and maintains a hospitable social and political environment through communication.
What's the difference between public relations and advertising?
Advertising is information placed in the media by an identified sponsor that pays for the time or space. It is a controlled method of placing messages. Sometimes public relations uses advertising to reach audiences when they are not satisfied by what is being said in the media, when a point of view is not being reported fairly, or when adding voices to a cause.
Why is your dog always in the office?
Because he is the brains of the operation. I'm just his stooge.