Public Relations For Dummies|Paperback (2023)

Table of Contents

Foreword xxiii

Introduction 1

About This Book 2

Conventions Used in This Book 2

Foolish Assumptions 3

How This Book is Organized 3

Part I: PR: What It Is, How It Works 4

Part II: Brainstorming and Thinking Creatively 4

Part III: Putting the Wheels in Motion 4

Part IV: Choosing the Right Medium for Your Message 4

Part V: Creating Buzz 5

Part VI: The Part of Tens 5

Appendix 5

Icons Used in This Book 6

Where to Go from Here 6

Part I: PR: What It Is, How It Works 7

Chapter 1: The Power of PR 9

Who Needs PR, Anyway? 10

Beyond Stunts: The Real Value of PR 11

The Relationship between PR and the Media 12

Publicity Plus: The Many Components of PR 14

What PR is Not 15

Marketing: The four Ps 15

Paying for advertising while PR is (practically) free 16

Key Audiences PR Can Reach 18

The Changing Role of PR in the Marketing Mix Today 19

Assessing Your Situation: How to Tell When PR is the Missing (Or Weak) Ingredient 20

Chapter 2: X-Raying the PR Process 23

Pre-Planning Steps 23

Using Research to Shape the Process 23

Defining Your Goals and Objectives 25

Working Out the Plan Details 25

Putting together the PR plan 26

Budgeting to get the job done 27

Devising Winning PR Concepts: The Four Essential Elements 28

Newsmaking 28

Commercial message 29

Media target 30

Audience target 31

Sharpening Ideas to Form Creative Promotions 32

Assessing PR Ideas: Will It Work? 34

Controlling Time and Chance 35

Chapter 3: Hiring Professional PR Help 37

Getting Help 37

Advertising agencies 38

Public relations agencies 38

Freelancers 42

Graphic design studios 43

Web designers 43

Search engine specialists 44

Getting the Most out of Hired Help 44

Part II: Brainstorming and Thinking Creatively 47

Chapter 4: Setting Up Your PR Department and Program 49

Picking the PR Team 49

Defining the Scope of Your Authority 50

Integrating PR with the Rest of Your Business 51

Setting Up the PR Command and Control Center 52

Getting in gear 52

Creating and maintaining a media contact list 55

Targeting Your PR Efforts 56

Industry 57

Size of company 57

Location 59

Job function or title of prospect within the company 60

Application or use of your product 60

Channels of distribution 61

Affinity groups 62

Users of specific devices, products, machines, systems, or technologies 63

Buying habits 63

Chapter 5: Formulating Ideas 65

Giving New Ideas a Chance 65

(Video) What is Public Relations? Video by Sketch-22 Illustrated Media

Creating Profitable PR Programs 66

Step 1: Clearly establish the goals of a PR program 66

Step 2: Assemble pertinent facts 67

Step 3: Gather general knowledge 67

Step 4: Look for combinations 67

Step 5: Sleep on it 67

Step 6: Use a checklist 69

Step 7: Get feedback 69

Step 8: Team up 70

Finding Other Ways to Turn on the Light Bulb 70

Chapter 6: Using PR Tactics 73

Going Where the Cameras Are 73

Creating a Tie-in to a TV Show or Movie 74

Spotlighting the Product 74

Staging a Contest 75

Working for a Worthy Cause 77

Tying In to a Holiday 77

Conducting a Survey 78

Staging an Event 80

Making Them Laugh 80

Waging a Trade-in Campaign 81

Creating a Character 81

Using Viral Marketing 82

Part III: Putting the Wheels in Motion 83

Chapter 7: Creating a Company Newsletter 85

Meeting Internal Needs: The Employee Newsletter 86

Staying in Touch with Your External Audience 87

Reaching a busy audience 87

Knowing what’s newsworthy 87

Deciding on Size and Frequency 88

Creating a Mailing List 89

Designing Your Company Newsletter 90

Making some design decisions 90

Putting together your newsletter 91

Using the Company Newsletter as a Marketing Tool 93

Creating an e-mail newsletter 93

Integrating print and e-mail newsletters 94

Making your e-mail newsletter a must-read 94

Chapter 8: Putting Your Message in Writing: The Press Release 97

Writing a Press Release That Gets Picked Up by Media 98

At the top 99

The headline act and the lead role 99

Body building 100

Putting News in Your News Releases 102

Using a Press Release Checklist 104

Deciding How to Send Press Releases 105

Chapter 9: Writing and Placing Feature Articles 107

Getting Exposure in Feature Articles 108

Avoiding beginners’ mistakes 108

Coming up with ideas for articles 109

Selecting the Right Magazine 111

Finding the best target for articles 112

Avoiding puffery 114

Approaching editors one at a time 114

Making the Initial Contact 114

Writing a Query Letter 115

Querying the editor 115

Getting the query letter written 116

Using illustrations or photos 120

Following up on your query 120

Writing a Pitch Letter 122

Getting the Editor’s Go-Ahead 125

Placing Articles Online 126

Chapter 10: Promoting Yourself through Public Speaking 129

Reaching Key Audiences through Public Speaking 129

Finding speaking opportunities 130

Choosing the right talk 131

Screening speaking invitations 132

Negotiating your promotional deal 133

Preparing and Delivering Your Presentation 135

Organizing your presentation 136

Mastering the three parts of a talk 136


Timing it right 138

Using Visual Aids 140

Thinking twice about audiovisual aids 141

Giving your audience a handout 141

Using the “green sheet” method 142

Capturing Attendee Names for Your Prospect Database 144

Part IV: Choosing the Right Medium for Your Message 145

Chapter 11: Getting Your Message Out 147

Compiling a Personal Contact List 147

Developing a Mass Media List 148

Distributing Materials to the Media 149

Getting to Know Global PR 149

Taking cultural differences into account 150

Keeping up with different media 150

Selecting PR Media 151

Reaching Reporters the Right Way 152

Turning the Press into a Client 152

Breaking through the PR Clutter 153

Using the surround strategy 153

Having a go-to guy 154

Offering an exclusive 155

Tying in to an existing story 155

Using timing in your favor 156

Following Up: The Media Blitz 156

Working Your ABC Lists 157

Separating Advertising and Editorial 157

Chapter 12: Handling the Media 159

Meeting the Press 159

Analyst meetings 160

Media tours 161

Press conferences 161

Deskside briefings 162

Becoming Savvy with Media Interviews 162

Handling media interviews like a pro 162

Framing your story 164

Turning bad press into favorable coverage: The 15-10-15 formula 165

Handling hostile interviewers 166

Bettering your broadcast interviews 168

Chapter 13: Tuning In to Radio 171

Getting the Facts about Radio 172

Looking at the Advantages of Radio over Other Media 172

Taking Advantage of Satellite Radio 174

Getting on the Radio 175

Making a pitch for yourself 175

Being an accessible expert 176

Preparing for Airtime 177

Boning up on your topic 178

Putting together a tip sheet 178

Being interviewed at home 179

Making a Good Impression during the Interview 179

Handling surprise gracefully 180

Don’t make product pitches on the air 181

Chapter 14: Getting PR on the Tube 183

Understanding How TV PR Differs from Print 183

Sorting Out the TV Shows 185

Targeting a Specific Show for Your PR Campaign 186

Preparing Your TV Media Kit 187

Article reprints 188

Media alerts 188

Prepared footage 190

Satellite feed services 191

Video news releases 192

Pitching Your Story to Producers 192

Doing TV PR on a Shoestring 193

Getting a Tape of Your Guest Appearance 194

Chapter 15: Getting More Ink (Print Isn’t Dead Yet) 197

Cracking the Journalists’ Secret 197

Knowing What Not to Do 198

Catching an Editor’s Eye with a “Creative” Press Release 200

Using a “Hook” to Snare Attention 201

Free-booklet press release 202

Special event, gimmick, or timely issue 204

(Video) Improve Public Relations Skills | Public Relations 101 | Public Relations for Dummies

New-product press release 206

Tie-in with current fad, event, or news 208

Survey-results press release 208

Trade-in press release 208

Call-to-action press release 211

Chapter 16: Going Public in Cyberspace: Your Web Site 213

Designing a Media-Friendly Web Site 213

Company background/history 214

Key management 215

Press release archive 215

Financial information 216

Product/service catalog 216

Article/white paper library 216

Trade show list 217

Locations/facility information 217

Avoiding “Speed Traps” on Your Web Site 217

Ensuring Your Site is User-Friendly 218

Understanding the Three Cs of E-Success 220

Designing a Sticky Web Site 221

Brainstorming More Ways to Make a Profit Online 222

Driving Traffic to Your Web Site 224

Making sure search engines can find your Web site 225

Keying in to keywords 227

Using paid search (or pay per click) 228

Chapter 17: Getting a Grip on New Technology — Blogs, Webcasting, and Podcasting 231

Using Blogs for PR 231

Monitoring the blogs in your industry 232

Pitching to blogs 235

Creating your own blog 237

Using a blog for business 238

Podcasting 242

Keeping in touch with the media via podcasts 242

Getting started with podcasting 243

Webcasting 244

Part V: Creating Buzz 245

Chapter 18: Getting Hits from Buzz Marketing and Viral Marketing 247

Understanding the Difference between Buzz Marketing and Viral Marketing 247

Examining the Effectiveness of Buzz Marketing 248

Boning Up on Basic Buzz Techniques 249

Educating people about your products and services 249

Identifying people most likely to share their opinions 249

Providing tools that make it easier to share information 251

Studying how, where, and when opinions are being shared 251

Listening and responding to supporters and detractors 252

Determining the Right Moment for Buzz 252

Generating More Exposure with Buzz Marketing 253

Identifying Brand Evangelists and Terrorists 255

Taking advantage of evangelists 255

Dealing with brand terrorists 258

Leveraging the Web and E-Mail for Maximum Buzz 259

Measuring and Tracking Buzz 260

Meeting the Legends of Buzz 261

Chapter 19: Staging Publicity Events 263

Drawing Crowds and Gaining Publicity 264

Setting a Budget and Figuring the Cost 265

Controlling Event Costs 266

Determining Your Event’s Theme and Concept 267

Planning the Event and Logistics 269

Publicizing Your Event 270

Measuring Event Results 271

Chapter 20: Spotting and Seizing Opportunities 273

Remembering the Importance of Timing 273

Reacting to Current News and Events 274

Looking for an Opening 275

Getting Messages Noticed Quickly 277

Chapter 21: Knowing What to Do in a PR Crisis 279

Defining a PR Crisis 279

Developing a Crisis Management Plan 280

Identifying a crisis 281

Assessing and reviewing the crisis 281

The crisis communications team meeting 282

Planning a crisis response 282

(Video) INTRODUCTION TO PR | The ultimate public relations course

Communicating with key publics 282

Remembering the Rules in a Crisis 283

Demonstrating Care and Compassion 284

Thinking of Every Crisis as a Red Alert 285

Managing a Crisis with Success 285

Chapter 22: Evaluating PR Results 287

Measuring by Advertising Equivalency 288

Making Media Impressions 289

Using Key Message Points 290

Market Research Isn’t Always the Answer 291

Watching the Word Spread: Hiring Clipping Services 292

Measuring Inquiries and Sales 293

Taking the Long View of PR Success 295

Demonstrating Viability of the PR Department (Even in a Crunch) 296

Part VI: The Part of Tens 297

Chapter 23: The Ten Greatest PR Coups of All Time 299

Lucky Strike 299

John D. Rockefeller 300

Tylenol 301

Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential Campaign 301

The New VW Beetle 302

Cabbage Patch Kids 303

Domino’s Pizza Meter 303

IBM Big Blue versus Gary Kasparov 304

Gillette Sensor Razor 305

Howard Stern and Sirius Satellite Radio 305

Chapter 24: Ten Myths about PR — Debunked 307

Press Releases Don’t Work Anymore 307

“Legitimate” Media Snub PR 308

Printed PR Doesn’t Work without Follow-Up 308

You Need “Contacts” to Get Publicity 309

Editors Want to Be Wined and Dined 309

Snail Mail is Awful; Overnight Delivery Services and Fax Work Great 310

You Can’t Buy PR with Advertising 311

Every Fact Reported in the Media is Checked and Verified 311

Getting Publicity is a Matter of Luck and Timing 312

It Doesn’t Take A Lot of Time 312

Chapter 25: Ten Reasons to Do PR 313

You’re a Little Fish in a Big Pond 313

Your Product or Service is the Best — and Nobody Knows about It 314

Your Product or Service Isn’t Better than Anyone Else’s 314

Management Cuts Your Marketing Communications Budget 315

Management Demands Tangible Results from Marketing Expenditures 316

Traditional Marketing Isn’t Working as Well as It Used To 316

Your Competitors Get All the Good Press 317

You Need Venture Capital 317

You Are Media-Genic 317

You Really Enjoy Working with the Media 318

Chapter 26: Ten Things You Should Never Do in the Name of PR 319

Lie or Mislead 319

Stonewall 319

Procrastinate 320

Be Inaccessible 320

Offer a Bribe 321

Turn Up Your Nose 321

Bore People 322

Be a “No Man” 322

Sacrifice Long-Term Relationships for Short-Term Results 324

Behave Unethically 324

Chapter 27: Ten Steps to Better PR Writing 327

Organizing! 327

Knowing Your Reader 329

Shunning “Corporatese” 329

Avoiding Long Sentences 331

Using Short, Simple Words 332

Sidestepping “Writer’s Block” 333

Defining the Topic 334

Gathering Lots of Information 335

Writing, and Then Rewriting, Rewriting 335

Being Consistent 336

Appendix: Recommended Resources 337

Index 343

(Video) PR for Dummies


What is PR in a nutshell? ›

Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”

What are the basics of PR? ›

Public Relations is the practice of increasing awareness around a company or brand among the public. Sharing information with the media and other influential sources can help with managing brand reputation. This could include good news stories, revenue reports, and job vacancies.

What are the 4 methods of public relations? ›

There are 7 different types of PR:
  • Strategic communications.
  • Media relations.
  • Community relations.
  • Internal communications.
  • Crisis communications.
  • Public Affairs.
  • Online and social media communications.
31 Oct 2019

What makes a good PR person? ›

A good PR person is engaged in the world and keeps up with the news in the clients' industries as well as current events and trends and developments within our own “industry.” That means understanding social media and its implications. PR's job is to bring the outside in as well as the inside out.

How can I become a good PR? ›

7 principles of good PR
  1. Good PR is telling the client what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear. ...
  2. Good PR is not just about the over-glorified launch. ...
  3. Good PR celebrates the client's customers in an inclusive, non-exploitive way. ...
  4. Good PR is proactive in idea generation and responsive in a crisis.


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