Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Week Ten

I found this weeks reading really quite interesting as I have always considered event management as a section of public relations that I would be fascinated by. I was also interested in it because the research I found whilst doing the annotated bibliography on sponsorship of events made me think that it is a very complex, yet rewarding tool used by public relations practitioners, and it was intriguing to learn more about it.

They key points I learnt from this weeks readings were that sponsorship is an expensive tactic, if not the most expensive. However, it can also bring in a great response if managed correctly, especially generating goodwill and an opportunity to enhance the organisations reputation. There are three different types of sponsorship, including philantric sponsorship (generally community based, donation style), corporate sponsorship (sponsorship of an event (generally high profile) outside of what the company's normal business entails), and marketing sponsorship (most popular form involving offering goods for a return of profitable results).

I found it extremely interesting to note that a sponsorship proposal, which may have taken several hours to complete, will on average only be considered for three minutes by those in the decision making position. Similar to the media release, this shows the importance of short, sharp and straight to the point proposals. I also found ambush marketing quite a scary and unethical concept, especially the point that regardless of whether the organisation takes all the neccessary precautions to 'protect' the sponsorship, it can still become a victim of ambush marketing. This once again outlines the importance of public relations pracitioners not only being aware of the practical and written requirements, but also legal requirements that could help them protect the sponsorship.

They key points I learnt about even management is that the amount of events a public relations practitioner can choose from is quite large and diverse (some include conferences, launches, openings). If carefully planned, prepared and executed, an event can achieve a number of public relations goals and objectives. The need for a public relations strategy designed specifically for the event is essential to see that these events run as smoothly as possible and the importance of a careful budget is emphasised. Events are a great opportunity to attract positive media attention, however it is important to not just plan your event around the media. The evaluation of an event is a great idea and can incorporate three primary methods; debriefing meeting, event assesment, and business activity assesment. This is a great way to discover whether your event was a success or not and how to improve it for next time.

My learning builds upon previous learning about public relations in that the knowledge of a PR practitioner must be broad and versatile; there is just so much you need to know and understand to ensusre you carry out your work effectively. This reading also re-emphasised the notion that the media are not the only targets of our work, they are only a small portion, although their coverage does aid considerably. It also outlined again the importance of PR practitioners being able to write quick and concise projects and outlines that get the message across quickly whilst still drawing in interest, as the people who read it will not spend a lot of time reviewing it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Week Nine

As I had already read and commented on chapter 7 for week 5, I am just going to blog about the readings for chapter 8. However, revising over chapter 7 allowed me a deeper understanding into tactics and it complemented the chapter 8 reading and made the information much more easier to digest.

I found the chapter 8 reading quite tedious at times as it went into great depth about many of the tactics availabe to public relations practitioners and their value. However, this information is quite useful and once again outlines the depth of knowledge a PR practitioner needs on a variety of issues and practices.

In summary, the key points I learnt from this weeks reading were that strategy and tactics are two different things, although they do work together and complement one another. It is however, important to recognise their differences. Tactics must be measurable to the strategic outcome.

There are many different tactics, but successful PR campaigns do not neccesarily mean using all of them. The two different types of tactics are controlled (such as things the PR practitoner has control over, like annual reports) and uncontrolled tactics (such as things that can be changes, like media relations.) Some of the tactics mentioned include; media relations, annual reports, direct mail, newsletters. The success of the tactics employed by the PR practitioner however, relies on their ability to utilise it correctly and most efficently for their targeted publics; there is no proven tactic that will definately produce success.

My learning builds upon previous learning about public relations in that there is a considerable amount of knowledge a public relations practitioner must have in this industry, regarding not only legal and ethical aspects of the proffession, but also different tactics and how they are best produced. With each reading, the amount of knowledge and information that we need to know becomes very daunting, yet extremely exciting as it emphasises once again that this is an industry that is so diverse and allows the involvement of so many different things.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Week Eight

I really enjoyed this weeks readings, and getting to understand some of the best ways to create media relations and to communicate with journalists. A key point I got from both readings was the usefuleness of using e-mails to communicate with, or send information to journalists. From the study in the 'To contact...or not? Investigating journalists' assesment of public relations subsidies and contact preferences' reading, an overwhelming 93% of journalists prefferred e-mails as the method of contact. Although I see the benefits of using e-mail (some of which are outlined in the 'Writing a Media Release' reading; speed of delivery, tailoring of media releases, cost effective), I think my prefferred communication would be face to face, as I think this would ensure a stronger relationship.

Having done the 'ethics' topic of the debate last week, my mind was still buzzing over public relations and ethics, so I found the fact that from the study 69% of journalists think PR practitioners lack ethics really interesting. What was more interesting was that the study went on to say that some journalists stated that those PR practitioners who had experience in journalism were more 'skilled and ethical' than those who had no experience in journalism. I can understand this statement from the fact that public relations practitioners need to understand the media and how it works; however I'm unaware how having experience in journalism would help PR practitioners become more ethical?

A key point I discovered from the 'Writing a Media Release' reading was that there can be 'hard' news (breaking news/serious news) or 'soft' news (human interest news/entertaining news). I understand the differentiation between the two but had never heard them explained in those terms before. These two different types of news attract different audiences and different media outlets, so the importance of writing a media release specifically for the type of media outlet you want it important. The task of making it appealing to that type of media is also important, and the various suggestions in the reading to do so were quite fascinating (eg have a celebrity participate, create good photo opportunities, localise the information etc).

My learning this week builds upon previous learning about public relations in that the media release is the most popular method of communicating with the media. In the proffesional writing course last semester, they focused very much on the media release as a vital tool in creating media relations and getting your story across to the media, and in turn, the publics. This weeks reading also accentuated what was outlined last week in that public relations practitioners must become aware of the styles and formats of different media outlets, how they operate and who is in charge of what.