How to Keep PR Working for You

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How to Keep PR Working for You

By: Robert A. Kelly

Managers in the non-profit, association and business worlds need to persuade outside audiences with the greatest impact on their operations to their way of thinking. And then move those external stakeholders to take actions that help their departments, divisions or subsidiaries succeed.

But that takes a very special plan, one that delivers results far beyond simple publicity placements.

I'm talking about a blueprint, say, like this one that lets you broaden your public relations field of fire, putting its primary focus where it belongs, on your unit's key external stakeholder behaviors: "People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired- action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished."

You'll know such a blueprint is working when you see results like capital givers or specifying sources starting to look your way, customers making repeat purchases; membership applications on the rise; prospects beginning to do business with you; fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures coming in; welcome bounces in show room visits; community leaders beginning to seek you out; and politicians and legislators starting to view you as a key member of the business, non-profit or association communities.

However, to get there you've got to be certain the public relations people assigned to your unit buy into your more aggressive public relations approach. In other words, do they all accept the reality that it's crucially important to know how your outside audiences see your operations, products or services? And do they really subscribe to an even more important reality that says perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can trouble your unit?

Start by involving your PR team in plans for monitoring and gathering perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Questions like these: how much do you know about our organization? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the interchange? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

I mean, your PR people ARE in the perception and behavior business to begin with, so they should be of real use for this opinion monitoring project. Professional survey firms are always available, but that can cost a bundle. So, whether it's your people or a survey firm who asks the questions, the objective is to identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, and misconceptions .

With such answers gathered, you must decide which of the negatives should be designated as your corrective public relations goal - for example, clarify the misconception, spike that rumor, correct the false assumption or fix a bothersome inaccuracy.

In the same way garlic goes with lamb chops, the right PR strategy tells you how to reach your goal. But just three are available when it comes to matters of perception and opinion -- change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. But be sure your new strategy fits naturally with your new public relations goal. If data gathered is satisfactory, you want the "reinforce it" strategy, not "change it."

When the moment comes to speak to your key stakeholder audience and help persuade them to your way of thinking, what will your message say?

Tap your best writer to produce the well-written corrective language you need. Words that are not only compelling, persuasive and believable, but clear and factual if they are to move perception/opinion towards your point of view and result in the behaviors you desire.

Here, fortunately, things gets easier as you select communications tactics to carry your message to the attention of your target audience. Be sure that the tactics you select have a record of reaching people like your audience members. You can pick from dozens that are available ranging from speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and so many others.

Because HOW you communicate can affect the credibility of the message, you may wish to deliver it in small meetings or presentations rather than through high-visibility media announcements.

Those around you will soon be asking about progress. Which will lead to a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Employing many of the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you will now be watching carefully for signs that the offending perception is being altered in your direction.

In public relations, we're lucky that action like this can be accelerated by adding more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies, if necessary.

And you're lucky again that the folks you deal with behave like everyone else - they act upon their perceptions of the facts they hear about you and your operations. Which leaves you little choice but to deal promptly and effectively with those perceptions by doing what is necessary to reach and move your key external audiences to action.

The workable public relations blueprint outlined above will, in fact, keep your PR working well for you for a very simple reason - (repeating for emphasis), it will help you persuade your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to the success of your department, division or subsidiary.


Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at Word count is 1025 including guidelines and resource box.

Robert A. Kelly Copyright 2004.)

About The Author

Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to business, non-profit and association managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communi- cations, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Columbia University, major in public relations. Visit:


Ona 07.03.2008. 16:26

I am a new PR in Canada and will go to work in USA. What are my tax obligiations to Canada and USA? I am a new PR and will go to work in USA. I am considering leaving to USA to work for 2 years then return back so I can keep my PR status alive.
What are my tax obligiations?
Should I file every year my taxes in Canada?
Can I still recieve my child benefits while I am in USA?
Can I file my taxes only in Canada?
What are my best choices?


Admin 07.03.2008. 16:26

You are not required to pay taxes to Canada - you only pay if you are a resident. IF you move to USA - you WILL LOSE your child benefits, and you will be required to pay taxes in USA.

When you return to Canada, you will be required to CONTINUE paying taxes to USA as well as to Canada (now that you are residing there) because you are a green card holder.

However once you return to Canada, you will need to stay there for 3 years to KEEP that PR status - and therefore you will LOSE your green card status. You can only be out of USA for 6 months while on a green card status. You are supposed to be a permanent resident of USA to keep the green card.

So there is no point in doing this anyway.


thegrons 13.01.2012. 22:34

How do I move a domain to a new site and keep page rank? I have a guy that has an old site that cannot be optimized (this is a real antique) but his page rank is 3 for the home page and 2 for the internal pages. I am building him a Wordpress site and wondered if I can find some way to keep the PR with the new site? Redirects won't work since this is a new platform and we have no access to the old server...and notifying Google Webmaster won't help either since it is a domain move.


Admin 13.01.2012. 22:34

Even if you exactly reproduced the old content and URLs there would probably be some, hopefully short term, disruption of search ranking due to the change in html code the spiders will encounter in the blog.

Since Google only updates page rank about 5 times a year now, you would be better off recording the current search result ranking for the important target keywords so you can monitor ranking changes later, once you identify keywords the site ranks for within the top 100 you can use one of the free rank tracking tools to monitor the changes after the site revision.

Try either the free rankchecker for firefox or the rankcheker in the free evaluation version of SEO Powersuit to generate a search ranking report for the list of keywords, the latter has some other analysis functions.

I believe a redirects would only apply of you were changing domains, not when recreating the same site on a new host, although you may have to code redirects in the .htaccess file to preserve incoming link value.

Generally recreating the old site structure as much as possible should minimize the disruption, in particular pages that have incoming links (you can identify with the Open Site Explorer) should be recreated if possible with the identical URL, setting a custom Wordpess permalink can help get more SEO friendly and more similar to the original URLs, this custom permalink: /%postname%/ gives you about the simplest possible URL. If you can't exactly recreate the URLs, a 301 redirect is supposed to preserve the ranking benefit of an incoming link.


Nolanr 30.01.2012. 00:04

How long can a PR resident leave Canada? I am a Canadian citizen, my wife is Japanese, she has gotten a PR in May of 2011. We want to both go to Japan for 2 years this year or next year. I will study Japanese there while my wife will work to support us. Her PR card says it expires July 08th of 2006. So I figure we obviously need to come back to Canada before that time so she can renew the PR. But is there any other rule about how long she can stay out of Canada while keeping her PR status?


Admin 30.01.2012. 00:04

Do you mean 2016?

Here are the rules:


ella 17.04.2013. 03:01

How much can I charge per hour for PR work? I am a student in college, and receiving my B.A. in Public Relations next semester. I have done internships at Public Relation firms previously, and I have a potential client asking how much I charge. What is a reasonable price?
Also, I have done free work in the past, but I need to start paying bills, so a few bucks will be handy.


Admin 17.04.2013. 03:01

If you can find out what an average starting position salary for a person in a PR firm in your market area, then you can extrapolate an hourly fee. Keep in mind, you would add roughly 50% to cover what employer taxes and benefits would be. For instance, if a starting salary works out to be $20 an hour, it would be reasonable to charge $30 an hour as a free-lancer. (This will still be less than a PR firm would charge because they are paying overhead and factoring in a profit.)
Be sure to keep a portfolio of anything you do for the client, it will be great when you are job hunting (including the problem and the budget. Your solution will be more amazing if a future employer knows you did it monster fast, did it on a shoestring, or that your client insisted on keeping his puppy's image in the logo.)


Salsoul 01.10.2007. 13:37

How would I approach PR companies looking for work experience or a job? I know I asked about newspapers earlier, just trying to keep my options open. Any advice on this is welcomed cheers.
I have a media degree.


Admin 01.10.2007. 13:37

Why don't you askt the chappie repesenting the McCanns, he might need some help.


Heppy 11.10.2011. 21:44

I would like to start my own bussiness? I work part time at a supermarket and i am a qualified designer, so I was was thinking of starting up a little business on the side to do PR work and design and sell my own handbags and accessories.

What I would like to know is; do I have to pay anything like business tax or anything or do i get to keep my extra earnings. It would probably only be a few hundred here and there.

Any info will help.


Admin 11.10.2011. 21:44

Sorry Judy that is not really true. You say you do not have to pay taxes if you sell online... Depending on your laws and location of the buyer you may be required to pay taxes.

Regardless of how you sell the items if you exchange money for a physical item you must pay taxes. The loophole is that since most transactions on the internet are done interstate, meaning across state lines, there was no clear and definitive tax authority. What city is entitled to those taxes and what tax rate should you use.

If you sell to anyone in your state you will most definitely have to pay taxes. The change Judy talks about is the new regulations where they will define what tax rate to use and what tax authority you must pay those interstate transactions to.

There are also some tricky rules that if you travel and sell your item physically in that state you then owe taxes based on that city/state and to that specific tax authority.

Best bet is to go get a resellers or wholesale license and they will tell you all the rules.

Also talk with your accountant as any taxes you pay to purchase the raw materials or other business items can usually be deducted from the amount of taxes owed to that tax authority.


Kelly 21.06.2013. 02:38

Should I hold out 30% from each project for taxes before I payout my independent contractor? I just started a single member LLC for my own PR Agency and work on a project basis with an independent contractor. Currently, I told her if we work together on each project (whether I bring the business or she does) that we will split the fee evenly. She handles her own taxes as an independent contractor, but I get taxed on the entire amount that comes into my company, with that being said, should I set aside the 30% for taxes before splitting? I just received the first check, so we are literally just beginning so I want to lay the groundwork now.


Admin 21.06.2013. 02:38

u want to go to local library for books on book keeping in a small business.

books on paying Taxes at proper amounts and times.

u absolutely do not set aside 30% OFF the top.
u need to learn b4 u get burned.

if in USA, u pay her 50%. the 50% u have left
u pay your bills for the contract. what u have left from
your 50% is now TAXable income.

that u want to set aside 30% for taxes.

visit library as u got to learn

your split the


PR Guy 27.02.2013. 10:59

What is wrong in my background to keep me from landing a job? I graduated college in 2008, then got my master's degree in 2010. I have two bachelor degrees in Criminology, and the other in Communication Studies. My Master's Degree is in Mass Communications. Throughout my undergrad, I worked my butt off on my degrees and worked close to a 40 hour work week as well. I also worked at least 40 hours a week while obtaining my master's in just a year.

I have always worked hard and fought for what I want to do. I was let go from a position in January 2011 and was unemployed for over a year. I landed a job finally through my brother working for police dispatching, but it does not pay enough for me to live on my own, nor is it the career I want for the rest of my life.

While unemployed, I went to many job fairs, applied for countless jobs, and have not heard anything back at all. While getting my master's degree, we worked for actual clients to gain real experience for what we did for them as far as Public Relations and social media campaigns, crisis communication plans (something I love to work on), and organizational communication help for internal and external communication within the company to improve workplace communication and morale of employees.

I have applied for everything under the sun, from jobs that I am over qualified for to ones that would challenge me enough and I meet qualifications for. I never hear anything back, and in the three years that I have been out of school with my Master's have only had three interviews related to my field. Most of the positions that I apply for only let you apply online, and have no means to contact anyone directly. I do not know if this is my problem, but there has to be something wrong. Due to me having to work and pay bills while in school, I was unable to get involved in a lot of extra curricular activities (did not join a fraternity or anything like that, nor was I able to take part in other things in the school). I have been unable to land a job in my field, and my only experience is from what I did during school. I have looked into interning for places, but most of them require you to still be in school. I was never afforded that luxury at that time for a number of reasons. My internship requirement in school was satisfied by a research proposal because that was all my time would allow me to do.

I am at my wit's end. I am also scared that I am now stale to employers, and too old to start a career in this (I am 27). Is there anything that I can do to help my chances?

Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

PR Guy

Admin 27.02.2013. 10:59

It's a difficult situation and no doubt your confidence is low right as you struggle to find a job and the reasons why you're not succeeding with job applications.

You need to take a step back and refocus. Firstly start with the positive aspects, you're well educated and not afraid to work. Here are a few tips:

- Look at your CV and get someone else to review it and see what their responses are - a fresh set of eyes may reveal some opportunities to enhance your CV

- Is your CV too simple - make it more complicated and vice versa

- Build up your professional network by using something like Linkedin even if the majority of your profile is your education for now. Many jobs are not advertised and you may find opportunities through a professional network.

- Look at alternative jobs that may use similar skills to a Criminology degree and consider those as a stepping stone

- Contact local solicitors, communication agencies or even the police and as if they're aware of any jobs that haven't been advertised

- Think outside the square eg create press release advertising your services as a PR specialist

I wish you success on getting your next role.


Tracy 27.09.2012. 13:42

Is it possible to volunteer and balance university school work? I'm a first year Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) student. I have 2 agencies I'm volunteering for at 2 hours per week each, so about 4 hours each, But school work, I have about 16 hours of class each week. Is it possible to balance all the essays, tests, exams blah blah and still volunteer? I have to submit an application to get in 2nd year and they balance and look equally at school grades and volunteer. Should I continue what I'm doing? I have one day off.


Admin 27.09.2012. 13:42

I am a Second year Bachelor of Marketing PR and Event management. Like you, I volunteer 4 hours a week and have 20 hours of classes each week. I have found no problem with managing Studying, exams ect with volunteering. It is also very good for your C.V. and keeps you well rounded. Believe me you will reap the benefits of continuing with your volunteer work. I even have time for the gym in the evening. It's no bother at all.


no_fear2828 17.06.2010. 19:06

How can i keep my american eagle pants from fading when they go through the washer and dryer? I have tried adding vinegar and less soap and neither work to lock in the color.


Admin 17.06.2010. 19:06

With your AE pants, return them. Get a new pair... Make them give it to you at the same price... If not, ask to speak with a manager...
If that doesn't work, return them first and call AE's PR (Public Relations) Rep... Tell them about the bad quality,etc.
They will give you the deal or a free item :)
When you wash them, keep on doing what you did

AE does have bad quality... I have bad shirts, etc.


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