The New PR Toolkit
by Deirdre Breakenridge and Thomas J. DeLoughry
Financial Times Prentice Hall
Brands and stakeholder relationships need effective public relations to grow. Marketing expert Deirdre Breakenridge, an executive for an advertising and communications firm, and Thomas DeLoughry, a journalist who specializes in technology and the Internet, have teamed up to create a guide for public relations professionals from any industry to help them use the Internet more successfully and become better prepared for the PR challenges of the future.
Using solid examples from companies that have used the Internet to improve their public relations efforts, the authors describe the strategies of the people who have been able to benefit from modern PR tools, including broadcast e-mails and online pressrooms. By presenting case studies that reveal the best new PR practices as well as the ones that should be avoided, the authors show companies how online strategies can be used to keep their offline work in the public eye.
The first part of The New PR Toolkit explains the importance of identifying a target audience and doing the legwork to understand what it wants and needs. Using the sad tales of busted dot-coms to bolster their arguments for performing preliminary research, the authors point out that qualitative and quantitative studies that focus on the perceptions and well-being of a brand are more useful than input from secondary sources. They also describe the tools that are now available to help PR professionals gain and deliver better information. These tools include online databases, tracking software, monitoring and clipping services. The benefits of each are described through case studies and interviews with the experts.
The New PR Toolkit describes in detail how modern news media works and offers strategies for using the Internet to reach them before their deadlines. Instant access is the name of the game these days, and the authors demonstrate how Web sites and e-mails can help organizations give journalists the exclusives they seek. They also offer many handy tips about how PR professionals can give reporters access to the leaders and personalities of an organization and when they should emerge from behind the monitor and shake some physical hands.
Along with case studies that demonstrate effective e-mail pitches and compelling subject lines, the authors discuss the best ways PR professionals can use permission-based e-mail to keep reporters updated without being seen as spammers. They also present a blueprint for creating an effective and accessible Webcast that can put leaders out in front of the worldwide press.
The authors round out their advice about online PR strategies with antidotes for the poison words that can flow through message boards and rogue Web sites that are bent on defaming a brand or a company. They also offer many crucial tips to help organizations deal with crises, as well as ways companies can appear proactive instead of defensive when difficult situations like product recalls or tragic accidents occur.
In an effort to address the crucial subject of customer privacy, the authors take a close look at privacy regulations in the United States and abroad, and offer tips to help organizations keep customers informed without overstepping privacy boundaries.
The New PR Toolkit is a well-planned resource for anyone who wants to know how to use the Internet to build a brand or spread a marketing message. Filled with straightforward principles about using e-mail wisely, creating online multimedia presentations, and monitoring the Internet for brand and competitor information, it presents step-by-step instructions for using modern technology to share information with the press, stakeholders and the world at large.