What is Public Relations?

What is Public Relations?

Today, for your reading pleasure, we are going back to basics. We are going to take an in-depth look at a question that has puzzled people for generations: What is Public Relations? According to all the textbooks, public relations is defined as long-term, deliberate efforts to maintain (and foster) a mutual understanding between a company (or organisation, or not-for-profit, or individual) and its audiences. The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) goes even further in their definition. The PRIA states that public relations is actually a management function. A management function designed to: evaluate public opinion and perception; align the policies, procedures, products and services of a company with that public opinion; and then execute a communication program that earns public acceptance and understanding. While extremely detailed, and very specific, this definition can seem a little complicated and a little daunting. Philip Lesly  had a much simpler definition. Lesly was an award-winning American public relations practitioner (who operated the largest PR firm in world for over 20 years) and author of the Handbook of Public Relations and Communication. He described public relations as all tasks associated with helping an organisation and its public adapt mutually to each other. Lesly’s definition is quite different to some of the more complicated textbook definitions: it describes a mutual adaptation. It highlights the importance of an open dialogue, of two-way communication between audiences and organisations. But it was not always so. A Short History of Public Relations Public relations arrived alongside the rise of mass media in the early 1900s. The exact origins of public relations are difficult to pinpoint; the discipline developed over...

Tips For Writing An Online Style Guide

One of the most popular articles we’ve written at Marketing.com.au is Top 5 Tips for Writing a Style Guide. In today’s digital age, it’s also important for marketers (especially online and digital specialists) to use an online style guide. Writing for the web and generating content can be quite daunting, so we thought we’d share some useful information on online style guides. A style guide is a set of guidelines that is referenced when writing any communications. A style guide ensures any communications from a company are always consistent and professional, even with multiple authors. An online style guide on the other hand, whilst similar, is specifically tailored for writing and optimising content to be published on the web. It ensures all online communications reflect your overall brand. When preparing your own online style guide, be sure to use plenty of examples, images and sample code. We also like the idea of distributing a reference or cheat sheet which contains key elements that people can post around their workspace. Here a couple of resources we came across that we highly recommend if you are working on creating your own online style guide. Yahoo! Style Guide We’re big fans of the Yahoo! Style Guide It’s one of those simple resources that’s really easy and straightforward to use. It was designed specifically with writing for the web in mind. Some the key things we found really useful were: Tips on writing for an online audience and making sure that you speak to your entire audience. Understanding the importance of readability of your content and making sure it is ‘easy to scan’...

Digital Marketing Trends In Australia

We recently published an article on Inbound Marketing In Your Marketing Mix where we discussed the importance of customer engagement and the need to focus more attention on earning the interest of customers and not just relying on being able to buy it through traditional marketing. However, for many of us, digital marketing is still somewhat of an untamed beast. The good news out this week is we’re not alone. Responsys got in touch with us and kindly shared their annual Big Australia Report which discusses and benchmarks the practices of digital marketing in Australia based on interviews they conducted with 125 digital marketers around Australia in July and August of this year. The study highlighted that marketers really feel burdened by a lack of digital knowledge and expertise, with more than half indicating that there is a digital knowledge gap in their organisation. This report has some fascinating insights and we wanted to share a few other take aways with you: What is the 2012 digital marketing landscape in Australia? Emphasis on customer engagement – Responsys highlighted that Australian businesses are acknowledging the need for relevant and “valuable communications that aim to engage rather than sell”. Digital execution being managed in house – Despite the digital knowledge gap many felt within their organisation, digital marketers are becoming more confident in managing digital execution in house compared to 2011 (28% outsource in 2012 vs 57% in 2011). This really highlights a need for digital marketing training and employing data specialists to adequately analyse the customer data. More work for marketers – While the study found that around 5 in 10 Australian marketers expect...

Being Strategic And Creative With Your Communications – Event

At Marketing.com.au we’re always looking for great marketing events around Australia and you can find them on the conferences and events page. We also encourage the community to share events. The upcoming Strategic Creative Communications seminars were shared by the IABC NSW Chapter and Leanne Joyce has kindly provided us with some further details about the seminars. I first saw Steve Crescenzo present in San Francisco a few years ago, and I was inspired, entertained, and walked away with some great tips that I was able to apply in the workplace. To me, that’s one big difference between the “talk” and making it work and really improving your skills and confidence. As a Head of the Communications function, I have always been mindful of the need to demonstrate the value of the group to the CEO, and to be on top of the game in developing the latest tools but linking strategies to organisation goals. This shows you know the business, and THAT’S what turns a CEO on. So we at the NSW Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators decided that we’d bring Steve and Cindy Crescenzo to Australia for a seminar series. And as they hadn’t been down-under before, they jumped at the opportunity. We’re now having a series on Strategic Creative Communications in Sydney (4 October) and Canberra (5 October) before they head to New Zealand. And to provide a more intimate setting for senior practitioners, we’re having a half-day Masterclass on 3 October 2012 in Sydney. Details are here. Steve and Cindy have loaded a video on YouTube [EDIT: Currently not available] explaining the...

Lacking Style? Top 5 Tips for Writing a Style Guide

With such a variety of style guides out there it can be quite overwhelming trying to work out how to write one. Essentially, a style guide (or brand manual) should be tailor made to suit the individual, company or brand. It is designed to help protect the consistency of your image. If it does that, then you can’t go wrong. Style guides are commonly used in the world of media, public relations and publishing. A style guide contains a set of guidelines that should be referenced when writing any communications. A style guide ensures that the communications from a company are always consistent and professional, even when there are multiple authors. A style guide is also a great time saver for a new starter, they can quickly get a feel for the general style requirements without having to ask a hundred questions. Some of the common elements we have found referenced in style guides include (but are not limited to): Titles and terms – e.g how the company name should be referenced, title of the Managing Director etc. Trademarks Symbols or special characters Abbreviations Logo and colour palette references – e.g minimum size for logo, colour options, background options etc. Also, where to find the accompanying files in various formats and resolutions. Format – e.g use of fonts and styles etc. Indentations Sentence lengths Language, tone and voice preferences – e.g plain english, slang, formal, casual, present, past, third person etc. Spelling – e.g American or English spelling etc. Punctuation – e.g use of commas, semi-colons, parentheses, question marks, exclamation marks, hypens etc. Headings – e.g use of capitalisation or not, format,...