P.R. Tactics & Channels: How MorphPR Uses Them to Help Connections for Life

By: Courtney Costello

It can be confusing to be a public relations practitioner this day in age. With so many different audiences and an ever-growing media landscape, it can be hard to decipher what direction to take your campaign in. Sure, a PR practitioner can work with their client to create specific goals and strategies for a campaign, but it’s the implementation of these things that can be tricky.

To begin: what exactly is a PR tactic? Often confused with the concept of a strategy, a tactic is different than its antecedent. A tactic, in its simplest form, can be described as a “strategy on wheels.” In other words, a strategy is the list of actions created by the PR practioner to achieve their goals and the tactics are the steps taken based off the strategy. Therefore, tactics must be concise, tangible and applicable.

Baton Rouge non-profit, Connections for Life, wants to drive traffic toward its thrift store. One of MorphPR’s strategies to achieve this goal is to host a booth at Louisiana Earth Day in downtown Baton Rouge to promote thrifting and ultimately drive traffic to the store. Thus, a tactic they’ve created is to handout promotional marketing materials, such as a brochure, to the Baton Rouge residents who attend the event and invite them to visit the thrift store.

PR ChannelsNow that you understand tactics, how can you maximize their effectiveness? One way is utilization of the best channel based off your client’s key publics/target audience to distribute your messaging and implement your tactics. This is the time to use the research you have previously collected and apply it to your campaign. Whether it’s to send press releases to your local news channel or distributing fliers at your local church, it’s important to maximize the amount of exposure your client receives and exhaust all channels possible. This can be done by multichannel marketing. Multichannel marketing is a modern method that encompasses the combination of different channels, to work together and maximize the effect of your messages and tactics.

In an effort to promote the Connections for Life thrift store, MorphPR will post promotional messages on the organizations official social media accounts in conjunction with sending an e-newsletter to subscribers. This allows the Connections for Life message to reach a larger audience than if it is only been distributed through one channel. This conglomerate of viewership can also be referred to as the “asteroid effect.” This analogy describes the use of multi-channel tactics to create a more extensive effect.

When implementing the tactics of your campaign it’s important to remember that it’s not about just one channel, but about many channels. While it’s important to decipher what specific channels are more important than others based off the research of your key publics, it’s vital to your campaign that you choose as many channels as possible to effectively distribute your campaigns message.

Courtney Costello is the MorphPR strategy director and a senior mass communication major from New York. View her digital portfolio or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Public Relations Strategies and Connections for Life: Getting the Message Across

By: Courtney Costello

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Image via: http://bit.ly/1Bp5YtF

As public relations practitioners, our job is to further our clients goals and objectives while positively promoting their business overall. In a way, we act as a guide on their journey to success. In order to do this, we carry out a series strategies and tactics for the client. For example, at MorphPR we have created a strategic message plan and media timeline to ensure our client, Connections for Life, is promoted to the public in a positive and effective way.

However, this is easier said than done.

The plan created by the public relations firm, in this case MorphPR, must be constructed strategically to not only be effective, but be setup in a way that their client, Connections for Life, breaks from the clutter and stands out. To guarantee this, here are a few strategies PR practitioners can use:

  1. Do your homework.

 Before you can begin formulating a message plan for your client, you must first understand your client. This means knowing your clients mission, history and goals, so you can make informed decisions in regards to your client. For example, Connections for Life’s mission is to aid in the rehabilitation of women who have recently been released from prison and are reentering society. MorphPR after learning of their client’s mission could then begin to draft a strategic message that encompassed the organization’s mission. Along with being fully knowledgeable of your client’s mission, it’s important to know your clients history and your client’s competition. This way, you can create a strategic message that is original and does not conflict with past campaigns, or overlaps with your competitions messaging.

  1. Know your campaign goals.

Who does your client want to target? Who is your customer? What are you trying to achieve? These are all important questions you should answer in regards to your campaign, in order to carry out an effective message strategy. At MorphPR, we met with Connections for Life on several occasion to find out their areas of concern and overall goals. One was to strengthen the association between their thrift store and the program it directly supports. Therefore, we decided as a firm we must create a strategy that would not only urge people to shop at the thrift store, but to give them incentive to shop at the thrift store. In other words, we think an effective strategy would be tapping into the customer’s emotion and showing them their dollars can directly change someone’s life. Therefore, having a grasp on what your client wants to achieve can shape your message and give you direction when creating it.

  1. It takes more than just a news release.

In the modern day public relations landscape, it takes more than just a news release to disseminate your message to the media. Along with sending out a well-written news release, public relation firms should target media that directly relate to their target. This includes, but is not limited to, television, social media, blogs, etc. In these cases, news releases are not always appropriate. Be prepared to create media advisories, pitches and pre-planned social media posts to get your message across in the best way. In efforts to promote the Connections for Life thrift sore, MorphPR is not only sending press releases to the appropriate recieptants, but is sending pitches to local fashion bloggers to promote thrifting and where their readers can go to thrift. This is a non-traditional way to get our message across, but can prove to be an effective one. All in all, not all clients are the same, so why should the way you promote them be?

These are just a few strategies on how to effectively craft and promote a message. Being creative when creating a message for your client is key, but what is most important is to be strategic and make sure your client’s goals and objectives are being met.

Courtney Costello is the MorphPR strategy director and a senior mass communication major from New York. View her digital portfolio or connect with her on LinkedIn.

MorphPR promotes Connections for Life, realizes importance of excellent writing

By: Kelli Griffin

Throughout our time in the Manship School of Mass Communication, one lesson has been stressed over and over from day one: the importance of impeccable writing.

Image via: http://bit.ly/1AYI6fI
Image via: http://bit.ly/1AYI6fI

In public relations, the written word is at the core of everything we do. from memos and talking points, to news releases and media advisories and from video scripts and research reports, to tweets and Facebook posts, everything comes back to writing.

I have put together a few simple tips that can help anyone improve their PR writing skills.

  1. Make sure you always use AP style. Because so many of a public relations practitioner’s deliverables are sent to the media, it is important to write the same way as the media. This means you should use active voice whenever possible, should always use parallel construction and should never use the Oxford comma unless leaving it out would cause confusion.
  2. Inverted pyramid is your friend. When writing a news release, make sure you use the inverted pyramid style. This means that the most important information comes first, and the least important comes last. Newspapers have limited space and newscasts have limited time. Reporters and editors will just cut information off of the end of your news release to make it fit within their story parameters.
  3. Know your medium. The writing for social media will look much different than the writing for a sponsorship package. Tweets are limited to 140 characters and can be more casual, while an annual report should be more formal and professional.
  4. Know your audience. When doing work for clients, keep in mind that not only are you giving your work to them, your work will be passed on to their audience. Our client, Connections for Life, is a nonprofit in Baton Rouge that helps women who have recently been released from incarceration to transition into an independent life. Connections for Life also runs a thrift store. We have to find balance in our messages. What appeals to thrift store shoppers may not appeal to people who donate to nonprofits. Knowing who is likely to receive our messages will help us shape our stories to have the greatest impact.
  5. Edit, edit, edit! Always check over your work at least once, if not twice. Then have someone else look at it too. Careless errors detract from your message and make you seem less credible.

Writing skills are a key component of any PR practitioner’s toolbox. Taking the time to think through what you write will pay off in the long run, and remember, as with any other skill, practice makes perfect.

Image via: http://bit.ly/1Mn2cqx
Image via: http://bit.ly/1Mn2cqx

Kelli Griffin is the writing director for MorphPR and is a senior double majoring in public relations and accounting. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.