Archive for November, 2010

Written communication still dominating PR mix

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Public relations encompasses so many aspects of the communication process that when done effectively it can ensure the absolute success of your business. That being said, there are many things that a good public relations firm can offer its clients.

The written word is, by far, what most people associate with public relations. In fact, about 85 percent of what we do at Heidelberg PR is grounded in written communication.

News releases stand out as the most recognizable. These short, informative documents help to spread your companies’ news to journalists and are a way for you to communicate with your public in a way other than advertising.

But news releases, or press releases as they are sometimes called, are not the only written documents a public relations firm prepares. Fact sheets are similar, but spell out the “Who, what, when, where, and why” of an event that your business is hosting. Sometimes we are asked to prepare company biographies for external use in media sources or on collateral materials.

Internally, we can prepare company newsletters, brochures or annual reports to inform your employees of what is happening in your business.

Now that more business is being conducted digitally, many of the written communication pieces that public relations firms prepare are for online purposes. For instance, starting a company blog is a powerful tool that you as a business owner can use to communicate personally with your customers about your company. PR firms can help you manage that blog to stay consistent with the other message points you deliver to your audience.

Have you started connecting with the millions of people on Facebook or Twitter with a personal page for your business?  If not, it’s easy to start with the proper help. Social media management is a relatively new area of public relations that PR firms can offer to help you use online social media strategically for business applications.

Written communication, while important, is not the only media tool that a public relations firm can help you prepare. Over the next few weeks, I will continue to blog about the other devices in a good PR firm’s toolkit that can help to grow your business. Stay tuned!

Award Applications Create Publicity Opportunities

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Recently, Heidelberg PR had the privilege of preparing two winning applications for the Florida Hospital Association’s 2010 Celebration of Service Awards on behalf of St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater, Fla. Both hospitals are part of BayCare Health System.

Congratulations to Mary Hilton Cross, age 80, a long-time volunteer at St. Anthony’s Hospital. She was named the  2010 FHA Volunteer of the Year and was featured in the St. Petersburg Times. You can read her story here: I got to meet Mary this week at a groundbreaking event at St. Anthony’s Hospital, and she is truly a delightful woman. If you prefer to watch instead of read, here’s a recent TV feature:

The other winning project is the Turley Diabetes Program at Morton Plant Hospital, which was honored for its innovation in patient care. This program provides ongoing treatment and care for diabetic patients who do not have a primary care physician, and the results have been very positive in improving their overall health.

For those considering applying for an award, we highly recommend it as a part of your public relations mix. A story like Mary’s has  wonderful spill-over effects for St. Anthony’s Hospital, and you can leverage the same type of benefit by nominating your company, its leadership or an employee, volunteer or board member for recognition.

Here are a few tips as you move forward: 

1.  Make sure you directly meet the criteria for the award, or you are wasting your time. A stretch to comply with award criteria will not hold up against applications that truly meet all of the qualifications.

2. Tell your story in depth, but do not exceed word count limitations when provided. Being too brief and telling your story without appropriate context equates to a waste of time as well. If you do not have time to do it right, wait until next time.

3. Submit your application a few days early, and call to make sure it has been received. An e-mail confirmation is even better because it provides a written chain of communication in case any concerns arise later in the process.

4. Make sure you proofread your application carefully, or ask a skilled writer to review and edit the application for you.

5. Take advantage of any and all publicity opportunities to share your recognition as a nominee, finalist or winner. Awards brings third-party endorsement to your operations and your people because objective outsiders have compared you against your peers and concluded that you stand out for some special reason. Leverage the opportunity to make the most it!

Election Day Ponderings

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

I just returned from exercising my civic right to vote.  Upon my return, I made the mistake of reviewing the stack of campaign collateral that has been piling up on my counter, mixed in with almost as many unwanted credit card applications, some bills and too many magazines.

What a pile of JUNK. As I sit here proudly wearing my “I voted” sticker, I almost feel as if I was duped into something. I’m not saying anything about anything — I don’t typically sound off on political issues — but I just want to put this out there for your consideration.

I had to dig, but I found a list of  recommended ethics to reflect on when you decide to go down the slippery slope of persuasive communication. I’m a communicator, and I know and understand that there are appropriate times and forums for the tool of persuasion, but fortunately most of my work falls into the objective fact-reporting realm.

Nevertheless, here’s what mass communications students have been taught about persuasive communication. Perhaps some of our politicians would do well to go back to the basics when planning their campaigns.


  • Do not use false evidence.
  • Do not use baseless reasoning.
  • Do not falsely represent yourself.
  • Do not use irrelevant appeals as diversions.
  • Do not make false links to favorable values, motives, or goals.
  • Do not conceal your purpose or interest.
  • Do not cover up consequences.
  • Do not use hollow emotional appeals.
  • Do not oversimplify complex situations.
  • Do not feign certainty.
  • Do not advocate what you don’t believe yourself.

Is it just me, or have some people checked out in the world of ethical communication (and maybe ethics altogether)?