Filip Kochan, Communications Officer for Poland and the Baltics at the World Bank, says: “We are living in an era when huge amounts of information are available wherever we are and whatever we do. Radio, television, printed press, social media, blogs, internet portals – a whole range of different content available at our fingertips twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. At the same time, a human being is a cognitive miser, as first described by Susan Fiske and Shelley Taylor in 1991. One is only capable of learning, understanding, and using a small portion of information that he or she is bombarded with. It is at the confluence of this flood of information and the human mind that a place for PR exists. To me, PR is the ability to attract the attention of selected audiences through strategic and tactical spreading of key messages.”
So first of all, before hiring a public relations firm or launching your own campaign, it is important to understand the nature of the news, that there are only two ways to make news: to create a story or to follow a story.
Therefore, some of the criteria to take into account for anyone who wants to understand, execute and use the power of public relations are: Is it new? Is it unusual? Is there a corner of human interest? As we said before, there are two ways of making news.
1. Create a story – this is the most common form of Public Relations and involves storytelling and most of the time, companies looking to make the news want to promote something fresh: a new car, a new apartment, a new market, a new CEO. or other meaningful employment, new business plan, mergers, rewards, something of this nature, while other methods of making news include stuck articles written for independent publications, opinion-posts (not for you, controversial topic), social media (blogs, tweets, photos, videos, etc.), the marketing content of your website, and more.
Also some companies create their own events or speak in front of prestigious groups and this can be great, but it can be time consuming and expensive, with no guarantees of coverage, and entrepreneurs and small businesses usually cannot afford this expense, so it may be easier to conduct simple surveys by phone and email to peers, customers, and suppliers, since a brief series of questions that result in new information shedding light on a particular issue may be commercial media news.
2. Follow the story – this is when you notice a story in the news and respond – and that could be a drop in the stock market, political scandal, the economic effects of drought or snowstorms, the popularity of the new crop and what it means for farmers and grain prices, etc., because news releases often require an expert to comment in real time via telephone interview, video conference, live interview, Twitter, e-mail or IM. Journalists often get in touch with their usual list of suspects, experts they know or trust, and so quick thinking, reaching out can lead to new connections and media attention.