My studies in Mass Communications has helped open up a new way to look at ways of getting the message out. Targeted messaging is an important part of business and to be effective, the message has to be direct and purposefully worded. People can see or hear the same words, but the message they hear can be different. By understanding this, you can adjust the message and its delivery message accordingly. Different outlets like video, the internet, radio and print all have their benefits along with shortcomings. But, using them together can help to overcome these.
This week I will be writing a fictional story for the radio. This story is about a law raising the drinking level age passing the state legislature.
Here it is:
A bill was introduced into the New York State Legislature Monday seeking to raise the legal drinking age from 19 to 21. The bill caused a 30 hour debate in both the House and Senate. The bill was sponsored by Representative Tom Hartley.
[HARTLEY BITE: This bill will protect our youth by limiting their access to alcohol and help reduce drinking related accidents and deaths. The more mature a person is, the better the understanding of the risks associated with drinking.]
The Legislature put the bill to a vote, passing 55-40 in the House and 18-12 in the Senate.
Companies are utilizing many different sources of media to get their point across. When it comes to print, the author is required to help the reader to visualize and deliver a specific message. But different people imagine scenarios or interpret stories differently. Think of it like a painting. Many people can look at the same picture, but take away different meanings or interpretations of it. This is not what a PR person wants. The message needs to be delivered in such a way where all people can get the same message. This is a very difficult task.
Video helps this process by including another form to create the message. When pictures and words combine, the message can become clearer to the audience. You can show the person what you mean, and tell them what it is. This can allow you to remove some of the barriers and better direct the message. Take a look at this Waste Management video about their participation in the BP oil spill in the Gulf:
In my line of work, I deal with national and international companies on a daily basis. These companies are often looking to supply our company with various products. To secure our business, these companies present their products and their production capabilities. More and more, these companies are creating video presentations to help deliver their message. This messages are prepared to show the benefits of using the company and direct the message where they want it to go. It can help dispel any false impressions and create a positive view of that company. With some of these companies, words cannot show us the true capacity of their company. With images, we better understand.
I am building a simple website that is a public relations site for Rick Santorum. In doing so, I have had to decide which forms of information were most important to relay and what method I would use. There is the traditional method of an article, video that can augment the written information, twitter feeds, links to other sites, and many more.
I always enjoyed creating websites. It is a great way to relay information to an audience and help others understand a persons views, while having the ability to interact with the author. Its reach is immense and power can be amazing. It is a powerful means of communication which is quickly becoming the standard.
GE is an innovative company that has developed many new technologies and created better ways to use older ones. This has resulted in the company growing into one of the biggest companies in the world. This growth has resulted in the need to invest in a system that can effectively distribute the message of the company in an efficient manner. Through the GE website,ge.com, the company has been able to inform customers, media, investors and more of the information they need to know about the company. It is a central point where all the company information can be accessed, from product descriptions and support, to services, sister company information, company history and news, and investor relations.
The landing page illustrates GE’s effect on the world in terms of dollars generated in export sales, jobs created in the US, and years the company has endured. Initiatives in job creation, health , transportation and energy are also documented to inform the public of the goals of the company. This provides the company an opportunity to win the minds of the reader to the possibilities available because of the company as well as a reason to support the purposes of the company. Part of the GE website provides a link to community projects and charity issues the company supports or leads. This helps put the company in a positive light and can help show those interested the positive effects the company is trying to have on the people and places around the company.
The bottom line is that the website allowed the reader to understand the company in an effective, easy to navigate, clean and direct way. It doesn’t sway from the purpose of informing the public about the company. It stays positive and engaging, increasing the effectiveness of the public relations campaign.
The internet has become a base for public relations campaigns. it provides a cost effective and targeted way of reaching the audience and is very effective at defining the message. For these reasons, this form of communication has become popular for politicians. President Barack Obama was one of the first national figures to use this media to define his message and attract supporters on a grand scale. Since then, others have followed suit.
Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is one of those national figures that learned a thing or two from Obama. His website, www.ricksantorum.com, is a base of communications for his campaign. This website allows Santorum to post press releases, news related to his campaign or issues he believes in, facts about his positions as well as an area to help the campaign. The website also is used to get information, especially email, of the people that visit the site. This will then be used to keep people informed of happenings even when they are not on the website. This allows for top-of-the-mind awareness of the candidate as well as a vehicle to help spread the message. It is a very useful tool that can be exploited for maximum effect.
As far as forms of internet media I use in my daily life, I would say news sites, entertainment sites as well as educational sites. The internet has become a first-stop for all my information needs. If I want to know what is going on in the world, I use the internet. If I want to see what there is to do around the city, I will use certain entertainment sites. If I want to understand or expand my knowledge of something, there are numerous places on the web to go. Virtually anything you want to know is at your fingertips.
I could give it up if I had to. Life would go on. But the world would feel a lot smaller than it does today.
This week, I have been working on writing a press release. I chose to write about the pending acquisition of over 200 HSBC Bank branches by First Niagara Bank. It was an interesting project for me. I have always been interested in business deals and how they effect customers and the community. This is one large transaction that will surely have drastic effects on both.
Using print to relay information can be effective. I stated previously that print media may be losing its relevance, but it still has an important place. It is an effective outlet to send a message to a large and attentive audience. Many publications that have readers with interest in the topic may choose to pick up the story. Also, with press releases, the author can direct the article to reflect their purpose and keep the news on topic as many print outlets will simply use the press release as the article in their publication.
Once you read a few press releases, you can start to see a pattern. The beginning is where the important information is placed so to get the point out to as many as possible. Many readers will never finish an entire article, so placing the important pieces of your message up top can pay plenty of dividends. It’s also beneficial to put some information about the other products or services you offer. This is perfect time to get some free publicity and help expand your reach.
Here is the release I wrote up for the deal:
Contact: Craig Klausen FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tel: (800) 555-1884
First Niagara Sets Closing Date for the Acquisition of Over 200 HSBC Branch Locations
Buffalo, New York – March 8, 2012 – First Niagara Bank, N.A. announced today the expected closing date for the sale of the pending HSBC Bank, USA N.A branch acquisition on May 18, 2012. The sale is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.
This acquisition will allow First Niagara to expand its branch network by over 200 locations throughout Upstate New York and help further the bank as a leader in its markets. This acquisition will also bring a total of over 1,200 HSBC employees into the First Niagara workforce. The branch network of First Niagara will grow through the acquisition to over 430 branch locations, and the bank will have over 6,000 employees, $30 billion in deposits, $38 billion in assets. First Niagara serves customers in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
“This acquisition of HSBC’s branches will allow First Niagara the ability to better serve our customers, business and communities where we operate. First Niagara’s priority throughout will be to seamlessly integrate these HSBC branches into our network, allowing for minimum impact on our customers. HSBC customers will continue service with their branch and First Niagara’s expanded offerings will be available to all customers upon completion. ” said Mark Rendulic, First Niagara Executive Vice President, Retail Banking.
“Our customers will receive the great service they have come to expect from their branch, as well as the familiar faces. First Niagara strives to achieve superior customer service standards and offer the most competitive programs to our customers.” said Rendulic. First Niagara will be sending out regular correspondence to all HSBC customers to help keep them informed of the progress of the transition and the availability of First Niagara programs.
Due to the locations of some branches to existing First Niagara branches, the company has identified 35 branches that will close, most within a one mile radius from each other. First Niagara branches slated for consolidation will close on the May 18 closing date, while HSBC branches slated for closing will remain open for one month after the closing to ensure a smooth transition for customers.
First Niagara is a leader in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. First Niagara offers its customers free ATM fees, free checking accounts and high interest savings accounts and competitive CD and real estate loans. First Niagara has many offerings for commercial and small business customers, as well as insurance and financial planning services. First Niagara offers superior customer service, convenience and a commitment to the communities we serve. Call 1-800-555-5555 or http://www.firstniagara.com for more information on the HSBC transition or First Niagara products and services.