A Seasoned Professional and the Life Cycle of a News Release

December 1, 2014

A news release came my way the other day —
pitiful little thing.

Dressed well enough, but looked lost.
Didn’t seem to know what it was doing out there, amid all the traffic.
Or where it was going.
Or what it was supposed to do when it got there.
I was about to pitch it, when my tender nature kicked in.
Could I help?
Suppose I applied some of the steps outlined by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) for any work worth doing.
First, what is the goal?
Not a management by objectives (MBO) goal — that’s usually how you’re going to approach a problem — but a UAB goal. The statement of accomplishment — the situation if all goes well and the objectives are met for all audiences or publics. Job done. The desirable outcome.
Could I identify that, and state it well?

Next, who are the aforementioned audiences or publics? Who are the targets for this release?
There are probably several. I won’t try to list them all.
Just the five best — or fewer. Working with too many makes one’s head hurt.
What do I want from each of them? As my friend Chuck Lionberger said: “Who is going to do what — and how much — by when?”
Can I frame the release in that direction?
Probably not expressed, but implied. It’s a matter of phrasing, and of having the objectives quietly in mind — firmly in mind.
And then, how can I find out if my words reach a target and something good ensues?
Likely not able to build that in. Depending on the content, I will probably need to evaluate in terms of response, attendance, clippings, repetition in other media, and apparent understanding by other writers or speakers.

But I will have given my release every chance, and I can demonstrate to higher management how I considered the ability of even a small task to attempt significant results with people who are important to their organization.

Ferne G. Bonomi
Ferne G. Bonomi, APR, Fellow PRSA, began practicing professional public relations in 1950, working for the governor of Iowa. She served on the Universal Accreditation Board when it designed the current computer-assisted Examination. She has coached candidates for Accreditation since the online prep course was formed in 2003 with Michael Henry. At the age of 90, she maintains an office in Ames, Iowa.


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