Seitel, F.P. (2010). The Practice of Public Relations, 11th ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

The skill of management is indubitably one of the most important for any public relations professional to possess. The beginning of Chapter 5 in Sietel’s “The Practice of Public Relations” notes that the responsibilities of a PR professional are not much unlike those of the CEO of a company. Both need to be proficient at, and have knowledge about, planning, budgeting, objective setting, and how top management thinks and operates. “It has been said that the only difference between the public relations director and the CEO is that the latter gets paid more” (Sietel, 2010).

The chapter discusses how effective management in public relations focuses on results; I think Sietel says it well when he states, “… the best public relations programs can be measured in terms of achieving results in building the key relationships on which the organization depends.” (Sietel, 2010). Further, Chapter 5 lays out four questions that public relations professionals must constantly ask: What are we attempting to achieve, and where are we going in that pursuit? What is the nature of the environment in which we must operate? Who are the key audiences we must convince in the process? And how will we get to where we want to be? (Sietel, 2010).

Another extremely important skill for a PR professional to possess is the ability to lay out a clear and concise public relations plan. PR plans can vary in their purpose and aim, but in all cases the plans must be clear-cut and comprehensibly lay out the objectives to achieve the organizational goals. Sietel offers 10 basic items that a public relations plan should include.

1. Executive summary- should lay out the basic summary or outline of the plan.

2. Communication process- discuss how the plan will work, so that everyone can understand and be trained accordingly.

3. Background- discusses what has led to the plan/why it is needed.

4. Situation analysis- what are the major issues?

5. Message statement- the real meat of the plan. Should contain the major ideas & emerging themes.

6. Audiences- who is the target audience for the plan? List in order of importance what public(s) is being targeted.

7. Key audience messages- once it is clear who the plan’s key audiences are, develop short messages that are most important to be understood by them.

8. Implementation- “issues, audiences, messages, media, timing, cost, expected outcomes, and method of evaluations–all neatly spelled out.” (Sietel, p. 84). Summarize the plan as clearly as possible.

9. Budget- more or less, this portion should lay out how much the plan is going to cost.

10. Monitoring & evaluation- this final section should clearly present a method for how the plan’s success (or lack there of) can be measured and evaluated, based on a previously set standard.

(Sietel, 2010)

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