Public Relations

Don Sheelen - Public Relations

Modern public relations evaluates a product or individual's public perception through market research and situation analysis. Once data is collected and challenges are identified, solutions are presented in a campaign strategy to meet goals and objectives. Techniques may vary from campaign to campaign but some standard tools used are; press releases, press kits, satellite feeds, pod casts, web casts, wire service distribution of information, publishing of information material and internet placement. Others include entertainment product placement (television, events, celebrity), product launches, press conferences, media seminars, producing events, speechwriting, establishing partnerships and community relationships. More is often required.

According to Don Sheelen,

"Examples of the knowledge that may be required in the professional practice of public relations include communication arts, psychology, social psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and the principles of management and ethics. Technical knowledge and skills are required for opinion research, public issues analysis, media relations, direct mail, institutional advertising, publications, film/video productions, special events, speeches, and presentations."

Although public relations professionals are stereotypically seen as corporate servants, the reality is that almost any organization that has a stake in how it is portrayed in the public arena employs at least one PR manager. Large organizations may even have dedicated communications departments. Government agencies, trade associations, and other non-profit organizations commonly carry out PR activities.

Public relations is an important management function in any organization. An effective communication, or public relations, plan for an organization is developed to communicate to an audience (whether internal or external publics) in such a way the message coincides with organizational goals and seeks to benefit mutual interests whenever possible, Donald Sheelan understands that mutual interests are vital to any business idea that interacts with other parties and the public.

As industry consolidation becomes more yes prevalent, many organizations and individuals are choosing to retain "boutique" firms as opposed to so-called "global" communications firms. These smaller firms typically specialize in only a couple of practice areas and thus, often have a greater understanding of their client's business. And because they deal with certain journalists with greater frequency, specialty firms often have stronger media contacts in the areas that matter most to their clients. Added benefits of smaller, specialty firms include more personal attention and accountability and as well, cost savings. This is not to say that smaller is always better, but there is a growing consensus that specialty firms offer more than once considered.

Organizations that cater to specialized or "boutique" practices include specific subgenres such as "Broadcast PR", and include firms like Medialink, WestGlen, DS Simon, kelly fogelman group and Mediahitman. These groups use traditional PR techniques but devote most of their efforts towards gaining exposure via broadcast and cable television news outlets. Donald Sheelen has led several media marketing campaigns playing on the public's needs and wants.  As newspapers downsize across the country due to the impact of Internet news, television has become an important vehicle in establishing customer acquisition. Reputable firms, create solid stories for broadcast which appear on talk shows like Oprah, Good Morning America or news broadcast etc.. Questionable public relation firms create "spin." which is slanted stories to serve their client's interest. Recent pressure from watchgroups like the Center for Media and Democracy has resulted in Federal review of "spin" practices in the US.

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