Publicity Media include the press, TV, radio, films and documentaries among others used for publicity. These are all mass media because they reach the mass spread over a vast area simultaneously. These mediums form a public information system, which the public relations practitioner can use for disseminating information. Here we will discuss the media options available to a public relations practitioner and how best he can use them for achieving the objectives. Media selection depends on the organizational requirements, kind of audience to be reached, the goals of publicity and the budget.
The Press in India is a powerful medium to communicate. Despite the factors of illiteracy and the advent of TV, newspaper is the dominant medium in disseminating information and shaping public opinion. The press has mass reach in the country. There are newspapers at all national, regional and local levels, both in English and regional languages. Newspapers have special business pages as well as there are special business newspapers. These newspapers also carry all types news and information. Thus, the press is a popular and effective PR tool with maximum impact.
There are also specialized magazines both in English and regional languages catering to professional groups, business and industry. There are also periodicals catering to the market of tourism, textiles, women, computers and automobiles.
Publicity through Press:
The PR person has to decide how and when the activities, policies or programs of the organization are to be projected to the public through the press. The press can be provided with press release, features and article backgrounders for disseminating information. A PR person must know that information of your organization has to compete with similar information emanating from various other organizations for coverage and space in the press, so you must be careful about the newsworthiness and timing of your news releases so that you can ensure its publication.
News release is the most common form issued by organizations to the press for publicity. Organizations should provide such news and facts which will be of interest to the readers. The content of a press release can be about a new product launched, a new contract bagged, a new policy the organization declared or an event. The PR person should keep in view the following things while preparing a news release:
- The content should be newsworthy.
- It should be written in a news format.
- It should have a headline and error-free.
- It must have the name of the organization, mailing address, e-mail id and phone number along with the sender’s name, designation and signature.
- The date for release should be mentioned.
- It should be reach the press on time.
If a PR person has good rapport with the media and having persuasive skills, he can suggest subjects for editorials by providing background materials and providing possible lines of approach. Special events, anniversaries, landmarks achieved, major policy changes or any controversial issues can be used for editorials. PR persons should have good contacts with columnists also. Columnists, of course also, always look for newsworthy materials. They can be provided with the information in a feature or article format or by appropriate briefing.
Letters to the Editors:
Public relation persons can also send letters to the editors to put forward the views of the organization or to inform people to correct a wrong impression. Letters to the editor are a feedback from the public. Letters which make a forceful point get published in this space.
As a publicity medium, television has great force and scope because it uses printed and spoken words, pictures in motion, music, animation and sound effects. The impact of TV is persuasive and powerful. It has worldwide reach. TV is dramatic, intimate and has prestige value too. Public Relations practitioners can make use of the medium by providing video/filmed news release to the TV channels. PR persons should know that if the publicity material is too sales oriented or resembles a paid commercial advertisement, the TV channels will not use it. Thus, it should maintain a low profile approach in which the company presents facts of information of educational nature. Voluntary organizations or NGOs get better chances of publicizing their activities over TV as they are non-commercial.