Monday, March 27: Introduction to Public Relations (Outline of the Group Project)

Group Assignment:


  • Create a basic campaign strategy for your client. You must set goals and objectives based on research findings. Your basic campaign strategy should include: 
  1. Goal:Goals are longer-term, broad, global and future statements of “being.” Goals may include how an organization is uniquely distinguished in the minds of its key publics.
    1. Your client gave you a goal. Tinker with it based on your research.
  2. Theoretical Basis for the Campaign
  3. Objectives: Objectives focus on a shorter term than goals. Objectives are written after research on all publics is done.
    1. Objectives (1) define WHAT opinion, attitude or behavior you want to achieve from specific publics, (2) specify how much change you want to achieve from each public, and (3) tell by when you want to achieve that change.
    2. Objectives should be SMART: Specific (both action to be taken and public involved); Measurable; Achievable; Realistic (or relevant or results (outcome) oriented); and Time-specific.
    3. Objectives establish standards for assessing the success of your public relations efforts.
    4. Objectives come in three general types: Output objectives measure activities, e.g., issue 10 news releases during the month or post three tweets per day. Outputs can help monitor your work but have no direct value in measuring the effectiveness of a campaign. The Barcelona Principles discourage the use of output objectives. Process objectives call for you to “inform” or “educate” publics. Outcome objectives specify changes in awareness, opinions, behavior or support. (For example, “Increase downloads of our product coupon by 25 percent from October levels by Dec. 31.”) Outcome objectives require high-level strategic thinking. You must determine, for instance, which changes would be consistent with organizational goals and demonstrate public relations effectiveness to management. 
  4. Strategy
    1. Strategies provide the roadmap to your objectives. (Communication strategies target publics for change. Action strategies focus on organizations’ internal changes.)
    2. Strategies describe HOW to reach your objectives.
    3. Strategies include “enlist community influentials to …,” “accelerate involvement with …,” “position the company as …” or “establish strategic partnerships with … .”
  5. Tactics
    1. Tactics are your tools.
    2. Tactics are specific elements of a strategy or tools for accomplishing a strategy.
    3. Examples include meetings, publications, product tie-ins, community events, news releases, online information dissemination and social networks.
    4. Activities are details of tactics: six meetings, four publications, three blog posts and one tweet per day. Activities have dates, indicate who is in charge and tell what attendance or outcome is expected.
  6. Evaluation/measurement of success
    1. Measure effectiveness of the program against objectives.
    2. Outcome objectives generally call for changes in awareness, opinions, behavior or support. Behavior change is usually considered the ultimate sign of public relations effectiveness. But some assessments consider long-term outgrowths of public relations actions as well. The highest level of public relations impact could be social or cultural changes.
    3. Determine how members of each key public interpreted messages. (Meaning comes from individual interpretations.)
    4. Identify ways to improve, and develop recommendations for the future.
    5. Adjust the plan, materials, messages and activities before going forward.
    6.  Collect data and record information for use in research phase of next program.

  • Create media materials for the campaign. For example:
    • create a full media kit with the following components with a pitch letter to a TARGETED MEDIA CONTACT. This letter should “clearly identify the contents of the media kit, state why the event deserves coverage, give the names of the persons to contact for further information, and explain why the information is being sent. The letter should be written in a way that will entice readers to review the contents of the media kit” (Diggs-Brown, p. 69). Review the bad pitches on the Bad Pitch Blog and the good pitches on the D2L links and content pages for inspiration.
    • Write a media advisory about your media conference.
    • Write an issue backgrounder.
    • Write a media release for the news conference announcing the launch of the campaign, or write a media release announcing another facet of your campaign.
    • Write 2 fact sheets – one must be an organizational fact sheet (all about your organization). The other must focus on your issue. Both must be one page.


Remember: (1) Double-space, (2)Spell-check, (3) Proofread, (4) Format

Include: Relevant sources of information, Relevant documents you chose to work from, Completed Writing Outline

Completed Writing Outline

The purpose of this writing outline is to force you to think through your writing of the campaign tactics. This form is what many agencies require their writers to complete prior to submitting their work for client approval.

* * *

Writing Product Type:

Your Organization:

Brief background on your organization:

Specific targeted public(s):

Secondary public(s) if any:


Outcome desired from public(s) – Select the most appropriate one from the list:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Attitude
  3. Behavior

How the outcome is tied into the self-interest of the public(s), i.e., why they should care:

Main information or message to be conveyed:

Secondary information or messages:

Specific media or method for dissemination of this writing piece:

Follow-up activities with media, if applicable:

Sources of information:


Examples of final campaign projects:



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