The final topic we discussed in this course was annual reports. All companies have a report that is compiled annually to reflect growth, change, financial elements, and community outreach. These reports can be audience specific for investors, employees, consumers, etc. However, the information in the report is based off of the progress of the company in the previous year.
Non-profit reports tend to be geared more for investors, as that is the primary source of funding for the organization. For-profit reports include various items that may appeal more to particular groups. The company that I chose included the annual report on the investors website. There was quick access to the report through a link to a pdf file. Viewers could then search the report for key words or use the table of contents to locate desired sections.
I found it very skill-building to use the same report in numerous assignments. It showed me the amount of information that annual reports contained while demonstrating the various ways to represent this information to the public. The brochure assignment focused on summarizing key points of the report while being visually appealing. The radio announcements only included information from the report relevant to community service. The whole process taught me that information will be available for businesses. How the information is displayed to the public, influences the message delivered and overall success of the company. The facts will always be the same. The way the facts are presented is what creates a positive or negative reaction from consumers.
Another topic dicussed thoroughly in this course was communication channels and types. There are numerous ways to provide a message to a public. The method a company chooses should be the best communication possible based off cost to make the product, intended audience, information the product contains, and time spent making the public relations piece.
Some of the most common communication channels are radio stations, television, the internet, newspapers, and events. Media items that can be distributed through these channels include radio announcements, commericials, web casts, newspaper advertisements, brouchures, flyers, and press releases. All of these pieces can be customized to fit particular business needs. For example, a radio advertisment can be 10 seconds to quickly spread awareness of an issue or it can be 30 seconds to provide the audience with a summary of the current situation and how they can be involved.
I found this information to be very interesting. The variety of communication types available is crazy. It is amazing to know how many options public relations members have to deliver a message. I also found it very informative to learn the level of thinking that goes into each public relations deliverable. A brief announcement could take months of planning. That really awakened me to the importance of public relations and the level of critical analysis public relations officials need to have to appropriately deliver a message.
When first starting this course I was very new to public relations. The rest of my coursework pertained to marketing and web development. Most of my experience was in the technology field, so I was eager to learn more about the networking side of things. The first couple of weeks in this class really opened my eyes to the extensive process behind public relations. I realized that there are numerous steps to releasing a statement or creating a media piece. When releasing a statement several factors had to be decided on and analyzed. These key components are target audience, statement, summary, timeline, and output.
The target audience could vary depending on the particular business or message being delivered. For example, a tanning company may advertise to college students while a luxury car business may advertise to business professionals. The statement is what exactly the media item is meant to say. It is the message the company wishes to convey to the public. The summary is a few key pieces of information that are necessary for the audience to understand. The timeline is when each item needs to be completed, when media representatives need to be present, and when the media piece would be best released. Referring to the example above, a tanning salon may choose to release a message prior to spring break, while a luxury car company may choose to release a message in the same time tax returns are received. Each business has a specific purpose and goal. Public relations efforts have to be customized for these goals.