PR Tip #19: Keep Employees in the Loop

One of a company’s most critical communication “targets” are its own employees.

By communicating openly and honestly with your employees, you ensure that these essential stakeholders understand the corporate mission.  By listening to their feedback, you make them feel they are part of the team. This level of communications is too important to be left to chance.

Standardize internal communications,  ensuring there is a regular cadence to it.  That will help make employees feel included and secure-  going a long way toward boosting morale and engendering employee support.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.

Hoggan PR Tip #18: Don’t Dignify Petty Criticisms


It’s tempting, when you are criticized in the media, to rise vigorously in your own defense.

But it’s often the wrong thing to do: You may unwittingly call attention to criticism that no one noticed, and you give your critic credibility by responding.

If someone says something that is damaging to your business or reputation, by all means respond. But if someone says something crticial, hurtful, or even untruthful, assess the damage.

If there isn’t any, seriously consider letting it pass.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.

Hoggan PR Tip #17: Speak Up: Secrecy Breeds Suspicion

When speaking to the media, “No comment” sounds like you’ve got something to hide.

Reporters love a good mystery- so do their readers.

“No comment” invites suspicion and mistrust; it suggests you are trying to hide something – even if you are not.  Although legal or business considerations may limit your response, a general willingness to respond openly to media inquires is usually the best policy.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.

Hoggan PR Tip #16: It’s Better to Work It Out than Duke It Out

In the world of public opinion, what is said is often not as important as who is saying it.

And when it comes to environment, research shows that Americans trust scientists, experts, and environmental groups and have very little confidence in industry and government.

Given this credibility deficit, business is not likely to win a battle for public opinion.

So when it comes to the environment, it is better to look for a quiet solution than to initiate a big public debate.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.

Hoggan PR Tip #15: In All Communications, Accentuate the Positive!

Few things will tempt a smoker as effectively as a warning that says, “No SMOKING.”

Research shoes that people are inclined to read over the “negation tag” in a statement and fix on the active word.  Ruth Mayo from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem explains: “If someone says, ‘I did not harass her,’ I associate the idea of harassment with this person.”

Even if an accused person is later exonerated, “this (harassment) is what is activated when I hear this person’s name again.”

So, don’t forget, REMEMBER, stick with affirmative phrasing.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.

Hoggan PR Tip #14: Be Bold, Balanced, and Brief – and Tell a Story

Here are three easy rules to help ensure that the point you want to make in a TV interview doesn’t get lost in editing or dismissed by your audience as biased:

1. Speak with conviction.
2. Don’t overstate your point of view. Be objective.
3. Make your point in 15 seconds or less.

It is also good to prepare brief examples and anecdotes to illustrate your point. The more complex the story, the more likely it is that a ready example or illustrative story will connect with an audience that has no expertise in your field.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.

Hoggan PR Tip #12: The 15-Minute Rule

Few things are more annoying or puzzling to a reporter than being unable to reach a company that has just sent them a news release.

So, before you send out the news release and book yourself into a day of meetings, consider:

–  It’s not a good idea to annoy someone who is about to write a story about you.
– Nor is it wise to have a reporter rewriting your news release when they still have unanswered questions.

So, when a news release goes out, make sure the person identified as the contact will be available to take media calls.  If the contact is unavailable when a reporter calls, he or she should be able to return the call within 15 to 30 minutes.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.

Hoggan PR Tip #11: Public Values Trump Private Facts

The famous American pollster Daniel Yankelovich points out in his book Coming to Public Judgment that you can’t win a public argument with facts when your position offends the values of your audience.

For example, no compelling collection of crime statistics will sell the public on free heroin distribution if most people feel drug taking is morally wrong.

But, if you make a complementary moral argument – for example, that controlled drug distribution can ultimately reduce drug dependency and improve public health- you will have a better chance of reaching your audience.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.

Hoggan PR Tip #10: Honour Your Critics: They Could Become Your Best Friends

Any time you respond effectively to a customer’s complaint, you have an opportunity to build real loyalty.

So honor your critics online.

Listen for legitimate complaints and respond with temperance and good faith.

This can be a challenge because the medium is littered with “trolls”,  snarling vandals who take pleasure in getting people riled up for no reason.  High-profile sites also attract the attention of trolls-for-hire, people who do dirty work for the competition.

Avoid the muck, assume most people who comment on your site are legitimate and you will find friend sin the mix.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.

Hoggan PR Tip #9: Great Publicists are Great Listeners

The first step in attracting positive media coverage is learning what the media finds interesting and examining your company for elements that fit those criteria.

Keep tabs on the headlines; watch who’s covering what and track which stories are gaining momentum.  At the same time, dig deep in your company for similar “newsworthy” details.

When you find one and pitch a story, listen to the response.

Follow up on press releases.

You will enjoy much greater success if you study and respond to media interest than if you try desperately to sell your favorite idea.

This is part of an ongoing series of practical public relations tips taken from Jim Hoggan’s book, Do the Right Thing: PR tips for a skeptical public.

See all the tips Jim has posted so far on this page here: Jim Hoggan’s PR Tips Series.