When it comes to messaging, the idea can be a little intimidating; it was for me at least. On my first day at my first real job in the nation’s capital, my boss gave me an assignment, during which I was responsible for explaining the concept of messaging with regard to effective communication. 

But that’s just it! Explaining a concept, as opposed to an action like giving a speech or something tangible like writing a press release, for which it’s pretty simple to give helpful tips or steps that lead to the desired outcome, can be a little trickier. Proper messaging is the underlying goal behind all facets of communication.

You have a message that you wish to deliver to various audiences in a way that will allow those audiences to interpret that message the way you intended. But HOW? Below are some key ingredients to effectively projecting a message.

1) Understand Exactly What Messaging Is

Messaging is an essential component of every part of Public Relations. It involves maintaining a consistent message across all mediums of communications. Reports Cross Border Communications. So, whether a client is giving a speech, maintaining social media, having a promotional event and so on, the underlying goal in all of these tasks is to project that same message in a way that facilitates proper interpretation. 

2) Getting to Know the Client

A key factor in conveying the proper message is being knowledgeable about the client. The following bullets outline the things that a successful PR professional has to be extremely familiar with when it comes to the client:

  • The main product or service
  • The competition and their products or services
  • Ethical standards
  • Target customers and their lifestyles (jobs, financial situation, family life, etc.)
  • Current customers and their lifestyles as well
  • Current promotional methods being used
  • How well those methods are working
  • What promotional areas need some work

3) Figuring Out What the Message Should Be

Finally, a PR professional is responsible for using all of the factors above to create a message that displays the client in a way that will be most beneficial in terms of reputation or profit, or whatever it is that the client is after in a given situation.


In a perfect world, Public Relations practitioners would only have to be responsible for promoting good news; unfortunately that is not the reality we live in. We know all to well that “all press is good press” is an overused myth. Half of our job is to advise clients and organizations when they find themselves in the midst of a controversies, scandal and over all bad news. About.com offers advice on how to handle some of the different “bad press” situations you will run into.

When a story is untrue

The most important thing a PR professional can do when the media reports false information, is to correct them. The key to doing this successfully is to do it quickly and with a professional demeanor. This is one of the easier “bad news” situations to remedy.

When a story is bad, but true

This situation poses more of a challenge. The best thing a PR practitioner can do is to confront the media and be honest about the situation. In some situations the cover-up can be worse than crime, and it is important to avoid making more work than necessary.

Mistakes and Tragedy’s are also stories that are bad but true. The situations are best handled by looking forward rather than pointing the finger and making excuses. These situations are inevitable, and your response should stress how your client or organization is going to ensure the public that it won’t happen again.

Negative opinions

When the “bad news” comes in the form of a story that is someone’s opinion, the first thing you must do is to determine whether it is worth it to “climb into the pig pen and wrestle in the muck.”

In many cases the opinions will come from blogs, with many of their author’s not being established or credible. In these instances, it is best to ignore the comments. Engaging with the contributor of the opinion may make your client or organization seem petty.

Bad press from a professional critic

Debating an opinion of a professional critic makes your client or organization seem defensive.  The most productive way to handle this situation is to reach out to the critic and thank them. Address any points that they had that you agree with and avoid discussing aspects of the review that you don’t. By doing this you are establishing a better connection with the review, which may aid in better reviews in the future.


The news conference is one major tool of Public Relations practitioners. A news conference is used to call the media together to do a number of things:

  • Release new information on your organization
  • Analyze a new angle on a previous story
  • Announce your position on an issue
  • Explain a new product
  • Endorse a candidate
  • Launch a campaign

It is important that when you call together a news conference that you have real “news” to report. If you do not abide by this you risk damaging your reputation as a credible news source. There are two different types of news conferences: proactive and reactive. A proactive conference announces or creates a story and a reactive conference is called to respond to breaking news

Timing is a vital aspect of news conference. A proactive news conference should be scheduled between 10:00 am and 3:00pm in order to accommodate reporter’s deadlines. You should always plan these types of news conferences on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  Mondays should be avoided because you are not able to have last minute contact with the reporters before the conference due to the weekend. If a conference is held on a Friday there is a good chance that the story will be broken on a Saturday, when less people pay attention to breaking news.

If the conference is one of a reactive nature, try to apply the same rules as much as possible, but also strive to schedule the conference as close to the breaking news itself. If you wait too long, the organization’s position may not be included in the story.

Notification of the news conference is the most important aspect of planning a conference. When you are intending to call a conference send out a media advisory to all of the necessary journalists and assignment editors. You should also make calls two days before the event to encourage attendance as well as to gage how many people will be there.

After you hold the conference, be sure to follow up. Call news outlets and go over what was said at the conference. You may also want to offer an interview about the topic that way reporters who may not have made it to the conference can also cover the story.  You also need to make sure that outlet that was invited received a press kit with the speakers’ statement and all other important information.

If you follow these simple steps, and combine it with the strategically crafted messages you will deliver at the conference, you can rest easy that reporters will cover your story and be eager to attend any of your future news conferences!


Research shows that hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less scanning an applicant’s resume, either checking it off or moving on to the next one. What does this mean for an aspiring PR professional? A killer resume will get you one step closer to landing your dream job.

Be bold

If an employer only spends half a minute skimming through resumes, something has to stand out to separate yours from the stack. Public Relations is not a predictable career field. So, why make your resume predictable? Be creative and let your personality show. But don’t get too carried away – you’re applying for a profession, not the circus.

Tailor it

Most hiring managers put a lot of thought and time into their job descriptions/postings. Use them to tailor your resume for that specific application. Find key words in the job posting that specify what the hiring manager is looking for, and use that same language in your resume. Think of it like a gift registry – as the gift buyer, I know that the receiver is going to be happy because he or she picked it out. Your resume is your chance to show the prospective employer that you are exactly what he or she picked out.

Specifics, not skills

PR employers want to know how you can benefit their organization, not what you did at your last job. When listing your skill set and previous experience, explain how everything you’ve learned makes you the right candidate for this job. You managed social media accounts? Great, so did the other 20 applicants. Sell YOUR specific learning experience and what you can bring to the table from managing those accounts.

Ready, set, apply!