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A Little Advice

Reprinted from News-To-Use, Vol.5, No.1.
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All the buzz in education these days is about "outcome based" programs. The concept is really fairly simple, and makes a lot of sense: define at the outset just what you'd like a student to know, then design a course of study that achieves the desired "outcome."

Now it seems the same methodology is being applied to not only design public relations programs, but also to measure their effectiveness.

Here's how it works: in education, the desired "outcome" is a body of knowledge firmly contained in the brains of students. In PR, the outcome we're looking for may also be specific knowledge, but could also be altered perceptions or even the impetus to take specific actions, such as making a phone call or buying a product.

As in education, the development of an outcome-based marketing communications program begins with a determination of just what you want the outcome to be. This is often the hardest part.

Start with an analysis of your situation, and as you begin your planning, remember that people don't generally make leaps in perception so much as they make small incremental changes.

Once you've determined the overall outcome you're seeking, you'll need to break down the effort into a series of well-worded "nuggets" of information. It is these nuggets that you will attempt to get published or broadcast, and it is the use of these nuggets by the media by which you'll track performance of the campaign.

Let's say, for example, you want to change perception of your company from old, hidebound, mechanical and industrial to new, innovative, sophisticated and high-tech. Your nuggets may include these among a dozen other : < > criptive phrase for your company president, "John Smith, inventor of advanced gazoornin technology..."

A descriptive phrase for your company, "XYZ Corporation, the world leader in gazoornin technology..."

A descriptive phrase for your technology, "Gazoornin, which makes the typical worker twice as productive..."

As you review your published clips, rank them by how well they move a typical prospect toward the desired outcome. Look for your nuggets -- the specific wording you like to see used. Give yourself extra credit for getting the company name in a headline or caption.

Ready to get more out of your PR programs? Maybe it's time you started at the end...with the outcome.

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