Public relations is vitally necessary, perhaps even critical, in today's competitive marketplace. There are many ways a sustained public relations program can benefit your organization:
Public relations should not be a "we will do it if we have the time and resources" kind of effort. A sustained initiative can build your organization's profile in the news media and the local community.
Editorial coverage gives your organization better stakeholder attention compared to paid advertisements.
Editorial copy generated through effective public relations is far more believable and credible than paid advertising, due to media objectivity. Recent studies in North America suggest that positive editorial coverage generates up to nine times more visibility than paid advertising.
Public relations is an economical means of promoting your organization.
Regular and effective news releases can make your organization a "news media source" on the state of Linux. It is critical to develop relationships with the news media in the same way it is a good idea to develop other kinds of friendships in the community. Writers and reporters are always looking for reliable and respected sources to quote.
Regular media exposure legitimizes your organization's work and enhances its reputation. There is a subtle but nonetheless real perception that mention in a newspaper or on television must be important. Media coverage communicates to the business community that your organization's qualifications and programs are worthy of "a serious look."
You must also be cautious when dealing with media outlets. Being overconfident or overly aggressive in trying to place stories with the news media can have damaging results. It is a lot easier to lose goodwill than to gain it back. The safest position is to understand what you are doing, work hard to accomplish predetermined and realistic goals, be courteous and respectful when dealing with your media contacts, and expect some disappointments along the way. After all, hard as you may try, the results of your public and news media relations initiatives are never predictable. But if planned and implemented correctly, the benefits are enormous. Chapter 2 explains how to determine what you really want to accomplish.