Text. Email. Tweets. Newswire. Newspaper. Television. No matter how you get your information, chances are there was a little help from a practice that has been in place for thousands of years. Ancient Greeks called it sematikos, meaning semantics or how to get people to believe things and to do things. Eventually this practice translated to public relations.
Now before you ask “why should I even believe in semantics?” Ask yourself, how can I leverage semantics into good public relations? Answer: relevancy, messaging and strategy.
Relevance to a target audience
A good cup of coffee at a terrific mom and pop shop may be a great relevant topic to coffee lovers in your community. The same cup may not be of interest to a sommelier looking for the next best glass of wine. Ok, that’s a bit of a reach for comparison but the point is this: relate to the audience you are trying to reach. If you know your audience, then you know what they want. Now find what similar audiences would want and make it relevant to them. A question to ask is why should they care?
Messaging is by far the most important component. It’s like the subject line of an email. Based on what is written decides whether or not you will open it, read it then act on it or simply send it on its merry way to the delete file. The same concept is true for public relations. The audience will instantly know what they will do or what they are supposed to do if they understand the message. A poorly crafted message leads to well, the trash bin or worse yet, not read or not understood at all.
How many times have you gone to a movie where the character has gotten into a predicament with little to no idea of how to get out of it? Before you start yelling at the screen with helpful solutions, think about your own strategy. You’ve nailed the relevancy, crafted the message and identified the perfect audience. Great – now hit send and hope that whoever reads it will see it the same way you do. In a perfect world, that would work. In today’s world, there are massive numbers of individuals who have a different view and are not afraid to share it – instantly. Anticipate what direction your message will go with the audience you have selected. Good, bad or indifferent, thinking ahead of how to get out of a situation is much better than falling to a “no comment” or worse yet, no response scenario.
Bottom line is, ignoring the power and benefits of public relations is truly semantics but only if you harness it in your favor. To do so is to be relevant, have a clear message and be strategic. The rest is up to the theatre of public opinion.