Comprehensive course analysis
Who should attend
- Communications professionals
- Current or aspiring public relations professionals
About the course
How your organization represents itself to the outside world can make or break your brand, creating a unique demand for skilled public relations professionals with the ability to develop strategic communications.
Whether you are preparing a speech, speaking to the media, or navigating a crisis, this certificate program will prepare you to deliver effective messages both internally and externally. Through the coursework, you will study a rigorous eight-step process for building a communications plan that you can measure and evaluate against critical business objectives. You’ll also have the opportunity to discover best practices to use when collaborating with PR agencies to maximize communications impact. By the end of the program, you will have mastered the ability to create and implement an effective PR strategy that aligns your efforts with the goals of your organization.
Communicating with the Media
You don't need to be the world's most polished public speaker in order to be successful at conducting media interviews on behalf of an organization. All you need to do is approach the task by planning, preparing, and practicing. In this course, you will examine strategies for engaging the media with confidence, comfort, and control while promoting your story. You will investigate key strategies for crafting effective messages that preserve your purpose and prevent manipulation of intent. You will examine ways to optimize any media interview and use it as an opportunity to tell your story. By the end of this course, you will not only be able to hold your own in an interview, but also remain calm and collected when challenging situations arise.
Strategic PR Planning
All enterprises are governed by numbers; most managers and clients use data every day. Public relations propels those numbers, making PR a business necessity rather than a nice-to-have enhancement. Communications professionals must therefore frame discussions around PR using business metrics developed through evidence-based plans, measurable evaluations, and calculated ROI. Students in this course will examine how "strategic PR" is all about crafting a precise plan to use public relations to achieve organizational goals.
In this course, you will learn that to be successful, you need to map out where your organization is headed in terms of business goals, how PR is going to help you get there, and who your audience is for your PR efforts. You will follow a recommended eight-step plan for building a communications strategy consisting of clearly articulated steps for creating an evidence-based approach to public relations that can help impact your organization's bottom line. By the end of this course, you will be able to devise, measure, and evaluate your PR strategy.
Hiring and Managing PR Agencies
You always need public relations for one critical reason: PR drives sales. But do you have to hire an external PR agency? Can you afford it? How do you choose one? How do you compare requests for proposals from different agencies? And once you've hired an agency, how can you get the greatest value for your spend?
This course is designed to give people who are current or potential clients of external PR firms the skills they need to optimize their PR efforts. In this course, you will identify best practices for determining whether to use external resources, for vetting potential agencies, and for hiring and managing those agencies. As the client, you will always have a finite marketing budget, but you can use best practices to yield the greatest value from the portion of it that you're spending with an agency. You will discover a simple calculation to determine whether you can afford a PR firm now; and if you can't afford one now, you will identify concrete steps you can take towards that goal. Through this course, you will determine how to best leverage a PR agency.
Communication Planning for Change
The ability to effectively communicate about change in an organization is essential for success. Change is inevitable and people will be affected by it to varying degrees — even by positive change — so it's important to be able to communicate clearly. In this course, you will explore the different ways change can impact people, how communication can alleviate negative reactions, and how to work with resistance to change. You will be introduced to formal communication plans, identifying the kinds of change that require documented plans and establishing the appropriate internal and external audiences that must be considered. You will then define the communication objectives for each audience, identifying their needs and discovering that each audience is distinct and may need different information at different times. Lastly, you will examine message strategy and timing, determining the content of the message, the forms of media that should be used for delivery, when to communicate with each audience, who the messenger will be, and the types of reactions to expect so that negative reactions can be effectively addressed and positive reactions can be encouraged.
A crisis can have a tremendous impact on the people involved and on an organization's performance and reputation, so it's important to communicate effectively in order to minimize negative consequences. Preparing for a crisis through the creation and ongoing analysis of a crisis communication plan can help minimize negative reactions and fallout. In this course, you will define crisis, paracrisis, and the goals of crisis communication. You will share your own experiences and practice identifying potential crises, creating a crisis communication plan, choosing a crisis communication team, and evaluating the plan.
A key component of preparing for a crisis is crafting messages for internal and external stakeholders. Messages must be quick, consistent, and open, and preparing initial statements ahead of time will help leaders and spokespersons communicate effectively during a crisis. You will examine the content of effective initial statements with the opportunity to review real-life examples, evaluating them for quality and success. You will practice addressing difficult questions and criticisms, exploring acceptable and graceful responses.
Once the crisis is over, it's important to review what worked well, what didn't, and to update the crisis communication plan for next time. Reflecting on a real life example, you will evaluate the response to the crisis and the crisis communication plan itself.
Key course takeaways
- Engage the media with confidence, comfort, and control while promoting your story
- Create an evidence-based PR strategy that supports your organization’s goals
- Manage PR agency relationships to maximize benefits for your organization
- Create a communication plan to support organizational change
- Communicate during a crisis to maintain or rebuild your organization’s reputation
Biography Theomary Karamanis is an international award-winning communication professor and consultant, specializing in management and leadership communications, strategic communication, risk and crisis communication, and health communication. She is currently a senior lecturer of management commu...
Amy Newman is a senior lecturer of management communication at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. She teaches the core undergraduate and graduate communication courses and an elective, Corporate Communication. Newman is author of Business Communication: In Person, In Print, Online (Cenga...
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