You have news to share—information that would benefit the Linux community. You have some idea of the people you want to reach with your news and views. Now the problem becomes: How to reach them in the most effective way? The better the communications between you and your audience, the higher the profile of your organization.
Generating publicity is not as complex as you might think. Most of the success of public relations centers on knowing what to do and when. Implementing these initiatives can dramatically increase awareness of your business.
Public relations (PR) is often confused with advertising, merchandising, promotion, or any of a dozen other buzz words in the marketing communications vocabulary. (By the way, marketing communications is a broad term that encompasses all of these disciplines.)
Public relations is about doing something newsworthy that you want to communicate, and then telling your audience (or very likely, several audiences) what you have done.
One of the most common public relations vehicles is the brief "New Product" announcement you see in magazines and trade publications. Often only a few lines or a paragraph in length, these announcements herald the launch of future products or services. These short announcements are typically triggered by a new product release, which may be accompanied by various forms of communications such as internal announcements to the organization's employees and external news releases to the media, stockholders, user community, and other groups. News releases trigger a chain of events that result in visibility.
There are some important terms that may help you understand public relations. News media refers to all the places where people read or hear about news, including newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and the Internet.
A news release, sometimes referred to as a press release, is a printed or electronic document issued by organizations who want to communicate news to editors, journalists, industry writers, or other media groups. Journalists write about the story for publication (if it is considered newsworthy), while editors control whether the story actually appears in a newspaper, magazine, website, or broadcast.
A news release contains important facts, quotes from key people, dates that the news happened (or will happen), and contacts for additional information. The news release is concise and usually runs no longer than two pages.
Public relations, then, can be thought of as the process that delivers your news to the people you want to reach through a broad, influential, and far-reaching news media community.