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  1. 1. PRX The Mother of All Toolkits Texas Library Association, April 2006 FOREWORD Public relations is a broad component of any organization’s communications strategy and is the one that can most explicitly shape the message and What exactly is perceptions of key audiences. The TLA PR R Toolkit is a series of planning X PR R ? X guides, how-to’s, examples, and templates that can be used immediately by all types and sizes of libraries and library support groups. The toolkit is intended to provide hands-on instruction while referencing other, high quality resources for an additional look at particular topics. The PR R Toolkit evolved from a discussion among several TLA members following the Rally X for Texas Libraries held on the steps of the Capitol in Austin in 2005. Librarians and library supporters were commenting on the convergence of so many aspects of public relations: media involvement, special events planning, advocacy, public Why PR R ? X awareness, and passion. Librarians noted that our professional literature is filled with examples and toolkits for all sorts of communications activities — some very detailed, some very brief. The difficulty seemed to be finding a middle range: a toolkit that provided a basic framework but that had lots of examples and immediately usable content, and one that provided quick references to existing materials and did not “recreate the wheel.” The PR R Toolkit frames the communications discussion by focusing on the three main external X audiences: the press, public, and decision makers. Of course, communications with any one of these audiences will likely involve and affect one or both of the others. Some of the strategies applicable to one type of audience, like good interview techniques when dealing with reporters, also apply to dealing with decision makers and answering questions in public forums. The toolkit is organized into four main sections: 1) The Basics, which covers communications plans, volunteers, and electronic PR resources; 2) The Press, which focuses on preparing communications to press, going to the media for coverage, and How is PR R X dealing with the press during a crisis; 3) The Public, which covers strategies different? for special events planning and taking the library message out the public through speaking at public forums; and 4) Decision Makers, which addresses How is it the formal and informal means of communicating with and persuading policy organized? makers about library issues. Each section begins with a brief introduction and concludes with referrals to other resources and credits for special authorship or reference
  2. 2. materials used. The bulk of each section consists of brief planning documents, guides, checklists of activities, and samples and templates. The full toolkit is available from TLA’s website at www.txla.org/html/toolkit/. Where is Members of the TLA Task Force on Special Initiatives are charged with reviewing the toolkit and updating the content of the website. We ask that, as you develop your public available? relations efforts, you please submit campaign information, letters, press releases, speeches, and anything you would care to share. We will make that information available to your Texas colleagues so that we can all learn from each other’s successes and build a centralized warehouse of best practices. When this toolkit was first conceived, planners considered the best way to customize the toolkit to specific library types and library sizes. After considerable discussion with librarians and friends groups, we determined to provide a grid of the topics that would prove most relevant to different stakeholder groups. As we solicit and receive feedback, reports, and case studies from the field, we can enhance the toolkit by providing examples under each section that are specific to various library types. This area —real-life Texas examples — is perhaps one of the most exciting components of the toolkit. In essence, we will look to our colleagues to provide us with continued inspiration, sound advice, and successful PR activities. Whether you are an academic library director wanting to find some quick What can I resources for staff working on library events or whether you are preparing for a use? television interview on library matters, we hope you will find many elements of this toolkit useful for you and your library staff. If you are a school librarian who normally does not handle PR events — that’s a district duty — but you want to promote certain library activities during parent open house or you want to write a letter to the editor about library funding, you will find examples and how-to’s in this guide. If you are a public librarian in a small library planning a first-time strategy for increasing your budget or library director of a large institution wanting to schedule an editorial board visit to garner support for a new library building, you will find help in this toolkit. If you are president of a friends group and need to train your members and assign them tasks, you will find many resources here. If you are a special librarian and need some tips on approaching decision-makers for increased funding or a shift in policy, this toolkit offers help. We created the “What can I use?” grid on page X to help provide you with some suggestions for topics that might be of the greatest relevance to you, depending on the size and type of your library or support group. These suggestions are not meant to be exhaustive or proscriptive. As we all know, the situation in the field is very dynamic. Some smaller libraries have several staff people and volunteers who may share PR duties and have a good grasp of PR elements; some large libraries may have had to cut PR positions and must now find ways of training volunteers or existing staff to take on some of these duties. Whatever your library situation may be, we have developed this toolkit to offer a broad array of resources. If you find a topic that should be included, let us know. This toolkit has been created as a starting point, and we hope to grow it with the needs of our members. TLA PR Rx Toolkit, page ii
  3. 3. Table of Contents Section I: The Basics 1-10 Sample Communications Plan 2-3 Mission Statement Key Messages Audiences Communications Goals Strategies Tactics Evaluation Utilizing Volunteers to Help with PR 4-5 Using Electronic Communications to Bolster PR Efforts 6-8 Web Event PR Venues Good Elements, Bad Elements Good Elements-Planning Bad Elements-Planning How to Recommendations 10 Big Ideas for Promoting Libraries 9-10 Resources and Subsection Credits 10 Section II: The Press 11-37 News Releases 12-15 What to Include Sample Letters to the Editor 16 Considerations Sample Letters Guest Columns/Editorials 17-19 Considerations Sample Outline Sample How to Create a Media Lists 20 Free Resources Who to Contact Editorial Board Meetings 21-22 Requesting a Meeting Roles and Preparation Tips on Participants’ Roles Following the Meeting How to Cultivate Relationships with Media 23 What NOT to Do Table of Contents Continued TLA PR Rx Toolkit, page iii
  4. 4. Using Media Relations Tools: How and When 24-25 Pitch Letter Media Alerts Fact Sheets Biographies Backgrounder FAQs Sample Media Training 26-27 Interview Do’s and Don’ts Interview Techniques Issues Management 28-29 Messaging Crisis Management 29-36 Crisis Communications Responsibility What Is a Crisis? Risk Assessment Potential Crises Crisis Communications Team Media Training for Spokespeople Placeholder Statements Samples Crisis Team Procedures Emergency Management Team Technology Using Human Resources and Legal Counsel Media Contact Worksheet Resources and Subsection Credits 37 Section III: The Public 38-49 Planning Special Events 39-45 Planning Team Mission, Goals, Strategies, and Outcomes Timeline Benchmarks Checklists Budget Communication List Logistics Questions Marketing and PR Evaluations Thanks Table of Contents Continued TLA PR Rx Toolkit, page iv
  5. 5. Speakers Bureaus 45-48 What Is a Speaker’s Bureau Purpose Key Elements Topics Clarity of Purpose How to Support and Prepare Speakers Resources and Subsection Credits 49 Section IV: Decision Makers 50-67 Communicating in Writing 51-55 Emailing vs. Letters Who Are You Addressing Your users Setting Priorities Show the Crisis Show Success Checklist Templates and Samples Communicating in Person 56-63 Appointments Scheduling Who to Talk to Assumptions about Decision Makers Be Targeted Outcomes Get Others to Argue Your Points Follow Up Negotiate Questions and Scripts Testimony Samples Building Relationships 64-65 Tips Climate Be Reasonable Contacts Outcomes State Employee Guide 66 Resources and Subsection Credits 67 Acknowledgements 68 TLA PR Rx Toolkit, page v

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