Effective dissemination of information involves hard work, an ability to write, a sense of timing, some luck, and a capacity to keep things in perspective. More specifically, I think success in publicity and public relations depends on an ability to keep the following considerations or groups of considerations in mind on a regular basis:
1. What is the message or information to be conveyed?
2. Why should this information be shared with others?
What are the real motivations behind the desire to communicate it?
3. What audiences could this information be transmitted to? Which should it go to preferably?
4. What is the best medium to transmit the information? Which other media may also be effective?
5. To what degree are intermediaries required to deliver this information? What are the chances of their misediting the material? Are the risks of a foul-up worth the potential benefits of sending the information through second or third parties?
6. When is the best time to disseminate the material?
7. Can the effectiveness of this campaign be assessed for each target audience? If so, how? If not, why?
Communication is a tremendously complex process. No two people perceive the world in exactly the same manner—nor do they encode or decode messages identically (see Bugenthal et al., 1970). Indeed, the subtleties of communication are so fine that even the most carefully constructed message runs definite risks as it is transmitted from one person to another (see Knapp, 1972). In short, we should probably always assume that others will interpret our message somewhat differently from the way in which we intend it to be received.