Erika Brewington’s Blog

How to Write…PR Style

Today in my PR class, we talked about the importance of writing in the PR profession. This lecture was based on Chapter 14 in our book Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron. Professor Nixon gave additional information regarding this chapter and it was so much easier for me to grasp the concepts that are discussed. Here are some points that Professor Nixon stressed in class that I found most helpful:

The first PR council was created by Ivy Lee, who is often referred to as the first PR practitioner.

Press releases are more commonly being called news releases, because “press” refers to “newspaper,” and there are many different mass media outlets being used today to relay messages to editors, reporters, and journalists. When writing a news release, it is the hope of the PR practitioner that it will be published by means of a mass media channel, including television, the Internet, radio, or newspaper.

Reporters rely on news releases because the information has already been gathered by the PR practitioner. This saves the reporter time because it is impossible for them to cover every event that is newsworthy at one time. Although the news release contains all of the information the reporter needs to write the story, it will most likely be changed to avoid advertisement and other information that is not needed, and the author of the news release is never guaranteed any type of recognition.

When writing a news release, the PR practitioner will usually being by using the inverted pyramid writing approach which contains the most important information at the top (who, what, where, when, why, and how), followed by all other details.

A fact sheetis created so editors, journalists, and reporters can easily write or research the organization. Fact sheets may resemble cliff notes, and will almost always include:

  1. The organizations full name
  2. The products and services offered
  3. An approximate annual revenue
  4. The organization’s position in relevance to the industry (i.e.  #1 in the flooring industry)
  5. The number of employees
  6. Information on top executives; including biography
  7. What markets the organization serves

Media kits or press kits are prepared by the PR practitioner for major events that an organization holds. Media kits and press kits will almost always include:

  1. A story (using the inverted pyramid)
  2. A fact sheet
  3. A feature story (usually longer and read for enjoyment)
  4. Basic brochures
  5. Background information on the event
  6. Photos
  7. Biographies on the spokesperson(s) or celebrities that will be in attendance

A pitch is an attempt by the PR practitioner to convince and persuade the editor, journalist, or reporter to use information on an organization by selling that it is newsworthy. This is usually done in a letter and is more personal.

At the end of the lecture, Professor Nixon stressed the importance of ALWAYS saving any work that you do in several different places to assure that you always have another copy. This lecture was very helpful because Professor Nixon was able to give us first-hand experience. Also, I was able to understand what I read in the chapter much more as she described these writing tools to our class in detail.


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