Chapter 14 Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals

  • Keep your messages short, sweet and to the point.
  • Emails can be overwhelming using wikis, text messages, RSS, and applications such as Twitter to reduce the flow.
  • Email is low cost but it is not substitutable for a replacement for personal one on one communication.
  • Email is less formal than a letter but more formal than a telephone call.
  • Business letters are personalized communication that should be well organized, concise, and to the point. They prevent misunderstanding and provide a record of an agreement or a transaction.
  • Proposals must follow a logical, well organized format. Prepared to convince management to make a decision about a contract or approve money and resources for a project.
  • A position paper or “white paper” gives the organization’s perspective on a particular trend or industry. Should begin with an executive summary or an overview so people can read the highlights in a few seconds.
  • Memos should be one page or less and state the key message immediately
    • Date
    • To
    • From
    • Subject
    • Message

April 20, 2010. Reading Notes. Leave a comment.

Chapter 12 Tapping the Web and New Media

Chapter 12 was about how the web and the new media work together. Writing for the web is different than writing on pen and paper. Writing for a home page is also different. When you are writing for your home page it is important to define the objective of the site and be sure that you are designing it with the correct audience in mind.

It is also important to make your websites interactive. The pull concept it a part of this. It is when people are actively searching for your site for answers. The opposite of this is the push concept. This is when information is delivered to you without you searching.

A good way to attract people to your sites is to use hyperlinks. If you site has many links, it will be more appealing to viewers and they will come to your site more often because it looks professional. Another important thing to have on your websites is a search engine. Search engines make it easier for viewers to find what they are looking for.

April 19, 2010. Reading Notes. Leave a comment.

Chapter 11 Getting Along with Journalists

A list of common sense guidelines:

  1. Know your media
  2. Limit your mailings
  3. Localize
  4. Send newsworthy information
  5. Practice good writing
  6. Avoid gimmicks
  7. Be environmentally correct
  8. Be available
  9. Get back to reporters
  10. Answer your own phone
  11. Be truthful
  12. Answer questions
  13. Avoid “off-the-cuff” remarks
  14. Protect exclusives
  15. Be fair
  16. Help photographers
  17. Explain
  18. Remember deadlines
  19. Praise good work
  20. Correct errors politely

Also, Gimmicks, such as T-shirts and coffee mugs, are not well received by reporters and editors.

For more information read  Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques (6th Ed.)

April 19, 2010. Reading Notes. Leave a comment.

Chapter 10 Distributing News to the Media

The five key components of an online newsroom are:

  1. Contact information
  2. Corporate background
  3. News releases and media kits
  4. Multimedia gallery
  5. Search capability


Media lists and e-mail addresses must be up-dated and revised on a regular basis

The vast majority of news releases and other press materials are now distributed via e-mail and through electronic news wires

Camera-ready features are widely used by news-papers and other media outlets because they reduce staff costs and fill space.

April 19, 2010. Reading Notes. Leave a comment.

Chapter 9 Writing for Radio and TV

1) I find it very interesting the way you are supposed to write all the things discussed in Chapter 9. It’s all uppercase and double spaced, much different from the way I am used to writing things. I mean the double space thing is normal for me, but uppercase and bold faced words are all pretty new to me. This type of writing is a little uncomfortable for me.

2) For most PSA’s, the scripts are distributed so that it can be localized. They do this because people are more likely to respond to PSA’s that have a local telephone number instead of some 800 number that they can’t really reach. It’s always better to localize things of that nature. More people can relate.

3) Video news releases are not about publicity, per say. They are more about news and getting the information out there to people who want to hear about the news. They aren’t for advertising or anything flashy. They are simply there to give the people what they want.

April 19, 2010. Reading Notes. Leave a comment.

Chapter 8 Selecting Publicity Photos and Graphics

Photos and graphics add appeal and increase media usage of news releases or features. Digital cameras are now used for publicity photos. A public relations writer should be familiar with the elements of a good publicity photo: quality, subject matter, composition, action, scale, camera angle, lighting, and color. Publicity photos should be sharp, clear, and high contrast. Photos should also be creative. Your photos should always have three or four people in your photo, crop your photos to remover clutter and get a tighter focus on the main subject. Captions are short and are used in present tense to describe the action and provide context. The most important thing to remember is keep things organized.

April 19, 2010. Reading Notes. Leave a comment.

Chapter 7 Creating News Features

News features writing:

            Requires right brain thinking, intuition, image making, and conceptualization.

            Can generate publicity for “human” products and services.

            Features use “soft sell” approach, name of organization, the product or service.

            Photos and graphics are an integral part of a feature

Four approaches:

  1. Distribute a general feature to a variety of publications
  2. Write an exclusive article for a publication
  3. Interest a freelancer or reporter in writing a story
  4. Post feature articles on the organization’s website

Types of Features:

  1. Case study
  2. Application story
  3. Research study
  4. Backgrounder
  5. Personality profile
  6. Historical features

April 19, 2010. Reading Notes. Leave a comment.

Chapter 6 How to Write a Media Advisory

Create a Media Advisory Template

Step 1: Place your company’s logo at the top of the page, then hit “Enter” twice to drop down two lines.

Step 2: Type in all caps: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Drop down to the next line.

Step 3: Type the date, and then drop to the next line.

Step 4: Type your contact information, including your name, email address and phone number. Drop down two lines.

Step 5: Type in all caps: MEDIA ADVISORY. Bold and center this text then drop down two lines.

Step 6: Create a boilerplate at the bottom of the release. This is a short statement of facts about your company, generally not longer than three or four lines of text.

Write the Advisory Text

Step 1: Create a brief headline that describes the event. Center the headline in bold two lines below the “MEDIA ADVISORY” text.

Step 2: Write two or three short paragraphs describing the event. The first paragraph needs to capture the reporter’s attention, so make sure your lead is descriptive and catchy.

Step 3: Create a section at the end with a line for each of the following categories: who, what, why and when. Each category name should be bold and in all caps with the corresponding information typed normally.

Send the Advisory to the Reporter

Step 1: Send the advisory via email if at all possible, but fax is acceptable as well.

Step 2: Follow up with the reporter before the day of the event to see if she is planning to cover it.

March 10, 2010. Reading Notes. 2 comments.

10 Mistakes When Writing a News Release Chapter 5

You can find these tips and more in Public Relations Writing And Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox
From Alan Cruba

1. Failure to provide a headline
2. Boiler-plate
3. Spelling and grammatical errors
4. Punctuation errors
5. Hyperbole
6. Documentation
7. Contacts
8. Too long
9. Localize
10. Be accessible all the time. ANSWER THE PHONE!!

March 8, 2010. Reading Notes. Leave a comment.

Finding and Making News Chapter 4

Basic news values: 1. Timeless 2. Prominence 3. Proximity 4. Significance 5. Unusualness 6. Human interest 7. Conflict 8. Newness.

 *Timeliness: most important characteristic of news. News can be made timely in four ways.

*Prominence: events are rarely covered unless a prominent person with star power involved. Prominence is not restricted to people- it extends to organizations.

*Proximity: homeowners- tailored for an individual’s local news paper by emphasizing the local angle in the first paragraph. Whenever possible it is important to ‘localize’ information. Publicists should take the time and effort to include the names or local dealers, retailers, and other area reps for the news media serving a particular city.

*Significance: any situation that can affect a substantial number of people is significant. Be prepared when the journalist says ’so what?’

*Unusualness: anything out of the ordinary attracts press interest and public attention. PR efforts have to involve 4 elements the company wants the brand to convey: fun, project friendliness, resourcefulness, and imaginative.

 *Human interest: people like to read about other people. Interest in people is not restricted to celebs conflict: controversy creates news. Publicists should be aware of ongoing public issues and topics to determine which viewpoint should be publicized.

*Newness: ‘new and free’ most useful word.

February 16, 2010. Reading Notes. Leave a comment.

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