Chapter 1 Reading Notes

Reading notes chap. 1 PR writing


  • The preparation of messages for distribution is only one part of the public relations process
  • Public relations is composed of 4 core components: research, planning, communication, and evaluation.
  • Public relations writers also fulfill the “technician” roles


  • There are 4public relations roles:

1) the expert prescriber- consultants to top management for strategic planning

2)the communication facilitator- primarily the liaison between the organization and its public

3) the problem-solving facilitator-  works with management to solve current problems in a process-oriented way

4) the communication technician- practitioners who provide technical services such as news release writing, event planning, and graphic design.

  • It’s more useful to simply distinguish between managers and technicians
  • The total framework of public relations  is much more than just “press releases”
  • Fraser Seitel agrees that knowledge of communications, and particularly writing skills, is a basic skill in public relations work
  • He also says PR practitioners are professional communicators. Communications is their skill. So that means they have to be the best writers, speakers, media experts, communication theorists, etc.
  • There are four other basic skills that are necessary for success in public relations

1) knowledge of public relations

2) knowledge of current events

3) knowledge of business

4) knowledge of management

  • Newspapers, magazines, radio, and television are usually defined as “mass media”
  • Public relations writers need a workspace that includes a computer, printer, internet access, and a reference library
  • Computers  are the most important pieces of equipment
  • a reference library is a must for all writers
  • the key point is to have references that quickly give you instant access to a body of knowledge and enable you to confirm basic factual information
  • encyclopedias, dictionaries, stylebooks, and media directories are all good things to have in a reference library
  • is the world’s most popular reference source





  • An essential first step to any public relations writing task is the gathering of relevant information
  • Browsers and search engines are essential and useful when it comes to finding information about virtually any subject on the Internet and World Wide Web.
  • The most commonly used browser I Microsoft’s Internet Explorer
  • Google is the most widely used online search engine
  • It’s a good idea to use several search engines, because all of them have different strengths and weaknesses
  • The most important part of your search for information is choosing the right keywords

1) use uncommon words that identify your topic

2) use several keywords at a time, or even phrases

3)use synonyms

4) use connecting words such as AND, OR, or NOT


  • The ability to write well is essential for work in public relations
  • Before beginning any writing assignment, take the time to ask yourself some key questions. There are 6 basic questions:

1) What is the desired communication outcome? In other words, what do we want our audience to do or not do?

2)Who is our target audience? Defining your audience in terms of age, gender, and educational level helps set the framework of the message.

3) What are our target audience’s needs, concern, and interests?

4) What is our message? Do you want to inform or persuade?

5) What communication channel is most effective?

6)Who is our most believable  spokesperson?

  • Sentences should be clear and concise
  • Short paragraphs are better than long ones
  • If your target audience is the general public, remember short simple words and vocabulary are better understood by the majority of readers
  • More complex words can be used if the target audience is well educated
  • Verbs vitalize your writing
  • Use of present tense also improves writing
  • Be clear
  • Use action verbs
  • Apply active voice, avoid writing in passive voice
  • Avoid jargon, don’t exclude readers by using words that are unfamiliar to them.
  • Focus on people
  • Strong visual descriptions are better than generalized statements
  • Use imagery!
  • Don’t neglect the first paragraph. An enticing first sentence or paragraph attracts readers.
  • Include quotes
  • Write with your ear. In other words read your work out loud to hear what actually works in terms of rhythm and pacing.
  • Allow yourself to freewrite to get your ideas down. Then go back to clean it up
  • Take chances
  • Avoid spelling errors
  • Avoid poor sentence structure
  • Check spelling, but also check the definition of words. Don’t use wrong words!
  • Avoid redundancy
  • Use numbers and statistics sparingly
  • Avoid bias and stereotypes

Source: Public Relations Writing And Media Techniques 6th edition By: Dennis L. Wilcox


~ by necottom on January 25, 2010.

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