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Since this is a main source of communication for PR professionals it is important to be as efficient and effective as possible.
E-mail allows professionals to speed up decisions making, send to multiple people, and send important documents more quickly than mail.
A memo is a brief written message that can serve many different communication purposes to get a point across.
Letters are best to communicate any message that needs to have a public record.
Here are some tools to manage communication overload:
- Completeness – a message must contain enough information to serve its purpose.
- Conciseness – no one wants to take an hour to read a message; keep it to the point.
- Correctness – accuracy is key.
- Courtesy – you are writing personal messages, so be personal.
- Responsibility – understand how you will be perceived by the audience.
Schools have now integrated new media into their curriculum. I am sure this class did not involve blogs or twitter five years a go. But now the class is completely online and my biggest project is this blog.
The world wide web and new media have changed public relations forever. PR professionals must use different techniques when writing for the web such as
- Define the website’s objective.
- Write for the proper audience.
- Constantly update!
- Make the site interactive.
- Allow and use feedback.
PR professionals need to also understand how to make the website. Here are some tips:
- Have a vision or objective for the site.
- Use a copy writer for the text.
- Use a graphic artist for the design.
- Use a computer programmer for the actual website code.
*Trust me I am in web page development now. If you need a programmer do not hesitate to get one. It is very difficult to learn how to program.
Remember to make the site interactive. I know you like commenting on blogs. So allow for people to comment on your website.
It is vitally important for PR professionals to keep good relationships with journalists. Here are some ways to work with journalists.
- Media Interviews – some advice interview the journalist first and remember to keep all the answers connected to your key message.
- News Conferences – may be used when a person of importance comes to town or when a matter of public concern needs to be explained.
- Media Tours – involves traveling do different cities to speak to the media.
- Preview or Party – for the opening of a new facility, the launch of a new product, or announcement of a new promotion.
PR professionals need the media to relay information about their organizations they represent to the public. This chapter discusses different methods to distribute to the media.
Tip Sheets – weekly newsletters which contain changes in assignments, how to contact the media and material the media is looking for.
Email – this is self-explanatory. However, remember to avoid spam, keep it short and concise, use a pertinent subject line and provide links.
Photo placement firms – specialize in distributing photos to the media.
Feature placement firms – specialize in creating the feature pieces. They include entire layouts with graphics.
With a change in media PR professionals also have to change their tactics. This chapter discussed ways to write for broadcast media. You must think of all the different elements involved: the sound, picture quality. There is a big difference between reading something on paper and hearing it or watching it.
PR professionals also use different tools:
- Radio news release — similar to a press release, but in a more conversational tone.
- Audio news release — incorporates multimedia such as sound clips.
- Public service announcement (PSA) — written depending on how long it takes to say out loud. Uses simple conversational language to get the point across.
A picture says a thousand words. With newer technology the public demands better quality pictures and videos in the media. This can make things tricky for a PR professional. Here are a few things to take into consideration when dealing with pictures and graphics.
- to enhance a tall building height shoot upward
- try different angles to give different points of view such as aerial view
- to capture a 180 degree angle us a fish-eye lens
- Be sure to emphasize detail
- Don’t have too much going on in the shot. Take out things that are not relevant.
- Frame the picture appropriately.
Finding Photographers (Questions to ask)
- Can you show me examples of similar works you have shot?
- What contracts do you have with the media?
- Can you help me distribute the pictures through the media?
- Do you shoot digital?
- Make sure you know what you want to capture with the pictures.
- Plan ahead. Know where you want everyone before you start.
- Let people know who or who will no be in the photo.
- Pick an appropriate professional looking location.
Graphics and pictures can be fun. With today’s technology they are also easily manipulated. Try to remember to be ethical. Do not choose pictures that are altered or distort reality. Pictures can be falsifying, but they should tell the truth not a manipulated version fo the truth.
Feature stories have a different style then hard news stories. Feature stories do not have to be written in the inverted pyramid formula. They can be written in a more flexible formula. Often in a feature story, the writer will want to include a bio of a specific person involved in the story instead of a traditional summary lead. This allows for readers to relate to the story by relating of feeling for the person in the story. Here are some tips for writing a good feature story.
- give a human dimension for situations and events
- give background about the organizations so the reader knows about the actual organization involved in the story
- generate publicity for standard products and services
- provide behind the scenes prospective
These types of stories need good headlines. Unlike a hard news story the reader cannot just skim the first two paragraphs to know everything about the topic. Therefore a headline must persuade a reader to read the entire story. The headline must be informational, but it also must raise curiosity about the topic. The headline must entice the reader.
This chapter describes four basic tools PR professionals use to get stories out to the media.
- Fact Sheets: short description an event, organization or new product that gives the journalist the most important information about the topic
- Media Advisory: (AKA Media Alerts) used to tell editors about an upcoming event. It contains the most important information about the topic using the five w’s. It also suggest possible pictures, video clips and interviews.
- Electronic Press Kits: It is a media kit that is prepared digitally either on a cd or a company’s website. Since it is digital, it allows PR professionals to add high-resolution videos, pictures and sound bites.
- Media Kit: used to present an idea or new product to the media with materials: news release, photograph, feature stories, fact sheets, position papers, backgrounds and brief biological sketches.
- Pitch letters: letters used to convince editors or journalists to write about a certain topic. Pitch letter must be written to the correct audience the editor with newsworthy information.
A news release allows PR professionals to get their stories out to the media. The news release puts the information in a format that editors can easily understand. The news release is even written just like a news story. Some news releases might even be put directly in the paper as a story with few to no changes.
When planning a news release be sure to answer these questions:
- What is the subject of the message? What is the focus?
- Who is the message designed for?
- What do you want to achieve.
- What goal is the organization pursuing; what is the purpose?
- What is in it for this particular audience? Potential benefits/rewards?
- What key messages should be highlighted in the news release?
Like I mentioned earlier a news release is written in the same format as the news story. This is usually inverted pyramid. The most important information comes at the beginning of the story. Here are six basic components of a news release:
- letterhead – the companies logo for instance
- contacts – who to contact to get more information about the news release
- headline – a catchy title
- dateline – date
- lead paragraph – the most important information (a summary lead most often)
- body of text – some more basic information about the topic descending in order of importance
This chapter has to do with making, finding and creating the news for the media. Journalists look for different attributes that make a story newsworthy. As aspiring PR professionals it is important to know what journalists look for in order to make our stories newsworthy.
Here are eight different things that journalists believe make a story newsworthy:
- Proximity – location
- Prominence – celebrities get more attention
- Signifigance – is the story relevant
- Timeliness – write about what just happened
- Human Interest
PR professionals must appeal to the newsworthy attributes. PR professionals can use these avenues to find newsworty events:
- product demonstrations
This can be a hard process for PR professionals. PR professionals should make sure they know what is newsworthy, and who to send the news to. Creating relationships with local media channels such as the local newspaper is a great way to get your story the attention it deserves.