Getting Organized for Writing

Chapter 1- Getting Organized for Writing (pgs 1-33)

Author: Dennis L. Wilcox

Book: Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques,  Sixth Edition

Writing is only one component

  1. The primary focus of this book is the writing and distribution of messages in a variety of formats and media channels.
  • Public relations is composed of four things: research, planning, communication & evaluation.

Writers as Communication Techniques

  1. Public Relations writers are responsible for: implementing tactics of a campaign or program. They are the “production” staff who write the news releases, formulate the feature stories, and contact the television show producer to make a “pitch” for the company’s spokesperson.
  2. The concept of public relations roles are: 1) the expert prescriber– consultants to top management for strategic planning, 2) the communication facilitator– primarily the liaison between the organization and it public, 3) the problem solving facilitator– works with management to solve current problems in a process oriented way, and 4) the communication technician– practitioners who provide technical services such as news releases writing, event planning, and graphic design.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS: Writing is One of Five Skills

(As said in class and on page 3 of this book)

  • Knowledge of public relations
  • Knowledge of currents events
  • Knowledge of Business
  • Knowledge of management

    The public relations writer differ from journalist such as; objectives, audiences, and channels.

  • Objectives: A journalist is hired by a news organization to gather, process, and synthesize information for the primary purpose of providing news to the organizations subscribers, viewers, or listeners.  The public relations writer, in contrast, is usually employed by an organization that wants to communicate with a variety of audiences, either through the news media or through other channels of communication.
  • The writers purpose is advocacy, not objectivity. The goal is not only to accurately inform,  but also to persuade and motivate.
  • Rhetoric-the ability to determine what needs to be said, and how it should be said to achieve desired outcomes.  (Artistoles definition)
  • Professor Robert Heath says Rhetoric is ” the ability and obligation to demonstrate to an audience  facts and arguments available to bring insight into an important issue.”
  • All public realtions wrting should begin with the question, ” How does this help the organization achieve its objectives?

AUDIENCES: who are readers, listeners, and viewers of the medium. Newspapers, magazines, radio, and television are usually defined as ” Mass media”, because the audience is numerous and anonymous and its members have little in common.

CHANNELS: Journalists primarily reach their audiences through one channel, the medium that publishers, broadcasters, or posts their work on the websites. The most effective channel or the tailored message is direct mail, pamphlets, an organizational newsletter, a videotape, a poster, a special event, or even the Internet via online newsletters, chat groups, websites blogs, podcast, or even e-mail.

Preparation for Writing

  • Computers– the most important piece of equipment in a public relations office. Microsoft Office is popular package for public relations writers because it offers programs that make it possible to complete a variety of tasks.
  • Reference Sources– a reference library is a must for any writer. Basic sources should be part of your own library.
  • Encyclopedia– most popular reference source is now Wikipedia.
  • Dictionary– most common reference book is an up to date dictionary, may writers keep a paperback version handy
  • Stylebook– a writers reference library should contain several books stylebooks, most journalist has these
  • Media Dictionaries– important to have lists of publications, names of editors, and addresses readily available.
  • Internet Groups & Blogs- up to date information on public relations and media techniques can also be gained via the Internet.
  • Current Events & Trends– writing starts with a creative idea and a good understanding.

Quick TERMS:

RESEARCH– the essential first step to any public relations writing task is the gathering of information

Browsers– software programs , enable you to view documents created specifically for the Internet’s World Wide Web and other Internet services.

Search Engines– are essential to finding information about virtually any subject on the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Politically correct– beyond avoidance of stereotypes

Outlining the Purpose

Some key questions that one should ask while writing by Kerry Tucker & Doris Derelian are (more quest. on page 19):

  1. What is the desired communications outcome?
  2. What is our target audience? Defining your audience in terms of age, gender, and educational level helps set the framework of the message.
  3. What is our message?
  4. Who is our most believable spokesperson?

SENTENCES:  should be clear and concise.

Communication Briefings– compiled a list of word savers that can help keep sentences concise and on course.


Examples of a sentence using active voice, is also more direct and usually shorter than a passive sentence.
  • Original statement– the annual report produced a disappointed reaction among the board of directors
  • Revised statement– the annual report disappointed the board of directors
  • Original statement– Our consultants can assist you in answering questions about floor treatments
  • Revised statement– Our consultants can answer your floor treatment questions.


  • Be clear, use action verbs, apply active voice, avoid jargon, focus on people, don’t neglect the first paragraph, include quotes, write with your ear, allow yourself to write crap, and take chances.


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