The field of public relations encompasses all the forms of writing that we have examined so far in this book — and then some. The chief idea of this chapter is to impress upon students the versatility in writing that a public relations practitioner must possess. Most of the work of the public relations practitioner involves writing, and it is rare that only one kind of writing is required.
Two of the newest ways for organizations to communicate with their publics is through email and the Web. Public relations practitioners will have to become adept at composing email messages and at understanding the functions and purposes of a website. They may be required to learn enough of the computer language to build or add to a website.
Key terms and concepts
The following are some key terms and concepts about public relations and public relations writing that the student should understand as he or she works through this chapter:
Publics — The PR writers must think in terms of “publics,” the groups to whom he or she may be directing a communication.
Four-step process of public relations — These four steps include planning, research, communication, and evaluation. Any public relations campaign, large or small, involves these four steps to some degree. In some organizations, this is an elaborate process, while in others the process is fairly informal, but it occurs no matter where the campaign is taking place.
News release — The good news release is essentially a good news story in a public relations suit.
Intents and purposes — Like the advertising copywriter, the PR writer must have a good idea what the writing he or she produces is supposed to do. The intent of the writing must be firmly in mind as the writer begins the project. Otherwise, the writing will be inefficient and ineffective. Intents and purposes are discussed in some detail in the “Letters” section of the chapter, but they apply to other parts of it as well.
Links and resources
How to write a press release. Discover how to deliver news to the media. The site covers details such as formatting, common errors and guidelines to make news releases worthwhile for the media.
PR News Blog. Check out the PR News Blog for some advice on writing and other information about the field of public relations.
Public Relations Society of America. One of the major professional organizations in the field of public relations is the Public Relations Society of America. it has a very helpfulwebsite. The site has a vast number of resources for the public relations student and professional. A companion site is the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). This site has a job bank and other resources for those interested in entering the field.