Ch 6: Preparing Fact Sheets, Advisories, Media Kits and Pitches

With public relations being so competitive, it is extremely important to be able to be the one that stands out. Creativity, organization, knowledge and great writing skills are a must.

Public relations professionals produce information for the media, which includes press releases, fact sheets, advisories, media kits and pitches. All of these PR tasks need to be noticed out of the other hundreds an editor receives a day.

It’s important, when producing information to an editor to be creative. Using catchy headlines and subject lines is a way to draw attention to your work. If your pitch doesn’t seem interesting from the subject line of an email, I can assure you that the person you are trying to reach will not even give the pitch a chance.

Organization is also important. Most fact sheets and advisories have somewhat of a format to follow. To ensure the reporter understands your material, I think it would be a good idea to follow general guidelines.

Knowledge is a must. You must know important information needed when attempting to make any kind of news worthy publication. Also, when producing a pitch, it’s important to be knowledgeable with the “publications style, format, readership, deadlines, and regular features” of the particular publisher (p. 154).

Again, I cannot stress enough; writing skills need to be fabulous. Over and over again I hear how substantial writing is in the field of PR. But, it’s true. PR revolves around writing. PR professionals produce press releases, fact sheets, media advisories and so much more.

In conclusion, a PR professional must be creative, organized, knowledgeable and a great writer.

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Brainstorming for the Bridal Show

Have you ever looked forward to work? Each year, there are two extremely exciting events that I love. Everything from the days of planning to the very day is a delight.

This event I love so much is the Gateway Bridal Show. Jamie Lane, sales and marketing manager at Gateway Center, puts on the bridal show. Each year she titles me as the bridal show assistant to help her with this big, yet thrilling event.

Considering that this event brings excitement to my life, I’ve decided to produce a press release for the show. I’ve been trying to think of an actual event that is coming up which has relevance to myself.

At Gateway Center, my workplace, we hold a Bridal Show in-house twice a year, once in January and another in July. The January show is this Thursday, so I do not have the time to have a press release published before the show.

Therefore, I am planning to produce my press release this week and hold on to it until July in efforts to get it published for the summer show. This show needs more publicity anyways considering the January show always has more vendors and participants.

For my press release, my target audience will be brides, of course. I will tell about the variety of vendors, the cake dive, the fashion show, and other exciting aspects of the bridal show.

For all of my blog readers who may be getting married in the near future, I’d like to give you some general information for the upcoming show.

Gateway Bridal Show is held on January 26, 2012 from 5-9pm. Brides get in free of cost and general admission is $5. There will be many vendors who are able to personalize your wedding. The show features florists, reception sites, catering, dress boutiques, DJ services, decorators, and much more!

For more information, please visit http://gatewaycenter.com/bridal-show.html.

Ch 5: Writing the News Release

In my own words, a news release is a ‘straight to the point’ document about an announcement, a spot announcement, a reaction story, bad news, or local news with intentions to be published. You would think a news release detailing information on these types of areas would be an easy task. Well, think again.

News releases take a lot of time and effort if you ever want to see it in a newspaper, magazine, or on the TV news station. Each news release produced should include a standard format, offer interesting information and it must be given in a timely manner.

A news release should be typed on letterhead with contact information, a headline, date, lead paragraph and body of text. Sometimes a news release also has a paragraph at the end that introduces the company.

Each component of the document has certain criteria to ensure the standard format. For example, the lead paragraph should be less than 5 lines, declarative sentences and should summarize the most important purpose.

The lead paragraph will either make or break the news release. It will be the deciding factor of publication from the editor or reporter.

From the reading, I learned that between 55-97 percent of news releases sent were never used. To me, this means it is very important to follow this chapters advice when producing a news release.

Ch 4: Finding and Making News

A public relations professional does more than writing. This chapter explains how PR professionals need to be able to generate publicity. Below, I have come up with a top 10 list from the chapter.

Top 10 finds about public relations:                                                     

  1. Top 10 lists is a tactic for generating news along with: special events, contests, polls and surveys, stunts, product demonstrations, rallies and protests, personal appearances, and awards.
  2. Public relations writer is generally referred to as a publicist.
  3. Publicists must be creative.
  4. Publicists must be problem solvers.
  5. Timeliness, prominence, proximity, significance, unusualness, human interest, conflict and newness are the news values needed for a publicist to attract the media gatekeeper’s attention.
  6. To do research on an organization, one should seek important papers, periodicals, clipping files and other published materials, which is all internal news sources.
  7. You should become a “media junkie” by utilizing external news sources.
  8. Be open-minded.
  9. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm!
  10. It’s public relation professionals job to generate publicity.

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Ch 3: The Basics of Public Relations Writing

This chapter is all about the law and protecting people rights. When working in the public relations field, I think it would be best to have a lawyer to go to when dealing with topics that could possibly get you into trouble.

Some issues I still find confusing such as fair comment defense. The way I understood this matter is that if making a critical comment about someone or a company, using the facts, your own opinion and stating that it is your opinion, you will not be sued.

Lessons learned from Chapter 3:

– An interesting find in this chapter is that most works published in the US before 1923 are in the public domains. If created between 1923 and 1963 it is in public domain if copyright was not renewed. Federal government materials can be used freely. For any other copyright material to be used, permission is needed.

– The protection of trademarks include that they are proper adjectives, are capitalized, followed by generic noun or phrase, should not be plural or possessive and are not verbs.

© is the copyright symbol in a copyright notice

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Chapter 2: Becoming a Persuasive Writer

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I never realized how important persuasion is when referring to PR. I see now that many jobs a PR professional encounters will deal a lot with credible persuasion to the public.

I’d say persuasion is not one of my top strengths. After reading this chapter, I hope to put the eight factors to the test to better my ability in this area.

I found this chapter to be so interesting, because it ties into the theories class I had last semester. While I was in that class, the theories made complete sense, but I never realized how they would relate to my major. For example, take cognitive dissonance theory where people already have their own bias toward a situation. I, as a PR professional, would  have to come up with a persuasive strategy to change those people’s assumptions toward the issue.

Being able to join past and present information together makes the overall picture much clearer!

Chapter 1: Getting Organized for Writing

After taking a public relations course, it’s obvious that this profession surrounds itself with writing. Chapter 1 stresses the importance of writing. Formulating and maintaining blogs and other social media, press releases, media advisories, e-letters, and other related tasks are an essential component to public relations which all includes writing. I know, while I am at SIUE I need to focus on writing as much as possible in order to succeed in the future.

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This chapter also brings up some interesting facts. According to AP style, the following words are only correctly written if they look like the following: BlackBerry, blog, and e-mail.  Until now, I was not aware that these words were written in this exact way. It seems to me that I need an AP style book pronto!

Notes to self:

–       Become better informed about current events.

–       Read more novels, especially award-winning stories.

–       Shorten and simplify words, sentences, and paragraphs to ensure better understanding for readers.

–       Lastly, purchase an AP style book!