How is this semester already over? This last semester went by in the blink of an eye, but I have learned a whole lot. The best part is that since I am done with my general education classes, I have learned so much as a public relations student. I feel like my skills have strengthened and I am more confident in my decision to chase a career in the public relations field.
I was a little nervous about taking this course at first, especially because I took it online instead of in a normal classroom setting. However, I still learned a whole lot and I was very proud of all of the work I completed this semester.
I started off this semester not knowing much about what public relations writing would cover. Honestly, I did not realize how valuable it is to know how to write and write effectively in the public relations field.
We started off with a refresher on AP style and then from there on we kept moving forward: news releases, media advisories, media pitches, fact sheets, backgrounders, position papers, feature stories, op-eds, letter to the editors, PSAs and ended with writing captions. I had a very basic knowledge of how to write a news release before this class, but that was it. I seriously learned more than I thought I would this semester. I was pleasantly surprised.
I grew a lot as a public relations professional this semester. I have learned so many valuable skills and it made me fall in love with public relations all over again. I know feel confident that I could write for almost anything that is thrown my way during my future. I know the basics, and I want to push myself to keep practicing my writing in order to be the best that I can be.
I look forward to learning more and more about the public relations field during my junior year. Thank you Pritch and Public Relations Writing for teaching me so much this semester!
How can it already be the last week of classes? This semester went by really fast, but I learned a whole lot especially when it comes to public relations.
This week in Public Relations Writing, we were tasked with creating a Photo and Caption: Slideshow Assignment. We had to take no less than nine photographs on an event happening on campus, write captions for each photograph and display it all in a powerpoint.
I honestly did not think that I would ever have to take photographs or write captions for said photographs as a public relations practitioner, but now I see why it is so important to know how to do it. You never know what your client or boss will ask you to do, so why not be able to do it all? Plus, as a public relations practitioner, it will always be important to know how to write pretty much anything that will make your company or client look good. You must know how to use your words in the proper way.
This assignment was a little out of my comfort zone, which is great because that shows me what skills I still need to work on. Mainly, I need to learn how to take better pictures because being a photographer is not one of my talents; although, I sure wish it was. I guess it is time to learn!
This week in Public Relations Writing, we were tasked with writing a Public Service Announcement (PSA).
What is a PSA?
A PSA is an announcement that does not promote any goods for profit. PSA’s are mainly for the use of the government or nonprofit organizations. PSA’s are great for raising awareness about an event, cause or issue going on in the area.
PSA’s have to have one core message because of the short time frame it will have on the radio and to keep the attention of the publics’.
Writing for radio is a lot different than writing content that will be published online, in a newspaper, or a magazine. You have to keep it short and sweet in order to keep the publics’ attention. There are being distracted by a million different things, so you have to be creative.
You write PSA’s a lot differently than content made for print. It is in a two-column format so that it is easier to read.
I have never written a PSA before, so it was interesting to see how the process works. I never even thought that I might be tasked with creating something meant for radio as a public relations practitioner. Now I can say that I know exactly how to write one if I ever need to.
This week in Public Relations Writing, we were tasked with writing our own Op-Ed and a Letter to the Editor.
Honestly, I had no idea that I would need to know how to write these two pieces as a public relations practitioner. Through this class, I am starting to learn that public relations practitioners should know how to write literally everything. Your work may be published and it might never be published, but you should know how to do it in case you are placed in a situation that calls for it. I see now that my future employer might be impressed if he asks for someone to write a mock piece of content of any type and I can write one up really quick.
The more you know!
what is an op-ed?
An Op-Ed allows you to use your own voice in your writing. It is an argument about something that is going on in the world. It gives an organization a way to explain to the public what their reasoning is behind a certain campaign or just any situation.
what is a letter to the editor?
A Letter to the Editor is a response to a directly published piece of writing. It is a way for you to command a correction or make bias known. It is typically short and to the point. It is another way for your voice to be heard in response to something you read.
I enjoyed learning how to write these two pieces of content this week and looking through the news to see what I wanted to write about. I definitely can say that I learned a lot this week, and I am glad that I can use these skills in my future as a public relations practitioner.
This week in Public Relations Writing, we were tasked with writing our own feature story. We had a variety of options to choose from, which made this assignment seem like a real challenge and fun at the same time.
There are various types of feature stories public relations practitioners can write, but the thing I like about it is that the basic structure is always the same.
Pritch gave us a great visual that describes the structure of a feature story: feature lead, nut graph, body and the conclusion.
I was excited for this assignment because one of the options for the topic was to interview one of our favorite teachers.
I chose to interview my Global and International Public Relations professor Dr. Katerina Tsetsura. There are a ton of great public relations professors at Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma, but I love to hear about how public relations practices differ in various countries around the world. Dr. Tsetsura is originally from Russia, so it is fascinating to hear her perspective on public relations around the world.
Dr. Tsetsura is highly involved in the world of global and international public relations, specifically, she is working on a project with Ukraine right now.
I loved getting more experience with the interview process. I have had my fair share of being the interviewee, but not much as the interviewer. It is different being on the other side of things. You have to prepare questions in advance and be able to come up with questions in the moment. I had a really great time when I interviewed Dr. Tsetsura and my fellow classmates in order to get their viewpoint on her as well.
The feature story might seem intimidating to some, but my biggest advice is to just really listen to the person you are interviewing and pay attention to everything they say. You might learn something new and be inspired. You have to have fun with it, so your readers will have fun when they read your piece whether it is serious or fun.
This week in Public Relations Writing, we were tasked with creating a position paper. I had to create a paper that would lead people to believe that Tipton’s Children Home is a more viable option for children without active parents than the Oklahoma DHS Foster System.
What is a position paper?
A position paper is exactly what it sounds like, it is a paper where you take a stance on a particular argument, idea, etc.
There are four main sections of a position paper.
- Introduction – Includes Thesis and Summary
- Counter Arguments
- Evidence to Support your Thesis
This assignment took extra time because you really have to research about not only your own stance but your opponents stance as well. A great public relations practitioner already is aware of what the other side is going to use as their weapon, so they go ahead and expose it before hand and explain why it is not relative anymore.
I really liked how this assignment challenged me to see the bigger picture and not have a narrow view on a topic. I think this is an extremely important lesson for all public relations practitioners to realize. We always have to look at the bigger picture in order to really understand what our client wants or to prepare for a future crisis before it even happens.
This week in Public Relations Writing, we learned all about how to write Fact Sheets and Backgrounders. Before this week, I had honestly never heard about these two types of content. From common sense, I sort of had a sense of what they were from their names, but I actually learned a whole lot more than I expected to this week.
Both pieces of content are created for journalists, much like everything else public relations practitioners create. Public relations practitioners create fact sheets and backgrounders specifically for media kits, to accompany news releases, promotional materials and during a crisis (the one thing all public relations practitioners hope to avoid).
What is a fact sheet?
A fact sheet is a one sheet presentation of specific data for your company, product, etc. It is great to give journalists hard numbers that can use to educate the public.
What is a backgrounder?
A backgrounder is in-depth information about a specific issue, problem or aspect of your company, product, etc. that you want the journalist to address to your public. This piece of content is all about research and making the people who read it want to read more.
As I said earlier, I had never heard of these two pieces of content before. Now I can see how important it is to master these two pieces of content as a public relations practitioner. You never know when you will need to get hard facts to a journalist, especially in the midst of a crisis.
This week in Public Relations Writing, we learned how to write a media advisory and a media pitch. We were tasked with practicing how to write a clear and concise media advisory and media pitch for a journalist(s). All public relations professionals should know how to write these things even if they do not think it is a necessary skill. You never know when you will be asked to write one, so it is best to know how to write a media advisory and a media pitch before you are even asked.
What is a media advisory?
A media advisory is something all public relations practitioners need to learn how to write. It is different from a news release because it is short and sweet. It is an invitation sent to reports to convince them to cover your event. You want to include relevant and important information that will make the reporter want to come.
What is a media pitch?
A media pitch is also something all public relations practitioners need to learn how to write. It is an email or phone call to a specific journalist(s) that you think would be interested in your story. You really have to sell your story so that a journalist(s) will be interested in writing about it.
These two pieces of content utilized by public relations practitioners can make or break a new event, product, organization, etc. Most people do not realize that public relations practitioners need to know how to write clearly and effectively in order to get the job done, and done correctly.
This week in Public Relations Writing (JMC 3423), we were tasked with learning and practicing how to write a news release. This is a necessary skill for all public relations practitioners because you never know when someone will ask you to create a news release for a certain organization, event, product, etc. It is best to always be prepared.
Before this lesson, I had a limited knowledge of how to write a news release. I learned a little about it through Writing For Mass Media, but that was about it.
As I worked to create news releases this week, I found myself becoming more comfortable and confident with the process and format. It is all about practice. Whoever made the saying “practice makes perfect” was not joking.
Although, my choir teacher once said that “perfect practice makes perfect,” which makes a lot more sense to me. Not everyone gets things right on the first try, but you have to put in 100 percent of effort when you are practicing something. If you do not try, then the practice will really mean nothing.
I am nowhere near being a professional when it comes to writing news releases, but I just have to practice, practice and practice again. There is always room for growth, which is why I know I will be practicing and learning for the rest of my life.
Unit 2.2 of public relations writing (JMC 3423) was all about writing basics: the elements of news, the big five, the ABC’s of journalism, the inverted pyramid, ledes (or leads) and bridges, and body. All of these aspects are vital to writing.
The elements of news: Mass appeal
The big five
The top elements of mass appeal that all public relations practitioners need to use in their writing.
ABC’s of journalism
The inverted pyramid
The writing style of journalists.
- The Lead: The most important information.
- The Body: The crucial information.
- The Tail: The extra information.
Ledes (lead) and bridges
Lede (lead) : Most important paragraph of a news story.
Bridge: A transition from the lede (lead) to the body.
Body: Detailed portion of a news story.
You might think this information is only useful for journalists (I used to think that), but it is also extremely useful for public relations practitioners.
One thing that I have heard from many sucessful public relations practitioners, is that they wish students would realize the importance of knowing how to be an effective writer.
Why do public relations practitioiners need to know how to write?
To gain the trust of your stakeholders, client, organization, etc. and to build your credibility in the public relations field.
If you want to be the best of the best in the public relations sphere, you must know how to be an effective writer.