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Chapter 1: Preparing for Writing

January. 18. 2010.

Public Relations: Writing and Media Techniques

by Dennis L. Wilcox

The Framework of Public Relations Writing

  • Writing (preparing) is only one of the four components of public relations
  1. Research
  2. Planning
  3. Communication
  4. Evaluation

The Writer

  • Objective- to not only inform but also persuade and motivate
  • Fraser Seitel believes that writing is only one of 5 skills writer’s should posses
  • The other 4 are:
  1. Knowledge of Public Relations
  2. Knowledge of Current Events
  3. Knowledge of Business
  4. Knowledge of Management

Necessary Things Needed for Preparation

  • Computer- the most important piece of equipment in a public relations office
  • High Quality Printer and Scanner
  • References (ex: Britannica, Encarta)
  • Dictionary and Thesaurus
  • Stylebooks
  • One for general reference and one dealing with specific styles of various publications
  • Atlas
  • Media Dictionary
  • Professional Periodicals
  • Current Events and Trends -“Writing often starts with a creative idea and a good understanding of the world around you.” (page 17)
  • Internet!

Research- The Prelude to Writing

  • Inquiries
  • Interviews

Writing Guidelines

  • Outline the purpose
  • Make sure your word choice relates to your audience
  • Traps to Avoid:
  1. Wordy prepositional phrases that begin with at, on, in of, with, or under.
  2. “Very” phrases, such as a very big instead of large.
  3. Verb-nouns combine a verb and noun where a verb will do. For example, make a suggestion instead of suggest.
  4. Buried verbs, such as beneficial instead of benefit.
  5. “Doubles,” or using two words that mean the same thing. For example, entirely complete.
  • Vitalize your writing with verbs
  • Use Imagery, Visual Descriptions, and Vivid Verbal Portraits
  • Use Clear Writing Devices
  1. Example: Say something-then use an example or statistic to illustrate it.
  2. Definition: Uncommon words call for a dictionary or a simple explanation of what you mean.
  3. Comparison: If the reader is unfamiliar with the concept or thing being written about, compare it with something familiar.
  4. Restatement: Say the same thing in different words. This reinforces the concept.

Errors to Avoid

  • Spelling
  • Poor Sentence Structure
  • Wrong Words- sloppiness loses credibility
  • “Sound-alike” Words:
  1. sole/soul
  2. comma/coma,
  3. lose/loose,
  4. adverse/averse,
  5. who’s/whose,
  6. principle/principal
  • Redundancies
  • Too Many Numbers: use “$92 million” instead of “92,000,000 dollars”
  • Exaggerations that can raise suspicion
  • Bias and Stereotypes
  • Politically Incorrect Language
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