PR Writing Post 1

Public relations professional perform a multitude of duties. From coordinating events to managing budgets, but a key skill of every PR professional is writing. Media releases, memos to colleagues and executives, communication pieces with clients and vendors, copy for brochures, reports, social networking, emails – yes even emails need to be carefully crafted!

We need to write clearly and succinctly. Our success depends on how well we write and communicate. As we enter this new semester let’s discuss the various forms of PR writing and what they entail for you as future writers.

Discuss which forms of writing that  you are most excited to learn about, which forms you have the least familiarity with, and which forms you are most comfortable with.

If you need to get started use a three-pronged approach when responding.

  • What did you learn?
  • What surprised you?
  • What do you want to know more about?

Since we have only just ran through the syllabus and completed our workshops we will really delve into the text next week I’m looking for you to recall what you learned in Intro to PR and also flip through your text to become more familiar with the various types of writing PR professionals do in an effort to take part in these discussions.

  One thought on “PR Writing Post 1

  1. January 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I wish I could target one area that I am most excited to write about, but honestly I am excited to learn them all.
    Blogs hold the most interest to me, because I may be responsible for a blog some day but this will also help me identify my own personal brand and help me network with other PR professionals.
    Video’s will be the hardest for me. I am not a technologically savvy person. I can do the bare minimum. The idea of recording, and editing a video scares me greatly.
    A problem I encountered in Intro to PR was being able to effectively answer the, “So what? Who cares?” when writing a Press Release. I hope to be able to hone in on the strengths of the products or brands and help make journalists want to publish/print my releases
    I find it most surprising that the text mentions that allowing yourself to write crap can help make your writing more succinct by writing your thoughts and revising them later.
    I will find it difficult to write succinctly because throughout my academic career most teachers are looking for “x” amount of words or “x” amounts of pages. Public Relations writing seems to be more of the opposite. We must write a short and catchy message that can be used in multiple mediums to help promote our client/brand.
    I want to know as much as possible about everything this semester. By being extremely knowledgeable in all areas it can make me a stronger candidate and team member for employers when I finally graduate.

    • January 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Catherine, many people are scared of the technology piece of our profession. I can remember when we hired people to create videos, but today, more than ever we really need to be able to do it all. With the advent of desktop publishing and design that started the evolution of greater expertise. The mobility of our phones along with the technology they hold pushed our profession further into having to multi-task.

    • January 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Catherine,

      I’m with you on being excited to learn it all! It can be overwhelming to take in sometimes but I don’t think I could be more scared and excited. The video will probably be my hardest component too. The recording gets to me the most just because my phone doesn’t take the greatest pictures or videos so I would have to use some other device. I’m sure we’ll get a decent amount of help with the editing part though. I’d hope Gina wouldn’t just throw us to the wolves! 
      My text is still in the mail so that’s very interesting to hear that the book mentions writing crap work so the thoughts are there and revisions can begin. I guess I could understand it a bit because I keep a journal and that’s where nothing but thoughts go so it could be along the same lines of that. I do wonder if PR professionals follow that suggestion.

    • January 16, 2014 at 1:53 am

      I totally understand the challenge of being succinct. As a singer and songwriter, I’ve developed a skill for taking a simple concept and expanding it into a four-minute work of musical art. Over time I have learned how to harness the emotion of a short statement, place it within a song, and cause an audience of 300 people relate to it. However, PR writing is about being concise, and getting an audience to identify or connect in some way to your brand by making short, definitive statements. Communications should be short and to the point, with minimal frill and over-the-top language. The message must be clear and concise, which is a skill that I have continued to develop since JRNL 312.

      • January 20, 2014 at 8:31 pm

        Lydia,
        I can relate to what your are talking about because I write song lyrics so it forces me to put a single thought into a few paragraphs. I think it’s even harder to write about something that you are passionate about and use few words especially when you have to much to say. Definitely a skill that I need to work on especially when it comes to writing a response on Twitter where you only get a few characters to express yourself. I have learned that less is more sometimes though and that is why it is so important to learn how to get your message out and not need two pages to do it because then your have lost your audience. I think the more we practice being concise and tight this semester the easier it will become to make ourselves clear in what we are trying to say.

  2. January 14, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    I’m really excited to work on emails, memos and others forms of writing that would pertain to communicating with other people in the organization. I’m not very familiar with writing memos and from what I’ve observed at the University Writing Center, it can be extremely difficult to write those. I feel like we didn’t talk much about needing to know how to write proper emails and communication pieces in Intro to PR. We mostly focused on identifying what it was, what could possibly be included with the job and we talked a lot about ethics.
    We did work on press releases, media lists and pitching stories. I’m really comfortable writing press releases because I’ve had a lot of practice when it comes to writing them. I think media releases and press releases have a lot of similarities, so I may be a little comfortable with writing those as well.
    In my experience, the hardest part about writing in PR is getting that first sentence out. After that I’m usually fine and I can write the entire piece. That first sentence is just really difficult because you have to be as informative as possible. Once I write that, it’s pretty easy to decide what’s important and what’s not. I also have a really hard time with word limits. I can over explain things sometimes and I feel like everything is important, so I always end up having to delete half of everything I write because I went 100 words over the limit or something like that.
    I’m really looking forward to learning some new writing techniques this semester. The arrow technique that Joy showed us today, was pretty helpful and I will probably be using that more often.

    • January 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Danita, so often we forget that emails are considered part of our toolbox. While they can also be part of marketing, they do at times, fall into PR. We’ll get to look at Constant Contact as a tool for sending eblasts. Love the product!

      So many writers struggle with that “first sentence.” That’s the main reason why I have Joy conducting the writing workshop this week. I love the arrows for importance and the pyramid. I think those suggestions, along with finding your personal style, will develop throughout the semester.

    • leahprodriguez
      January 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Danita,
      I feel the same way about being constricted to a limit of words. Sometimes I find myself going on about the topic and wanting to share all the information I have because I feel it is beneficial but in reality it may not benefit my reader. The reader might feel overwhelmed with the amount of information that I may find necessary, and they do not. This is why it’s engrained in us as we are in school that “less is sometimes more.” Nevertheless it is something I believe a lot of students such as ourselves struggle with when writing, and i look forward to learning what would be deemed important and what would not. Hopefully Gina can help! 🙂

      • January 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm

        I am one of those people who feel like less is more. The issue comes in when I have to decide what’s important and what’s not. What if what I think is important isn’t?

    • January 15, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      I completely agree with you when it comes to word limits. Teachers and professors usually want to know how much information we can give them on a certain topic and now we have to switch gears and learn how to effectively tell our stories in the smallest amount of words as possible.
      I am excited that you are comfortable with press releases because I sometimes get my main key points mixed in with other information and lose my main points, so having someone in class who can do this well will be beneficial for me and the whole class!

      • January 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm

        I really liked Joy’s tips and hints she gave us. The editing portion of the workshop will really become useful this semester and beyond.

  3. leahprodriguez
    January 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I am anxious to learn the importance of writing in the PR world and the difference it can make in reciprocating to the audience as well. The forms I am most excited to learn are memos to colleagues and executives, communication pieces with clients and copy for brochures. While I am familiar with media releases, I would like to learn how to more structurally construct my methods and craft a solid piece. I would say I am least familiar with copy for brochures and reports and would like to know how these relay to public relations. The most comfortable form of writing would probably be social networking and emails since I’ve had more practice with these, as well as media releases. The book, along with the writing workshop on Tuesday has helped me in my preparation stages prior to writing. The book suggests outlining the purpose and asking you key questions. I’ve found this to be beneficial especially since I find myself to succeed through organization. Word choice was another benefactor as well because it helps to narrow down how I should convey messages to my audience and what words I would use in order to accurately get the message across. I was surprised to learn the differences in journalistic writing from public relations writing in how PR writers narrow down their audience compared to journalists writing for the general public. Public relations writing seem to be more direct and factual, as opposed to journalists who tend to explain and tell stories in their features. I am excited to learn more about how to become a persuasive writer and ways I can keep updated on the self-interest of audiences that pertain to the subjects I write about.

    • January 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      I completely agree with you on the part about word choice. It definitely helps get our point across. One of the downsides to it though is that words mean a variety of things! We even saw that in our class on Tuesday. When we brain stormed key words, there were some that a few people thought certain words work but other people disagreed. How can we find the best words for a press release, brochure, etc. so that our audience interprets it the way we want to?
      I also think to a certain extent journalistic writing more generalized than writers for PR but they still centralize their articles on the prospective readers. I’d like to believe that any business with an audience narrows it down even the slightest. Take the Eastern Echo for example. They write more for college students. It’s still centralized, just not as much focus as we would have for PR writing.

    • January 15, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      I think the memos and colleague communication is going to be the most interesting too. For some reason I can write something for a wide audience and be totally confident in it, but when it comes to writing something that only a few people will read, I get really self-conscious.
      When we were in Intro to PR, Lolita talked about having to show an organization what has changed since you’ve been there or what you’ve been doing. I believe that’s where reports come into play. With research, charts, and all that stuff we can show how we’ve improved a company’s reputation or how a company’s reputation could change.
      The workshop has been a big help. I’ve been working on trying to come up with an effective writing process. It’s definitely difficult to find a technique that can be helpful with all forms of writing, which is why I don’t stick with any kind of process. The workshop with Joy was very helpful and I’m sure what we do tomorrow will also be really helpful.

    • January 16, 2014 at 12:11 am

      As a journalism major, I disagree with you to an extent about the differences between PR writing and journalistic writing. While it is true that feature stories are more extensive and are often written in a narrative-style, these articles are still factual but are just being told in a more creative format. Second, news stories in journalism are supposed to be concise, direct, and obviously, factual. In this way, news stories would be very similar to PR writing if PR writing is direct and factual. I think the biggest difference between PR and journalism is objectivity. Journalists are expected to always remain objective (with the exception of opinion pieces), but PR writing is obviously subjective to the person or group they are writing on behalf of. It is definitely interesting though to see how similar journalism and PR can be, but also how different!

  4. January 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    The writing that I’m looking forward to the most would have to be blogging and press releases. During our Intro to PR course, we wrote one or two press releases and I know mine weren’t that strong. Press releases are very important in our field and it really scares me to know that I’m not good at them…yet. The “So what, who care” part also gets tough for me. Sometimes the things that get my attention won’t grasp the attention of others. How can you be so sure that you’re displaying what your audience wants to see?
    Blogging is growing more and more in our field and although I have a blog, I don’t post much anymore. I think that once I begin to post more and find my niche then it will come really easy for me.
    There are also components that I have no experience in and I’m really excited to jump in and learn. I know that in our class, we are going to have to create a video and edit pictures. The creative technological part is scary, yet still very intriguing. As a PR professional, we will come across many responsibilities that involve the creation of those things and I’m ready to learn and showcase what I will eventually be able to do. I’m also excited to create a website centered on me. The only downside to that is that I love change and I’ll want to change my website a lot throughout the semester but I need to solidify one design and try to not change it much.
    No matter what we work on in our class and how difficult it is, I’m just really excited to learn even more about the field that I’ve grown to love!

    -Raven

    • January 15, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Raven,

      Im in the same boat with the “Who cares?” part. Whatever part I think matters sometimes isn’t the same as my audience. It is hard for me to put myself in place of the audience I am trying to communicate with.

      I agree with you, the technology part scares and excites me! I want to learn all that I can but since I don’t know much about this it’s a little nerve wrecking. You are right in our profession we are going to have to know this well. I am hoping that the website and video will give us some experience with the technology aspect of our profession.

      Don’t be so hard on your self with press releases. I think you are probably better at them than you think! I do that with my writing a lot; I doubt myself and I am afraid to show people. This class is going to force us to be confident since we have to post weekly to this blog. I don’t know if you feel the same way but it gives me anxiety.

      -Sophia

      • January 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm

        Raven, Sophia, It all comes with time. The more you work with the media the more you are able to discern the “who cares?” I remember I was doing a follow up call with a political writer. Politics was not my main area of expertise and when he answered and I did my thing he was quiet and said – “So? There are hundreds of organizations on Capitol Hill today. Why should I interview your Executive Director?” I froze. I wanted to shout at him bc he was rude, but I had to control myself bc I needed him. I had to prove to him the story was worthy. Takes time though.

    • leahprodriguez
      January 15, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Raven,

      I too am nervous about creating the video and editing pictures. I have no experience with video editing but am familiar with editing pictures…on my phone! This obviously does not qualify as credible experience so I’m looking forward to learning about the technology when that time comes. I also have a personal blog but find myself getting excited about writing for a short period of time, and later having huge time gaps in my posting. When I learn more about writing for social media I think it can help with what would seem appropriate for writing in a blog and what would be considered unattractive to my readers. The website will help us to create a page where we can display our writing and show off our skills while developing a sense of who we are as PR professionals. Needless to say I believe this course will help us to understand and better represent ourselves through technology and tie it in with our writing!

      -Leah

      • January 16, 2014 at 1:27 am

        Ahhh I hadn’t even thought of the technology. Editing pictures and video is definitely not a strong suit of mine. I could hardly use Microsoft Paint back in the day! My best bet is Instagram, and nobody will be fooled by a square photo with an Amaro filter 😉

        People have such a short attention span that if an article or blog post doesn’t have pictures or a video to accompany it, they’ll probably just scroll right past it. So not only do our posts have to be verbally engaging, but they have to be pleasing to the eye too. There’s a lot more pressure on us than on journalists and PR professionals in the past, because we can’t have a certain beat or niche anymore. We have to be able to do it all, or employers will find someone else who can.

        I was actually watching the first season of “Girls” this weekend, and Hannah was asking her boss at her unpaid internship if she could have a paying job. When he said no, she said, “But (insert name here because I don’t remember) was offered a job,” and his response was, “Because she knows Photoshop.”

  5. January 15, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    I am most excited about blog writing. I just started a blog recently and don’t even know where to begin. Im not sure what to write about or how to answer the question, “Why does anyone care?” Im hoping to better understand how to utilize blogs.

    I saw an article that Gina shared on twitter and it really caught my eye. It talked about how writing informally can actually get you ahead. It uses Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, as an example. He received an email from Mark Zuckerberg that praised his work and even invited him to the Facebook headquarters to talk to him. He didn’t send a formal email back. Instead he sent “Thanks 🙂 would be happy to meet – I’ll let you know when I make it up to the Bay Area.” according to the article, How Spelling Mistakes and Bad Email Etiquette Can Help You Get Ahead by Kevin Rose. I want to know how to do what Spiegel did. When is this appropriate? I do want to learn how to write formally as well, I know I am not an expert yet! However this just really interested me. We don’t always write formally to each other. I would like to know how to have professionals see me as an equal through my writing, without taking it too far. This is what I have the least experience with. Im sure that I will have to write informally through emails with colleagues and clients. It would be helpful to know when to do this and how.

    I am most familiar with news releases since we worked on that a lot in JRNL 312. However, I would like to learn more about the journalistic style of writing. I want to know how to write like a journalist so that they will run my story when I send it to them. I think it is important to have no errors in the news release and have it written like a journalist would so they have little work to do. It was very public relations focused in JRNL 312 so I want to know more about what journalists want from me. I already found a few answers in our textbook it. It was helpful when talking about what words to use instead of long catchy phrases.

    -Sophia Williams

    • January 15, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      I am ashamed to say that I have a blog: an empty blog, to be more specific. So, I definitely understand your excitement to blog. I created it thinking I’d be great at blogging and it would be so much fun, but I never knew what to post on it. My life isn’t very exciting so it just exist for no reason at all. Blogging for an organization would be completely different. There’s always something going on in an organization, which means plenty to blog about.
      Emails are such a hassle to me and I think I’ve read an article or two about bad email etiquette. I always question myself when I email professors. “Did I use the right greeting? Am I supposed to call them “professor” “doctor” or just use their first name?” Then I’m really surprised when they email me back and it’s so informal and friendly. I do think informal emails can sometimes be beneficial to organizations. I am also confused on when informal emails are appropriate. If you’re someone’s superior and they’ve been working for you for a few years, you’d probably be on more informal terms with them. I think; I’m not for sure though.
      -Danita Tatum

      • January 16, 2014 at 1:10 am

        Haha my blog was the same way for a long time. Then I just started posting things I’ve written for various websites on there. I write for a couple of music and entertainment sites, and it’s helped me gain a tiny reputation in the local music scene. So it’s more of a virtual portfolio than a blog. I’m trying to get out of the mindset that “blogs” are like LiveJournals that moody high school girls would vent on, and think of blogs as what they are now. I’ve learned that when it comes to blogs, it’s best to stick with a general theme. Something you know a lot about. That way you seem fairly credible, and it helps you gain followers who are interested in what you blog about.

    • January 15, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      When responding to the prompt, blog writing completely slipped my mind. However, I definitely agree with you. I am a journalism major and I have taken Digital Journalism as one of my courses. In Digital Journalism, we focused on blog writing and went over ways to use both text and images in blog writing to engage your audience. However, even though I am familiar with the elements to make my blog strong, I also find myself not knowing where to start. The big issue for me is figuring out what to write about and how to get people to read my blog once I do get it started. I think having a blog opens up a lot of opportunities for journalists and PR professionals alike, but it is overwhelming when first beginning. I don’t know how I would effectively get people to want to read my blog, and I also don’t even know exactly what I should write about. Both are things that are obviously essential before I can begin. So, like you, I am also interested in strengthening my blog writing skills so that I might be able to get a blog up and running by the time this semester wraps up.

    • January 16, 2014 at 1:36 am

      I feel like a bit of an odd ball not being excited about blogging! I had a blog when I was in middle school, posted twice, and never looked at it again. (Such a shame.) I place blogging in a sort of literary limbo, where it’s not quite formal, but standard writing conventions and processes are used. I find it passionately challenging to hash out my ideas when writing in that context! I’ve always found myself resorting back to songwriting or poetry to express myself and engage the people around me. But blogging seems to be becoming an integral part of PR, because it engages specific publics, and I definitely feel as though I need to get past that.

    • January 16, 2014 at 7:59 am

      Sophia, I completely agree with being a “new blogger” and struggling with deciding what anyone would want to read about and why they should chose my blog. I’m constantly thinking the same thing. What I’ve concluded is this: write anything. Write about anything that interests you, that you’re familiar with or passionate about, anything that’s relatable or notable. Also, I found that reading other blogs (A LOT of other blogs) helps to overcome that hesitation to begin/writer’s block. Having insight to what other bloggers are writing about and creating “relationships” with those that you enjoy reading helps tremendously. When you read a blog you like, even if it’s just one post, comment on it. And be specific. The world of blogging is all about relating and supporting, and if you do that, it will surely be reciprocated- eventually you’ll build a network with other bloggers who will share and promote your blogs, and vice versa. Plus, blogging is one of the most informal types of writing, and since you said that you’d like to learn how and when to write informally, creating a blog can help with that. Don’t wait, start writing today. You’ve got nothing to lose.

      -Lauren

    • January 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Let’s talk about blogging for a bit in class on Tuesday. I can share some tips to help you all get started. Some excellent conversations happening this week!

  6. January 15, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    I have only taken one PR class (Intro. to PR), so I would definitely say that I have a lot to learn about writing for public relations. However, because I am a journalism major one thing I do feel confident about is my ability to write in proper AP style. Also, journalism stresses concise writing so I do think my experience writing as a journalist will help me write succinctly in public relations. I am not particularly familiar with any styles of PR writing. In Intro. to PR I did learn how to write press releases, which wasn’t too difficult, so I feel reasonably familiar with those. However, I am very interested to learn about writing online press releases and how they differ from the traditional press release.

    I am most interested in learning how to write for mass media. I work for a nurse staffing agency and we are constantly using media, particularly social media, to make announcements or to attract travel nurses to our company. For these reasons, I feel that becoming strong in writing for mass media would be very beneficial. Writing online advertisements is something I would like to be skilled in, particularly in learning how to write the most effective advertisements and how to compliment them with the most effective images.

    Finally, I would like to learn how to write social media content that is most likely to engage your audience and entice a response from them. I think that coming up with social media content that is interesting and original is extremely important for a company, and I would like to be strong in this area.

  7. January 16, 2014 at 1:03 am

    I’m most eager to learn about writing press releases. In my intro to PR class, we were kind of just told about them, with very little direction about how to write them correctly. Since my ultimate goal is to purse journalism, I’ll be working with PR professionals a lot and I’d like to be able to understand the press releases from a PR perspective rather than a journalistic perspective.

    I’m the least familiar with blogging. I’ve used blogs for other classes, and I have a blog myself, but I find it as kind of a nuisance to keep up with. I’m more of a print kind of gal, because I’m fifty years old, apparently. I’d like to get more familiar with blogging and maybe I’ll enjoy using them more, and my personal blog will be updated a lot more.

    I’m most familiar with social media, because I’m a millenial. Smartphones have become an extension of ourselves and we’re constantly plugged in. It’s weird to have to wait for a response from someone because people can be reached virtually at any given time. Plus, I used to run the social media for an old job, and I work with the Facebook for my current job as well. So I know about social media from a personal perspective and from a business perspective as well. I do want to learn more about the PR side of social media, though.

    • January 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      My only experience with writing a release comes from the intro class as well. I have done a few outside of class but nothing major.

      I found writing a press release from being in the journalism field briefly a double edged sword.

      On one hand knowing what the journalist is looking for (and what will make him/her want to have your story a top priority) is great ammunition. On the other side, writing the story to be press ready seemed like it would be easy for the editors / producers to just use the story as is and not give any more attention. A “free lunch” if you will.

      I am not sure if I am correct but am seeing release writing as a bit like fishing. You want the worm (story) to look interesting and tasty to the fish (media). The worm can’t be all laid out so the fish can just nibble the ends and take off but not so wrapped up that it is unappealing and obviously a hook.

    • January 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Carmen,
      I agree with you about being excited to learn more about press releases. In Intro to PR I felt like the focus was so much on AP style sometimes that I failed to know what I was really doing wrong with my writing for the release. I think press releases are one of the most important skills that you need to have because when you write them you are representing an entire brand, so knowing how to write one correctly is vital. The only time I ever really blogged was for my Social Media class, and that is the only reason I even have a wordpress account already haha. I think blogging will help us all though because I think that blogging really encourage “free thought” and and expressing yourself so if you get used to the idea that writing isn’t so scary then it will become easier. If you can write a clever status on Facebook, you’re already on the write track!

  8. January 16, 2014 at 1:24 am

    First off, let me say that I am extremely excited about this class! I expect the course to be very challenging, which is always a motivator for me to go the extra mile. I am most interested in learning about more internal communications writing, such as emails, memos, and proposals. My eventual goal is to be director of development or communications in a not-for-profit organization, so this could I took a business communications course a few semesters ago, but it was focused on human resources aspect of communications much more than it was on the actual mechanics of the message. I have written press releases and worked with media outlets, but I am very excited to learn how to write news features and opinion editorials.

    The only aspect of PR writing that I am slightly apprehensive about is speechwriting. I am very opinionated, but when writing a speech for someone else, you must write for that person rather than yourself. The only experience I have in anything connected to writing for someone else is writing copy for television and radio advertisements, and in all of those instances I was writing for the character and mission of an organization, rather than for the personality and delivery style of a speaker.

    I seem to be dreading blogging more than anything. I like to write creatively and tell stories with words, but I also like to find and discuss fact. However, to put both of these concepts together conventionally for a relatively informal audience seems to position this form of writing in a type of limbo, which makes me slightly uncomfortable.

    Regardless, I am ready to learn!

  9. January 16, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Written communication and the ability to efficiently disseminate information to the various publics is key for a successful career, not only in public relations, but in any business sector. Almost every text, blog or website that I’ve read pertaining to public relations and “what it takes” to become a successful professional in the field emphasizes the ability to write well. Even public relations professionals that I’ve spoken with have divulged to me the importance of writing effectively in their career each day. Bottom line: know how to write clearly and concisely about anything and everything.
    Above all, I’m most eager to learn the professional writing forms in which I have little to no familiarity with, such as copy for brochures and reports. I’m looking forward to sharpening my PR writing skills altogether, becoming more fluent in succinct and informative writing. I’m anxious to become a more effective writer when it comes to writing for media and updating or informing specific audiences. I also like the idea of personal branding, and one of my goals this semester is to create “the brand of me,” by discovering and establishing my voice in my work, especially in blog writing. Because I’ve taken a course in journalism, I’m familiar and comfortable with writing press releases, though I would like to work on perfecting my ability to answer “so what?” and “who cares?”
    Of all the writing forms, I have the most experience in writing for social networking and emails, and I spend a significant amount of time reading professional (or semi-professional) writing through numerous social networks (shout out to Twitter and blogging). Overall, I’m looking forward to dedicating my time and effort to practicing and perfecting my skills in all forms of public relations writing.

    • January 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      Lauren,

      I like that one of your goals this semester is to find your own personal brand. I might take on this goal myself too. I think it is important for us to figure out now what we want out of our career so we can find the right job that fits our personality. The first day of class it was challenging for me to start my Wix website because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to be viewed. I am excited to work more on figuring out where I fit in public relations. In intro to PR we talked about the different paths you can take. I thought I wanted to go into the nonprofit sector but now I am starting to find that I would work better in an agency setting. I hope the different kinds of writing in this class will help guide us to find out where we want to take our careers.

      Sophia

  10. January 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    For me Intro to PR was a struggle mainly because of the AP style. I am still getting the hang of using the handbook so I am eager to get better at using it since I know how important good writing is in PR. I am most comfortable writing about anything really since I enjoy writing; it’s just the formatting that is sometimes tricky for me. I learned that you need to really practice your skills of narrowing things down and including what is important. Also, making sure that you are using action words such as “will perform” instead of “will be performing.” It surprised me how serious it is to make sure that you use AP style correctly and that work will not be taken seriously if it is not perfect. I would like to know more about the various formats of things such as press releases, email blasts, and official statements so that I can be taken more seriously in the PR world. I would also like to learn more about how you can make yourself more known by having a goal and a personal brand. I think I need to focus a lot on getting more experience and internships as well since it is vital for success in this business. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that you need to take chances when it comes to trying to get your “dream job” and that no position should ever be seen as unobtainable because you never will get your foot in the door if your don’t take the first step.

  11. February 20, 2014 at 6:03 am

    I can’t even try to pin down what I’m most excited for. I love the idea of blog writing, I just never seem to be able to come up with ideas or a common topic. I’m one of those people that have some interest in a lot of various things, but might get bored if I try to stick to one specific thing. I feel like it would be difficult to maintain any kind of audience if I can barely make up my mind. I’m also interested in email pitches. Obviously we all know how to write an email, but from what we’ve done so far, pitching in an email is entirely different. I really want to develop the skill because realistically, a massive portion of professional communication is done over email.
    I have the least amount of experience making brochures. I hate everything about them, I always have, and to be frank I probably always will. I had to do so many in school I could scream. I know they serve a purpose and are a great way to get a lot of basic information into one place, but they make me crazy. I know I’ll have to deal with it eventually but it’s safe to say I’m not excited at all.
    I’m pretty confident in a few areas of PR writing. I enjoy writing press releases because they are so straight forward and don’t take very long. I have written a couple and done well, but I can always get better. I’m also confident with presenting materials for clients, vendors, execs, and colleagues. I have a design background so I have complete faith in my ability to produce a visually appealing presentation and as long as I know what I’m talking about, the content is usually pretty good. I had an interior design professor once that made us do complete colour layouts for every single assignment. I’m not talking about a nice little border or photo, I’m saying if you had it professionally bound you were doing it right. It was really intense never knowing if what you did was good enough or creative enough, but now I really appreciate the nuance of how something is printed and presented. Stepping away from 12pt Times New Roman on white paper makes each assignment individual and gives me a lot more space to be visually creative. In my experience people are also more receptive to your message when they are visually stimulated. It’s little things that we don’t necessarily think about that can have the biggest impact.
    While I do have some experience shooting and editing video and photos, I know there is a lot of room for improvement. I’m really technologically savvy and I pick things up quickly, so I’m not overly concerned about it. I am however really excited to improve my skills in these areas.
    My biggest struggle in PR and journalistic writing in general is word choice. My parents always stressed the importance of having a vast vocabulary, so it’s sometimes difficult for me to simplify my writing. I tend to find myself in a situation where I want to use a certain word with a more specific definition, but I have to use a different word or words to make it simpler. While a major aspect of PR writing is being succinct, if the audience needs a dictionary to understand the message they’ll probably just ignore it. I also struggle with finding an angle. I would often rather present information and leave the story up to the journalist. I am eager to hone this skill and be able to pitch stories and ideas.

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