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Chapter 7 Summary June 7, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Summaries,PR Writing 3330 — Hillary @ 10:48 am

Chapter 7 discussed news features and Op-eds.

Right-brain thinking is critical when one is writing a feature story. It requires creativity and intuition. A feature story basically creates publicity for a product or service. It gives background, and context to events and products. Although writing a feature story demands right-brained thinking, be cautious not to hype up the story too much. There are 4 different approaches to feature writing:

1. distribute a general feature to a variety of publications

2. write an exclusive article for a publication

3. interest a freelancer or reporter in writing a story

4. post feature articles on the organization’s website

There are also many amounts of features:

1. case study

2. application story

3. research study

4. backgrounder

5. personality profile

6. historical feature

One would want to use photos and graphics to make the feature more interesting and eye-catching. In using photos the feature becomes more entertaining for the reader.

Last, Op-ed’s are pages that contain the views and opinions of people who are not a part of the staff of the newspaper. They must feature strong writing, use facts, and are generally 400 to 700 words in length.


Chapter 6 June 1, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Summaries — Hillary @ 6:17 pm

Chapter 6 discusses how to prepare fact sheets, advisories, media kits, and pitches.

  • Fact Sheets are a brief outline of an event, organization, or a new product. The reason these are written is to supply editors and journalists with information
  • Media Advisories tell editors about upcoming events. They include the 5 W’s and H in an outline form and can give photo, video, or interview opportunities
  • Media Kits are kits that can contain news releases, photos, stories, fact sheets, etc.
  • Electronic Press Kits are available online and prepared in a CD format.  They include more videos and photos.
  • A purpose of a pitch letter is to convince an editor or journalist to cover a news story or event.

Chapter 3 Summary

Filed under: Chapter Summaries — Hillary @ 7:35 am

Chapter 3 basically discusses the laws that PR practitioners have to and should abide by. Here are some suggestions for staying within the law boundaries that I took from Chapter 3:

  • Copyright your ideas when they are put on paper, but also be wary and do not steal anyone else’s work
  • do not say anything that could cause hurt to a person’s reputation. That is called libel and defamation.
  • no misleading quotes, you don’t want anyone to make a mistake and say they heard something but didn’t
  • do not pass private information to someone and expect them to keep a secret
  • no false advertising, stick to the truth and what you see and report, stay away from the hype
  • trademarks are protected by law (like the NIKE check symbol) if used out of context you could be sued
  • FTC will ensure that advertisements are not false
  • make sure celebrities really do use the product you are trying to sell before you try to pass it off as that
  • watch the language and what you say at all times
  • Securities and exchange commission watches the financial affairs and protects interests of stockholders
  • If you have a blog, twitter, Facebook, etc…watch what you say, you might offend the wrong person and could end up in a law suit. Keep opinions to a minimum

As long as you abide by these rules and watch what you do, you won’t ever have any problem with the law. Always stick to the truth!


Chapter 2 Summary( Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis Wilcox)

Filed under: Chapter Summaries — Hillary @ 7:35 am

This chapter was  a bit of a review for me.  It discussed the basics of communication such as  a sender….channel….receiver.  Then the chapter goes into the different styles of writing :

  • Cognitive dissonance making the reader or audience question their beliefs
  • Framing – the selection of certain facts, stories, and themes to get interest in their story
  • Diffusion and Adoption giving the reader new ideas and encouraging them to “adopt” their idea
  • hierarchy of Needs – this is a graph that lists humans basic needs for survival all the way to their social/emotional needs

Chapter 2 also discussed that there are certain factors to Persuasive writing:

  1. Audience Analysis –  Knowing who your audience is and recognizing what appeals to them is crucial to what you are selling or promoting. Getting a better understanding of your audience will help you better recognize what they wish and want.
  2. Source Credibility – In order to get your audience to believe or trust you about what you are selling or advertising, you want someone who the audience can connect with and believe. For example, sometimes companies will get celebrities to advertise and market something for them because the people recognize them and will believe them. Or perhaps you would like to hire a professional surgeon to tell it is ok to get certain surgeries done to oneself.
  3. Appeal to Self-Interest – The audience/consumers want what’s best for themselves. What the audience is interested in and wants to know about is what PR people need to see and recognize. How can it benefit them?
  4. Clarity of the Message – Make sure the audience can understand what you are trying to tell them.
  5. Timing and Context – timing is everything…make sure it appeals to the audience when it is relevant to them
  6. Symbols, Slogans, and Acronyms – create symbols that the audience can recognize and relate to. Such as the Nike swoosh symbol. It is recognized globally around the world.
  7. Semantics – Be careful what you write. Different words mean different things to different people. Dog may mean a cute puppy to a little American girl, but may mean food to a little 5-year-old Asian girl. (This is true, one of my friends from asia considered dog a gourmet meal!)
  8. Content and Structure –  Overall people and audiences alike want to hear a good, interesting, and captivating story. They want drama, they want real stats, they want to know what others think with surveys and polls. Audiences want to hear examples of others like them, testimonials from different people. They want to be a part of the story and a part of the action. It is your job to include them.

To persuade your audience into something you are writing you need to reach their hearts and minds first. Reach their heart with a story and feed their minds with statistics. People are not stupid and can see phony a mile away. Be truthful and ethical in your writing and you will get the audiences trust and respect.


Chapter 5 Summary

Filed under: Chapter Summaries — Hillary @ 7:35 am

Chapter 5 was how to write a news release. In order to compete with all the news releases that are sent out every day you must make sure:

  • must be newsworthy
  • must be timely
  • must be well written

Every publicity plan consists of a news release. News releases help to raise awareness and influence people’s decision making. Your news release should ask the 5 W’s and H, written on letter size white paper, and APA style. There are several kinds of news releases:

  • announcements
  • spot announcements
  • reaction stories
  • bad news
  • local releases

Lead paragraphs summarize the story within 5 lines or less.

A news release has 6 components:

  • organization name
  • contacts
  • headline
  • dateline
  • lead paragraph
  • body
  • boiler plate (optional)

News releases should be sent by e-mail. Don’t use a lot of hype. Stick to facts. Use the inverted pyramid style. Important facts first! Also remember to keep it short and factual: get to the point.


Chapter 4 Summary

Filed under: Chapter Summaries — Hillary @ 7:35 am

Public Relations publicists should always understand these values:

  1. Timeliness – make news as current as possible, relate your news to what other people are covering, relate news to holidays and special events
  2. Prominence – more people will be attracted to your news if you bring in some sort of big name. A celebrity of some sort will draw in more attention and crowds
  3. Proximity – always try and make it local that way people can relate more to it
  4. Significance – If it can affect a person physically or emotionally it is significant (such as global warming)
  5. Unusualness – Anything odd, weird or out of the ordinary will attract people to what you are saying. Be able to think outside of the box
  6. Human Interest – People love to read about other people and their lives (look at the tabloids)
  7. Conflict – Be aware of conflict because you may not want to cause too much attention to a controversial topic with your client
  8. Newness –  “old” news never sells. Search for any new product, service or good available.

To help with publicity one should do many amounts of research on that company or client. You want to be as familiar with them/it as you can. You can get this through internal documents or media coverage. You also want to check current affairs that can possibly affect the company and possibly bring in opportunities for that client.

Some tactics for generating news include:

  1. special events
  2. contests
  3. polls and surveys
  4. top 10 lists
  5. stunts
  6. product demonstrations
  7. rallies or protests
  8. personal appearances
  9. awards

Chapter 1 Summary (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis Wilcox)

Filed under: Chapter Summaries — Hillary @ 7:35 am

The biggest thing I took out of this chapter is BE ABLE TO KNOW HOW TO WRITE! Every person that has been a speaker to my communications class, or PR class, or journalism classes have all said this same thing. In every job, you will need to know how to write something. For example, my father works for the government and is with immigration services. He is the guy that literally goes out and busts aliens for not having their green card. Even he needs to know how to write a report…yes i said REPORT….to send to his boss on the different aliens. He tells me all the time along with every teacher I’ve had…be able to write, you will need to know how the rest of your life.

A great way to prepare your writing in an orderly and organized fashion, is the ability to use a computer. There are several programs on the computer that an individual at any job can use:

  • Word –  for creating different documents and writing up reports
  • Excel this program is used  for computing figures, such as accounting or making charts and graphs
  • Powerpoint – this program helps make presentations
  • Publisher – helps with kinds of newsletters
  • Outlook – assists with e-mail

Of course when writing articles, reports, ect. one will need some credible sources to quote and swear by. For such things, dictionaries, encyclopedias, scholarly journals and style books can be of great use. Search engines  off  of the internet can also help out in the source department. Websites such as Google, Yahoo, and Dogpile are all great ways to get sources and information needed for your writing.

There are some guidelines that are crucial to keeping your writing at best.   There are more than several of them but I will highlight just a few to make your writing as perfect as it can be:

  • Outline your purpose for your writing. Ask yourself the W’s. Who you’re sending the message to and why you’re writing this to begin with
  • Short Paragraphs are better than long and drawn out ones
  • According to Wilcox, journalists write stories based on a 4th to 6th grade reading level. Word choice is very important. Use simple words.
  • Get to the point by using active verbs and writing in a present tense
  • Use strong visual descriptions to get the reader’s attention and it also helps portray your story better

This is what i took away from Chapter 1. I hope this info was as useful to you as it was to me. Just following some of these simple guidelines are sure to bring the readers running to your work!