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FSU PUR 3000 - Public Relations Writing

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Writing for the Eye and the EarWriting for the eye must be able to withstand the most rigorous scrutinyListener only gets one opportunity to hear/comprehend messageFool Proof, 4 part formula for writers1. The idea must precede the expressionWriting requires ideas and ideas require thoughts; think first2. Don’t be afraid of the draft3. Simplify, ClarifyIn writing, the simpler the betterThey key to clarity is tightness; each word/passage/paragraph must belong4. Must be aimed at particular audienceFlesch Readability Formula-thru a variety of writing he staged a one-man battle against pomposity and murkiness of writing-believed anyone can write and that those who write the way they talk will be able to write betterHis 7 suggestions:Use contractionsLeave out “that” whenever possibleUse pronounsWhen referring back to a noun, repeat it or use pronoun. Don’t create eloquent substitutionsUse brief, clear sentencesCover only 1 item per paragraphUse language the reader understandsYlisela Cornerstones of Corporate Writing-Jim Ylisela says the reason most corporate writing is dull is cause writers themselves are “fearful” to express themselves forcefully.Says secret is to make words count:Be specificUse more wordsFind better verbsPurse active voiceOmit needless wordsEmbrace simplicity/clarityTell a good storyFind interesting voicesTake chancesRewriteThe Inverted Pyramid-journalistic writing style is the flesch/ylisela approach in action .Inverted pyramid--> the first tier, or lead, of the story is the first one or two paragraphs, which include the most important facts. From there, paragraphs are written in descending order of importance, with progressively less important facts presented as the article continues.Lead is the most critical element, usually answer who, what, when, where, and occasionally how.Ex: “Columbia pictures announced today that it has signed Britney Spears to a three-film deal for $60 million each.Therefore, the inverted pyramid is more the selection and organization of facts than its an exercise in creative writing.The News ReleaseValuable but much-maligned device. The “granddaddy” of PR writing vehicles.The first recorded one was by Ivy Lee as a “Statement of the Road” offering an explanation from client Penn. Railroad about that month’s crashes that killed 50 ppl.PR professionals swear by it because everyone uses the news release as the basic interpretative mechanism to let people know what an organization is doing; there is no better, clearer, more persuasive wayMay be written as a document of record to state an organizations official position (ex-in a court case or announcing price change), but more frequently, release have one overriding purpose: to influence a publication to write favorably about the material discussedWhy do some editors and others describe news releases as “worthless drivel”? According to researcher Linda Morton:1. Releases are poorly writtenUsually written in a more complicated style than most news-paper stories2. Releases are rarely localizedNewspapers focus largely on hometown or regional developments. The more localized a news release, the greater the chance of it being used. However, Morton-> “PR actioners may not want to do the additional work that localization requires.”Research indicates that a news release is 10 times more likely to be used if its localized.3. Releases are not news worthyWhat determines whether something is news? Morton says;Impact: major announcement that affects an organization, its community, or societyOddity: an unusual occurrence or milestone, such as the one-millionth costumer being signed onConflict: a significant controversyKnown principal: the greater the title of the individual making the announcement—prez---the greater the chance of the release being usedProximity: how localized the release is or how timely it is, relative to the news of the dayBeyond these, human interest stories, which touch on an emotional experience, are regularly considered news worthy.News Release Contentthe cardinal rule in release content is that the end product must be newsworthymust be objectiveall comments and remarks must be attributed to organization officialsNews Release EssentialsRationale-->should be relevant to readers and viewersFocus-->each release should speak only of one central subjectFacts--> most important thing to a journalistNo puffery (hyperbole)Nourishing quotesLimit jargonCompany descriptionBrevitySpelling, grammar, punctuationHeadlinesClarity, conciseness, commitmentBest releases are straightforward, understated, confidentWriting Internet news releases*majority of journalists prefer to receive news release via email*brevity and succinctness are paramount*reading from a screen is more difficult than paper therefore internet news release writing must conform to the following:one reporter per “to” line in emaillimit subject line headers (limit to 4-6 words)boldface “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” (right above date)hammer home the headline (email headline should be boldface; 10 words or less)limit length-->should be shorter than print. Avg print release is 500 words, so lessobserve 5W formatno attachmentslink to the URL--> accompanying info like photos, bios, backgrounders, etc should be linked in the email to the organizations URLRemember readability--> use devices that make the release more eye-friendly and scannable (i.e bullets, lists)*Writing for the eye traditionally has ranked among the strongest areas for PR professionals.*The key to writing for listening is to write as if you are speakingI. Writing for the eye1. The Media Kit (journalists have little patience for being overwhelmed with extraneous material, so with news release, in media kits, less is more)BiographyStraight Bio: lists factual info in straightforward way in descending order of importance with company-oriented facts preceding personal onesNarrative Bio: more informal. Gives spark and vitality to the bio and therefore makes the individual come to life; becomes like a speech.The BackgrounderProvides additional info generally to complement the news release; can embellish announcement or they can discuss the institution making the announcement, or any appropriate topic that will assist a journalist in writing the story.As long as it catches the interest of the editor, any style is permissible.Fact Sheets, Q&A, Photos, etc.Info that will help journalist tell a story without beng delayed with voicemails and phone


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