Chapter 12: Tapping the Web and New Media
This chapter is all about the Internet. The aspect discussed in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 6th ed. by Dennis Wilcox that stood out to me the most is the rise of social media. Between my Facebook, blog, Twitter, and PR OpenMic, I can safety say I am an expert when it comes to interacting with people through the Internet’s social media networks. Conversations that emerge from using these websites are exciting and fun which draws people in. As a soon to be PR professional, social media lets me listen to others in the field discuss and contemplate PR issues which helps me know what is going on in the PR world. All social media sites allow organizations to communicate directly with people who use their products/services or are interested in using an organization’s product/service.
For this blog post, I am going to focus on the aspects of blogging. Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 6th ed. by Dennis Wilcox outlines 3 different types of blogs that are used by many different individuals- PR professionals, organizations, students, average working class people, etc.
- Written by an executive and represents that official voice of the organization
- Provide opportunities for the public to post comments
- Provide useful information that the audience can use
- Gives human face to the organization and builds brand awareness
- Great sources of feedback, ideas, and employee engagement
- May have restrictions depending on employer
- May not be allowed depending on employer
- This blog!
- Monitored by the PR department of companies
Chapter 11: Getting Along With Journalists
I couldn’t have read this chapter in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 6th ed. by Dennis Wilcox at a better time. While researching different jobs that I could possibly pursue, the main characteristic that stood out to me was that as a PR professional, you have to have the ability to get along with journalists. PR people serve as the primary contact between their client and the media creating he relationship between public relations and journalism.
PR people feed journalists the information and research they need to write thier stories. Most information that is seen in the media comes from public relations personnel. Journalists use the term, “spokesperson”, to refer to the public relations people they get all their information from.
With any relationship, there are areas of friction. Between public relations personnel and journalist there are 5 examples of friction:
- Hype and News Release Spam
- Name Calling
- Sloppy/Biased Reporting
- Tabloid Journalism
- Advertising Influence
Chapter 10: Distributing News to the Media
Figuring out what media channels to use when deciding where to distribute information is vital to public relations practitioners. Publicity materials are most commonly distributed using e-mail, online newsrooms, electronic newswires, feature placement firms, or photo placement firms. According to Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th edition by Dennis Wilcox, It is important to note that each of these channels has advantages and disadvantages.
- Advantages: less intrusive than a phone call, more convenient for reader, easy to engage in an e-mail dialogue
- Disadvantages: not getting noticed in a high traffic inbox, spamming
- Advantages: often the first place journalists turn to for basic information about an organization, product, or service
- Disadvantages: information may no be frequently updated
- Advantages: timely, immediate delivery of a large amount of material via a website that can be easily accessed by everyone in the news department
- Disadvantages: Costly
-Feature Placement Firms
- Advantages: can reach suburban newspapers and small weeklies, remains relevant over period of time
- Disadvantages: don’t allow creativity
-Photo Placement Firms:
- Advantages: distribute high-resolution publicity photos on an international basis, make it possible to index images for access by search engines
- Disadvantages: none noted
Among the five distribution channels noted, there are many more to consider. It is esential to learn about each outlet for news distribution because it varies from audience to audience.
Chapter 9: Writing for Radio and Television
Public relations writers use radio and television in order to reach a wide variety and large amounts of audiences. Maintaining these radio and television audiences require writing for the ear, audio and visual elements and satellite/digital communications to conduct media tours.
-Cost-effective way to reach a large number of people in various age, ethnic and income group.
-RNR (Radio News Release):
- Must be written so it can be easily read by announcer and clearly understood by listener
- Must fit message into a rigid time frame
- Use a more conversational style
- Emphasis strong, short sentences
-ANR (Audio News Release):
- A pre-recorded news announcement sent to a radio station
- Two forms: actuality and soundbite
- Length is around 60 seconds
- Must notify the news department that an ANR is available
-PSA (Public Service Announcements):
- An unpaid announcement that promotes the programs of government or nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest
- Must be timely, creative, and of high recording quality to stand a chance of being used
- 15-30 seconds in length
- Mailed or e-mailed to to the station’s director of public or community affairs
-RMT (Radio Media Tours):
- A spokesperson conducting a series of around-the-country, one-on-one interviews from one central location
- Low cost
-VNR (Video News Release):
- Large organizations seeking enhanced recognition for their names, products, causes and services are primary clients
- 4-6 weeks to create and distribute quality VNR
- Finished tape that can be broadcast
- Highly technical
- Not time-sensitive
-PSA (Public Service Announcement):
- Use well-recognized celebrity or spokesperson
-SMT (Satellite Media Tour):
- Series of pre-booked, one-on-one interviews from a fixed location via satellite with a series of television journalists and, sometimes, talk show hosts
- Two talking heads- news anchor and spokesperson
It is important for public relations practitioners to know how to connect to audiences using radio and television because if done improperly, your message can be taken the wrong way or simply ignored. It is also essential for you to make sure the issue at hand will be important to your audience before creating any of the above.
From the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 6th ed. by Dennis Wilcox
Chapter 8: Selecting Publicity Photos and Graphics
I am finally starting to really get interested in what I am learning from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis Wilcox because we’re finally getting into techniques and tools used by publicists. Which by now if you have been reading my blog is my ideal/dream job.
Applying this chapter to a job where I would represent celebrity clients is going to be my main focus when reviewing this chapter. Publicity photos are used in the media to add interest to a topic and create excitement in an audience. When representing a high profile client that has been caught up in a negative media firestorm, a good publicity photo can help ease an unfavorable public opinion.
In my opinion, a photograph’s composition, camera angle and lighting are the three most important aspects when taking a photo to depict a person in a positive way.
- Composition: The picture should be focused on the individual being featured, instead of complicated background images. This allows the audience to see a person for what they are, a human being, just like them. If an audience can identify with a high profile celebrity with a negative reputation they will be more likely to begin accepting them.
- Camera angle: Certain camera angles, such as an extreme close up, can be useful when managing a person’s image. It shows the audience an up close and personal take on a person, minus material things that are so often captured when photographing celebrities.
- Lighting: The lighting that exists in a photograph has an effect on the emotions a picture can evoke in an audience. It can be used to highlight a key element in a photograph. In this case, a person’s facial expression.
This picture of Heidi Montag after negative press surrounding her multiple plastic surgery procedures illustrates all of the elements listed above:
Chapter 7: Creating News Features and Op-ed
For starters, the major difference between a regular news release and feature story is that news releases tend to just stick to the basics whereas feature stories go a lot further. Feature stories provide: additional background information, create more human interest and appeal and have the ability to produce understanding in a imaginative way. Writing feature stories definitely appeals to me a lot more than writing a news release. I have always been on the creative side and don’t like things that can be perceived as boring. My brain has never been the best at thinking logically and analytically when it comes to expressing ideas, more often than not I rely heavily on my intuition and creativity. Although feature stories appear to be more “fluff” news, they still provide the audience with facts.
It is essential that all feature stories have the potential to do the following:
- Provide more information to the consumer
- Give background and context about organizations
- Provide behind-the-scenes perspective
- Give a human dimension to situations and events
- Generate publicity for standard products and services
Because of my aspiration to be a publicist upon graduating college, learning about what a feature story is interesting to me. As a publicist, I will have to possess the ability to create entertaining stories about my clients to boost thier public appeal. Although it will probably take a while for me to have the opportunity to represent people and manage thier image to the public, I will still be able to polish my skills in feature stories at a lot of other PR jobs.
According to Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques 6th ed. by Dennis Wilcox, An op-ed is an article that presents a variety of views on current news events, governmental policies, pending legislation, and social issues. Op-ed’s are a great tool for reaching the “influentials” of a community.
A few tips for writing an effective op-ed are:
- Focus on one central idea or theme
- 400-750 word articles are preferred by daily newspapers
- Never deviate from your principal point
- Use short, declarative sentences
- Avoid using passive tense, active verbs are more powerful
- Never use “I”
Chapter 6: Preparing Fact Sheets, Advisories, Media Kits, and Pitches
This chapter from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 6th ed. by Dennis Wilcox was educational because no matter what field of public relations you work in, it is essential to know what goes into a media kit and the process of distributing them to different companies or newspapers. Putting together a media kit gives you an opportunity to use some creativity instead of using straight facts like you would in a fact sheet, advisory and pitch.
Media kits are prepared for editors and reporters to help them write about a major event or new product launch. Media kits include:
- A main news release
- A news feature
- Fact sheets on the product, organization, or event
- Background information
- Photos and drawings with captions
- Biographical material on the spokesperson or senior executive
- Basic brochures
Every media kit varies for different events or products, which adds a little spice to creating one. I personally think that the most captivating part of the media kit is bright and colorful pictures with captions that will catch the eye of editors and reporters so they want to know more about what you are promoting because it appeals to them visually. The main goal is to create a media kit that is not boring and plain, but not overly expressive. Recently, electronic media kits have become more and more popular which makes it harder to be creative when everything has to be in a certain electronic template. A major plus of an electronic media kit are that it can reach a wider audience of consumers and it costs less than a traditional media kit.