Good writing is crucial in the public relations profession. We have learned in your class that there is almost always a particular format to any kind of PR material that would be sent out by a firm or company. If a PR professional did not adhere to the right format, he or she would lose credibility and come off as amateurish. Credibility is a key factor in whether public relations as a whole are effective or not. Companies and businesses use publicists and PR practitioners to communicate messages to a public. If the message is not credible, than that in turn makes the company start to build a bad reputation.
Public relations are often defined as a management function. At first I found this definition confusing, but now I see that public relations and the writing involved with it, manages communication for clientele. Clients need PR to effectively communicate their messages to target audiences. Writing is clearly the main factor in the process of communication. PR practitioners need to use copy to appeal to audiences and grab their attention. Even if the message is simply to inform and not persuade, the writing should still be compelling. It is definitely a skill that comes with practice, and the skill of being compelling also has to be combined with using correct grammar and syntax along with format in PR. If your copy does not use correct grammar or format, it will most likely get thrown out and not used. Good writing is not only important, it is a necessity.
Writing is the most important skill in public relations (PR).
The main focus of the profession is to gain and maintain mutually beneficial relationships between an institution and its publics. In order to establish a link, communication is an essential key to keep a two-way relationship. There’s always verbal and visual communication, but written word is the most common form of communication in PR.
News releases, pitches, press kits, and annual reports require excellent writing free from grammatical errors. A news release full of incorrect capitalization, spelling, and punctuation can turn off a reader. Why read work that has no credibility?
Being able to gain the trust of the public can rely on catching their attention and earning their trust. This can be done through persuasive writing. A PR professional should be able to write persuasive pieces in the correct manner as not to offend or mislead the reader. Maintaining the trust of the public can be done by communicating effectively and informing them of issues that are relevant in the most efficient way possible.
Writing is key. There isn’t effective communication where there isn’t effective writing.
Good writing is an essential tool in the success of any profession but especially in the field of public relations. The written word is so powerful and since these professionals are the liaison between a client and their target audience, it is vital they have a strong foundation in writing. Whether you are trying to inform, persuade, or simply entertain, it is crucial to do so clearly, concisely, and effectively. Influencing the public opinions or attitudes, generating goodwill, and being able to promote a positive image for your client and their customers are only but a few of many jobs in the public relations profession.
I believe good writing is much more than being able to create sentences by merely putting words on a page. Moreover, good writing begins with an awareness and knowledge about the world and your surroundings. Clear writing is clear thinking. Once you publish a written document, it becomes permanent; thus, representing your client as well as your personal reputation. Doing thorough research, staying connected, and most importantly, being able to take complex ideas and formulate them into a simple, yet comprehensive message is imperative to the success of the public relations profession.
As Public Relations is a communicable profession, it would not exist without writing! And of course, anyone who wants to be taken seriously and seen as professional must know how to write well.
There are so many messages available to the public. Already people have to sort their way through hundreds of messages a day, discarding most of them. In order to reach your target audience, you must be able to create a clear and concise message. If the information is too difficult to understand, the audience will lose interest and search elsewhere.
A Public Relations professional aims to keep a balanced connection between an organization and its publics. If a message is confusing or filled with jargon, the channel can be disrupted and or misconstrued. Good communication leads to good relations.
A well written and managed message gives credibility to the author as well. A carefully edited publication puts trust in partners and publics. The work is demonstrative of the care and reliability of the producer. People want to do business with reliable people!
In my own personal opinion, I am often frustrated by the lack of care, enthusiasm and even intelligence that goes into writing. We are spiraling into an age that values education and precision less and less. Our standards are declining rapidly. I will openly admit that I myself fall victim to lazy days and last-minute assignments, but I will not say they are characteristic of my work! And in some case, I think I’ve even become lazy from the lack of discipline. Does quality even exist anymore?? Hardly, I would say.
But to see progress the blame cannot be laid solely on other causes. We as Public Relations professionals and PEOPLE must look at where we can improve. Only then can change happen.
Writing can help one do well in the PR profession. Good writing, can help one be one of the best in the profession.This is why good writing is an essential tool and skill one must possess in order to be a successful PR professional. It is not something that is aquired throughout a few years of education or work. Good writing can always be practiced, and eventually transformed, into even better writing, but never perfection.That is just the way it works, and we cannot be afraid to attempt it. Throughout time, it will become our friend and personal assistent, rather than our enemy.
As we already know, Public Relations is all about communicating words, thoughts, and messages. It is about maintaining a mutual understanding between a client and it’s publics. The PR person must be able to take complex or scattered messages and condense them into material that is concise, simple, and comprehensible. Public Relations plays a very important role in the success or failure of a company. With this occupation, communication is key. While speaking is a good form of communication, writing is an even better one. Written words and messages allow time for clarity and perfection, as long as good writing is the backbone of the pieces constructed. Good writing will assist any PR person in reaching their intended audience and cause them to be attentive, listen, and learn. This listening and learning may also lead to intended actions as well. When the intended action step is completed, the PR person can once again, owe a job-well-done to his or her good writing skills. After some time, that person may come to realize that good writing is truly their key to success in the PR profession. Whether messages are typed out or hand-written, the good writing tool can always be utilized. A prior knowledge and understanding of the world around us, can help us to construct well written pieces of work. Research, is another important aspect that can assist PR professionals in writing well. Once all research is conducted and data is collected, thoughts can begin being created. These thoughts will soon desire to transform into words. This is where good writing steps in and takes over. If the PR person is a good writer, this step should be easy to complete and end up as a successful completetion. In my opinion, no matter how technologically advanced our world may become, good writing will forever remain a key aspect in being a successful, effective person in the PR profession.
The PR profession is all about writing. If you cannot write well, then you ought to consider a different profession. Writing is the primary tool for effective communication in PR.
In all aspects of PR, a good writer must be able to relay a client’s message clearly and concisely. What does this mean?
Clarity: As writers, we must be mindful that many stakeholders who may be part of the intended audience may not necessarily understand all the industry jargon, so it is important to be able to relay a corporate message in understandable and simple terms. We may also be limited in the amount of space or time that we are permitted, so we must be able to develop clear and succinct messages. Eliminating some information, while still getting the message across effectively, is the key to being clear in the delivery of any message.
Being Concise: I touched upon this a little bit in my explanation of why it is important to be clear when writing, but it is also important to be concise. Not only may we be limited in the space or time we are permitted, but we also do not want to waste anyone’s time. Time is money. People aren’t going to read paragraphs upon paragraphs embellishing on a simple statement that could have been shortened to just that, a simple statement.
There are so many other aspects to consider when becoming a PR writer, such as who is the intended audience, what is your purpose, what is the message, what medium(s) will you be utilizing, etc., but I still think the two most important parts of being a good PR writer is the ability to deliver any message clearly and concisely.
Do they still give the Elements of Style to freshmen? They should. William Zinsser’s On Writing Well should be on the shelves of every campus bookstore. So should Fowler (he must be out of copyright by now; great opportunity for a e-book). And Orwell. Students, look them up!
No offense to any of your students, Les, and no offense to you, my brother, but they also need to learn, “Edit, edit, edit and, when you are done, edit some more.”
To create a learning community:
1. To continue learning by blogging for current and former students and friends.
2. To help prepare my students for successful participation in the social media revolution (and me, too).
3. To enable my current and former students and friends to help me be a better instructor.
4. To connect current and former students with my incredible network of professional friends and colleagues, and vice versa.
Lester R. Potter, MBA, ABC, IABC Fellow, is a Senior Lecturer in the PR Track, Mass Comm. department, of Towson University, Maryland. He is "ABD" (all but dissertation) for a doctorate in Instructional Technology at Towson.
He began his academic career in 2004. Previously, Potter was president of Les Potter Incorporated, an international consulting firm he founded in 1998. Prior to that, he held various integrated marketing communication management positions with for profit and nonprofit organizations.
Email Les at email@example.com