Chapter 1: Writing for Public Relations

by clarkstrategiccomm

Public relations is, to my understanding, an umbrella term for a job that helps a company or organization maintain a relationship with its publics or audiences and help them mutually adapt to each other. Public Relations involves a range of jobs such as dealing with media, settling disputes between a client and the public, advocacy, and so on. Although there are many terms within the profession, there are a limited number of actual functions in these roles. Four models were proposed by Grunig and Hunt of public relations that seem to stand true: press agentry/publicity, public information, two-way symmetric, and two-way asymmetric. PR duties can also be divided between being a communications manager (elevate PR campaigns) and communications technicians (provide support through writing). Although the technician is generally the writer, that doesn’t mean that there is no writing involved in communications managing—employers want people who can write and communicate well.
Public Relations writing is meant to establish a positive relationship between an organization and its publics. This can be done through either uncontrolled (information that is in control of the outlet it is sent to) or controlled (information you have total control over) public relations writing. Though there are pros and cons to both, using a combination of both information types is best. There are many public relations tools a professional can use, from news releases, PSAs, annual reports, speeches, and so on. These tools, however, are only effective when used with experience, research, and intuition. No matter what method, all public relations writing must be written well and relate to the purpose, strategy, medium, and format of the subject and task at hand. Typically, PR writing is used to inform or persuade, and the strategy depends on the specific purpose. The medium used effects the format of the writing, intermingling all elements of public relations writing.