Public relations writing
T he ability to write easily, logically, and succinctly is essential for public relations. The object of most PR writing is to grab the reader’s attention, convey information quickly, and invite the media to cover your story.
Most press releases and other written communications for the media use an inverted-pyramid style, with the most important and relevant information at the top, followed by gradually less important information. The headline and the first sentence are the two most important parts of a press release. Make sure they’re compelling enough to draw in the editor or reporter.
The five Ws
Include the five Ws in your first paragraph, ideally in the first sentence:
- Who? The main focus of your story; a person or group at the center of the story
- What? The event or project with which your club is involved
- Where? The location of the event, including a street address
- When? The time, day, and date of an event, or the time period involved for a person or project
- Why? The reason the event, person, or project is significant to the general public
In subsequent paragraphs, provide details about the event or project, or describe how the person or group achieved something extraordinary.
Beyond the press release
Rotarians can communicate stories to the media in many other ways, such as:
- Media alerts
Time-crunched newsrooms appreciate a media alert, a more condensed version of a press release. Ideal for upcoming events or reminders, just answer the five Ws in bullet format, and send the alert to media contacts.
- Letters to the editor
The editorial page is one of the most-read sections of the newspaper, and a letter can reach many people. Use the templates from RI to get started.
An op-ed is an opinion piece written by an individual who isn’t on the newspaper’s staff. Before writing an op-ed for your paper, learn what topics are of interest to your community.
- Media kits
Prepare a special folder that holds general information about Rotary and your club as well as materials tailored to the event.
Fact sheets provide details about Rotary programs to ensure that journalists have accurate background information.