Mallory Boulware

This is a blog for PR Writing

Top Ten Things I learned in PR Writing (Final) April 22, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333 — mbboulware @ 10:26 am

Public Relations Advertising/Writing was very different than I originally expected. I did not realize the involvement that would be required. Although it was very time consuming, there were very many things that I learned. I have come up with a top ten list including the most prevalent things that I will be taking away from this class.

  1. I now know that social networking sites are your friend, especially for people that will be working in PR. I did not know about 4square or PR OpenMic prior to this class. Both of these sites have tools to help yo connect with people around you in a fun and easy way.
  2. I learned from guest-speaker Jeff Houck that face-to-face interaction is key to building relationships and getting your foot in the door. This does not necessarily mean meeting over coffee to discuss work-related material. It can mean having lunch person to person, discussing life in general.
  3. I learned that it is vital to know and fully understand AP Stlye. If you are in PR and make grammatical errors in your writing, especially press releases and such, you will be overlooked and your work will probably be sent to the trash. Do your homework and get everything right. It will make you look more credible and journalists will appreciate the time you are saving them.
  4. Social media news releases are a new way to give press releases. They offer links to other websites, graphics, videos and even audio clips that all help to enhance the release. They are also easier to find and generally open to public view, unlike traditional press releases.
  5. I found out, despite the fight I put up getting one, that Twitter is not as bad as I thought. It can actually be a quite helpful tool for getting information about events and simply networking with people. Twitter is a good way to get your name out there for people to see. Another thing it is good for is increasing your visivbility on search engines. Things like Twitter and PROpen Mic can help you boost your name to the top of the list.
  6. I learned a great deal about what annoys journalists. PR people often can get under their skin by making stupid mistakes. Check out my blog post, TOW13: How to Annoy a Journalist, to find out a little more on this topic.
  7. I learned that pictures really do speak 1,000 words. A visual such as an infographic can enhance a blog or promotion by drawing readers in. Pictures can also sometimes explain things better than words. For example, a map of Disney World is easier to understand than a page-long explanation about how to get around the park.
  8. I found out that commenting on people’s blogs are important for increasing the traffic to your own. It helps your visibility and allows people to respond to yours as well.
  9. There are many different ways for PR people to get information out. I learned how to prepare fact sheets, press releases, social media news releases, media kits and personality profiles. All of these things are vital for a PR professional to know about.
  10. Lastly, I learned that blogs should include pictures, bullets, hyperlinks and numbers to help break up monotony of text.

All of these things combined show that this class was a very effective tool for furthering my professional career. Thanks for reading!


Social Media News Release: Final Project April 20, 2010

Filed under: COMM 4333 — mbboulware @ 5:17 pm

Social media news releases are the growing rage for PR people. A social media news release is essentially a news release prepared for the Internet.  They can include links to other websites, videos, audio clips and pictures/graphics to really grab the interest of the reader. SMNR’s go above and beyond the traditional news release by appealing and being available to journalists as well as bloggers, podcasters, devoted readers and the general public.

According to Social Media Training, Tom Foremski wrote a post in 2006, entitled Die Press Release, Die Die Die, in which he introduced the idea of social media news releases. In it he explained the need for more than just “useless and artificial” traditional news releases. He gave PR practitioners a challenge to make the old style of press releases more interesting and media-integrated.  He wanted these new press releases to be able to be split into sections with tagged categories.

Todd Defren  thus provided a template for the social media news releases and in 2008 IABC said they would try to develop standards for such types of releases.

There are many advantages to using social media news releases. Unlike original styled press releases, they are easy to connect with and more readily available to get a hold of. They are also easy to share and can provide more information than a general news release because of all of the things that it can link to.

One disadvantage to the growing popularity of such resources might be that people who are not web-savvy will be missing out on the information they might have received in a traditional press release.

PR practitioners should consider using these because of the growing popularity of web-users. Social networking sites are constantly growing which means that people are more likely to share this kind of information via Internet than ever before. Social media news releases are another way to keep up with the growing demand of getting information in the form of the web. Paper is no longer a necessity; so another advantage to using these is the fact that paper can be saved. This in turn means that journalists will have less to thumb through and keep on their desks.

One website to keep in mind when preparing a social media news release is PitchEngine. This website is used by several big-name companies including McDonald’s, Kmart, Ford Racing, Mattel, Dove, Coca-Cola and many more.

Here is an example of Ford’s SMNR.

Another website that will help you create one is Pressitt. This website is user-friendly and will guide you in making the social media news release you are looking for.

If the other two websites aren’t what you’re looking for when creating a social media news release, try out PRX Builder.

When creating an SMNR, it is a good idea to implement the following things:

  1. Include many links
  2. Make your headline catchy
  3. Share your release online
  4. Include video/audio and graphics
  5. Tag social media sites
  6. Post them on your company blog
  7. Have a space for comments

This list is referenced with Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

Hopefully all of these tools and tips will get you where you need to be when creating or understanding a social media news release.

My information was obtained from the following websites:


Chapter 15 Reading Notes

Filed under: COMM 4333,Reading Notes — mbboulware @ 3:54 pm

These notes come from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

Giving Speeches and Presentations

1. First you must determine the objective.

2. The objective must then be supported by key messages to emphasize throughout the speech.

3. There must also be a strategy, which is basically the setting and tone of the speech.

4. When giving a speech, you must always:

  • know your objective
  • structure the message for the ear
  • tailor remarks to the audience
  • give specifics
  • keep it timely and short
  • give gestures and eye contact

Chapter 14 Reading Notes

Filed under: COMM 4333,Reading Notes — mbboulware @ 3:49 pm

These notes come from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals

1. Follow these basic guidelines to communicate effectively with your readers:

  • Completeness- information must serve a purpose
  • Conciseness- be as brief as possible
  • Correctness- you have to be accurate in everything you write
  • Courtesy- writing should be polite, but not effusive, personal, but not overly familiar
  • Responsibility- You are representing your employer or client so be in accordance with their policies

2.  A memorandum (memo) is a brief written message, usually a page or less in length

3. In many cases, a potential client will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP). A typical one will include:

  • the background and capabilities of the firm
  • the client’s situation
  • goals and objectives of the proposed program
  • key messages
  • basic strategies and tactics
  • general time line of activities
  • proposed budget
  • how success will be measured
  • a description of the team that will handle the account
  • a summary of why the firm should be selected to implement the program

Chapter 13 Reading Notes

Filed under: COMM 4333,Reading Notes — mbboulware @ 3:41 pm

These notes come from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

1. Newsletters are cost effective, easy to produce and can reach any number of small, specialized audiences

2. A publication’s design should reinforce the content and also reflect the organization’s personality.

3. Layout is a plan showing the arrangement of the material in the publication–the size and location of such items as:

  • stories
  • regularly appearing columns
  • headlines
  • photographs
  • artwork

4. Keep these things in mind when doing the layout for a newsletter or magazine:

  • use white space
  • vary paragraph length
  • break up longer stories with boldface subheads
  • create bulleted lists
  • use only 2 or 3 typefaces
  • keeps articles relatively short for maximum interest
  • inside pages should balance on another
  • use headlines that give information

Chapter 12 Reading Notes

Filed under: COMM 4333,Reading Notes — mbboulware @ 3:26 pm

These notes come from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

1. The media has traditionally has had the following characteristics:

  • it is centralized
  • it costs a lot of money to become a publisher
  • it is staffed by professional gatekeepers (editors and publishers)
  • it features mostly one-way communication with limited feedback channels

2. The new media is characterized by:

  • widespread broadband
  • cheap/free, easy-to-use online publishing tools
  • new distribution channels
  • mobile devices
  • new advertising paradigms

3. Here are some tips for writing on the web:

  • Write the way you talk
  • Limit each page to a single concept
  • Use a lot of bullet-point lists
  • Make sure each page provides the context readers need
  • Limit the use of italics and boldface
  • Don’t overuse hyperlinks within narrative text
  • Make sure your hyperlinks are relevant
  • Provide feedback options for readers

Chapter 11 Reading Notes

Filed under: COMM 4333,Reading Notes — mbboulware @ 3:19 pm

These notes come from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox

1. PR people and journalists have a love-hate relationship. Areas of friction are on the PR side include:

  • Excessive hype
  • Not doing their “homework”
  • Making a nuisance of themselves

2. Areas of friction on the journalist side include:

  • Name calling
  • Sloppy/biased reporting
  • Tabloid sensationalism

3. Regular one-on-one contact with journalists help keep the relationship smooth by:

  • Increasing visibility
  • Increasing consumer awareness
  • Increasing sales