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The Public Relations Writer's Handbook: The Digital Age, 2nd Edition

Merry Aronson, Don Spetner, Carol Ames

ISBN: 978-0-787-98631-5 April 2007 Jossey-Bass 368 Pages


The second edition of the Public Relations Writer’s Handbook offers a simple, step-by-step approach to creating a wide range of writing, from basic news releases, pitch letters, biographies, and media alerts, to more complex and sophisticated speeches, media campaign proposals, crisis responses, and in-house publications. In addition, the thoroughly expanded and updated second edition shows how to keep up with the best practices of the public relations profession, as well as with the speed made possible and required by the digital age.

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1. Public Relations Goes Digital ~MS.

A Few Words About the Truth.

A Few Words About Grammar.

E-Mail Is Not Private; E-Mail Is Forever.

A Few Words About Style.

Chapter Recap.

2. News Releases, Photo Captions, and Media Kits: Making Your Story Newsworthy.

Inverted-Pyramid News Style.

Trade Versus Consumer Press.

Adjusting Your Style: Consumer Versus Trade.

Before You Write.


Conforming to a Standard Style.


The Appointment Release.

The Product Release.

Lifestyle, Trend, and Survey Releases.

Localizing a National Release.

The Delayed or Feature-Style Lead.


Photos, Samples, and Review Copies.

Style and Form.

The Q&A.


Media Kits.


Chapter Recap.

3. The Pitch: Creating Media Interest.

Stage One: Analyze the Subject, and Identify the Target.

Stage Two: Call the Editor.

Stage Three: Write Your Pitch.

Stage Four: Follow Up.

Chapter Recap.

4. The Biography and Backgrounder: Bringing Your Subject to Life.




Writing the Bio.

Fact Sheets.

Time Lines.


Chapter Recap.

5. Speech Writing: From Your Pen to Their Lips.

Speech Writing I: Eleven Steps.

Speech Writing II: Technical Guidelines.

Chapter Recap.

6. Multimedia and PowerPoint Presentations.

Illuminating Difficult Subjects.

The Script.

Coordinating Text and Slides.

Impact and Continuity.

Putting It All Together: Rehearsal.

Audiovisual Presentations.

Chapter Recap.

7. Writing for Broadcast: Communicating with Video and Sound.

Pitch Letters and News Releases.

Creating Scripts for Electronic Media Kits.

Chapter Recap.

8. Special Events: The Art of Getting Noticed.

News Conference.

Press Junket.

Publicity Tour.

Chapter Recap.

9. Financial Writing.

Learn the Basics of Business.

Follow SEC Reporting Requirements.

Confidentiality and Insider Trading.

Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure).

Investor Relations Department.

Plain English: The Official Style of the SEC.

Business Release.

Quarterly Earnings Release.

Quarterly Conference Call.

Annual Report.

Annual Meeting.

Chapter Recap.

10. Publications: The Editorial Stage.

Editorial Considerations.


Corporate Brochures.

Assigning Stories.

Establishing Editorial Guidelines.

Other Concerns: Format, Timeliness, Style, Approvals, and Copyright.


Files and File Copies.

Chapter Recap.

11. Writing for the Internet.

E-Mail, Instant Messaging, Paging, and Wireless Internet.

Web Sites.

Blogs and the Blogosphere.

Chapter Recap.

12. Responsive Writing: Setting the Record Straight.

Letters to the Editor.

Web Responses.

Guest Editorials.

Chapter Recap.

13. Crisis Communications and Official Statements:Preparing for a Crisis.

Official Statements.

Talking Points.

Crisis Media Plan.

Anticipating Needs in a Crisis.


Crisis Releases.

Minimizing Negative Reports.

  Threatened or Ongoing Litigation / Chapter Recap.

14. Program Writing: Selling Your Concept to the Client.

Structure of a Public Relations Program.

Introduction or Situation Analysis.


Target Audiences.



Management, Staffing, Administration, Tracking, and Evaluation.


Chapter Recap.

Appendix A: Research and Interview Techniques.

Appendix B: Grammar References.