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The PR Path: An Overview for Freelance Writers
Friday, October 12, 2012 (All day)

If you enjoy using your writing skills to build strong relationships, PR writing may be for you. The experts at the Canadian Public Relations Society and the Public Relations Society of America emphasize that’s what the field is all about—communications processes that build mutually beneficial relationships.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, read on for examples of what you might write if you explore the PR path.

Annual Reports
Annual reports provide information about an organization’s activities and financial situation. Good annual reports keep stakeholders informed with accurate information and can help build confidence in the organization.

News Releases
A traditional news release is an announcement directed to members of the news media, in hopes of earning media coverage. It must be accurate, timely and newsworthy. Increasingly, companies are using news releases as online content that generates traffic through organic search engine results. In this case, news releases reach various publics directly, bypassing traditional media outlets.

Bios explain who a person is, what their qualifications are and what they have achieved. Short bios of 75 words or less are often used as speaker introductions and in written promotional materials. Longer bios may be used if your publics want more detail, for example, if you anticipate in-depth media coverage.

Fact Sheets
A fact sheet is a brief presentation of important information on a topic, product or service. Often, the fact sheet is a single page in length, and presents information in bullet points or another format that is easy to scan.

Many business leaders take on speaking engagements to raise their company’s profile and keep stakeholders informed. A writer who can consistently create great speeches is a valuable asset to these leaders. If you’d like to know what makes a speech great, see Kim Lear’s post on the topic.

Social Media Content
The rise of social media tools has had a significant impact on public relations. Blog writing is a common public relations strategy, and you may be called on to create posts ranging from short 300-word updates to longer 800-word educational pieces. In addition to blogs, a wide variety of micro-blogging platforms and social networks are increasingly used as public relations tools. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.

If this type of writing interests you, the links below will help you learn more about the public relations field and how to break in.
Canadian Public Relations Society
Public Relations Society of America
International Association of Business Communicators
Statistics Canada Overview of Public Relations in Canada

Getting Started in Public Relations Writing
On October 23, PWAC Toronto Chapter is hosting a panel discussion with Alix Edmiston, Virve Tremblay and Susan Crossman. These three seasoned PR professionals will tell us more about what type of PR writing organizations need, what pay rates you can expect to earn, and how to break in and land your first clients. If you’re not in Toronto, follow us on twitter with the #pwacpanel hashtag.

Karen Luttrell is a PR consultant, marketer and communicator. The owner of Karen Luttrell Communications, she writes for non-profits in health, education, poverty and equality.


- Karen Luttrell


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