Public relations is all about engaging and building a relationship with key stakeholders through several platforms with the ultimate goal of shaping the public perception of an organization, cause or individual person. This process of influencing and framing is built on the diffusion of information, or content, and although in-person contact with the stakeholders is an important part of public relations, there are indispensable written formats that every professional should master in order to fulfill a successful PR strategy:
A news release, the backbone of public relations, is a written communication that reports specific but brief information about an event, circumstance, or other happening. It’s typically tied to a business or organization and its main purpose is to promote something significant and specific. Some press releases are available for “immediate release”, which means anyone can share the information as soon as the release is made public. Other releases are embargoed and the information they contain can only be published after the time limit.
A pitch letter is a way of drawing media coverage for a product or service. Individuals also use them to promote themselves as experts available for interviews. These short letters – usually no more than a page – attempt to persuade the recipient why he should cover the story and how it relates to his audience. Unlike press releases and other marketing materials, pitch letters are written to specific people rather than for the media as a whole. For small businesses, pitch letters can be an effective way to secure media coverage even when competing against companies with larger marketing budgets.
Calendar listings, as you might guess, contain information about upcoming events. These are usually sent to print and online publications, including blogs and websites, that cover and are interested in events. When possible, write the listing in the same format that the publication or website uses. If you’re not sure, you can use any format that suits your needs, providing information about “what”, “when”, “where”, “who” and “why” your event is being held.
A media advisory is a short announcement used to invite reporters to cover an activity or upcoming event, such as a press conference, opening or presentation. It should include details like the location, time and contact person, as well as practical information on parking and if food or drinks will be available. Media advisories are typically sent twice, the first time is a couple of weeks before the event, and the second time is one or two days before the event, and serves as a reminder.
Letter to the Editor
A letter to the editor, or LTE, is a letter sent to a publication about issues of concern from its readers. Usually, letters are intended for publication. In many publications, letters to the editor may be sent either through conventional mail or electronic mail. Letters to the editor are most frequently associated with newspapers and newsmagazines. However, they are sometimes published in other periodicals (such as entertainment and technical magazines), and radio and television stations. In the latter instance, letters are sometimes read on the air (usually, on a news broadcast or on talk radio). In that presentation form, it can also be described as viewer mail or listener mail, depending on the medium.