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"Writing for the Ear"

Getting your public relations message on the air is important to most PR campaigns -- "writing for the ear" is some of the most important PR writing you will do. Most people get their news from radio and television. As readership of newspapers continues to decline, broadcast audiences just keep growing.

Some of my students have told me they never listen to radio. That's useful information for my research into the 19-to-21-year-old demographic. But as you will learn from this report by Nielsen, "State Of The Media: Audio Today 2014," those students are not typical of the all-important Millennials demo (18-34). (Download full report here)

Of all the broadcast media -- newspapers, magazines, the Internet, radio and television, the most "believed" is television. Studies show that a story on the TV news has more credibility than the same story in newsprint. This is probably because of human nature -- "seeing is believing."

Also, of all the media -- newspapers, magazines, the Internet, radio and television, the biggest audiences are those for radio. Think about how many radios you have in your life. Think about how often you listen to radio (or at least have a radio playing in the background). Whether driving, exercising, studying, hanging out with friends, waking up in the morning or falling asleep at night -- there's hardly a time when you don't have a radio beaming messages at you -- and the target audiences you are trying to reach.

So it's easy to see how important it is for you to write effectively for the broadcast stations, as well as the newspaper editors. As a PR writer, you are competing with many others who are fighting for the same narrow strip of "turf." The stakes are high, since airtime is prized publicity -- but the competition is stiff, for the same reason. You need to do everything you can to improve your survival odds.

The broadcast media have very little time available for news. On the typical broadcast station, one-half hour is actually equal to only 22 minutes of content -- the other eight minutes are consumed by advertising and station identification. If you put all the content of 22 minutes into a newspaper, how many pages do you think you'd need?

    four pages?
    about one page?
    one-fourth of a page?

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