The subject this week is
Planning Memos, Backgrounders, and Other Written Communications
some of the most important public relations
writing you're likely to do.
Public Relations writers are moving into the executive
suite. Their work used to be mainly publicity, including
press relations. Today they're playing a role in making policy, helping
their firms or clients not only communicate what they're already
doing, but figure out what to do next. It used to be that the CEO
track ran through the finance department -- from CFO to CEO. Today
the career track now often runs from PR Writer to Director of
Communications, to Senior V.P. for Corporate Communications to
The PR Writer is often in a position to "sum it all up"
in ways that no one other person in the firm is able to
accomplish. That's a position of considerable influence.
The PR Writer is one of the most knowledgeable
people about all aspects of the business -- few other
people in the firm have regular, friendly, open access to
every area of activity.
The PR Writer therefore is widely known
throughout the firm, and has friends and personal resources
at every level.
The PR Writer is well-known in the industry,
outside the firm. PR writers maintain close relationships
with their peers -- the PR writers for other firms. Their work is
also highly visible to the executives of other firms. That
visibility means they are more independent (it's easier for them
to switch jobs if necessary, or to land new clients) -- and that
in turn affects their self-confidence and respect within their own
The PR Writer works closely with the board of directors
and the executive leadership. Even at entry level, it's not
unheard of for a young PR Writer to be asked to join the
attorneys and top executives as they work out the final wording of
a crucial press release, or collaborate to shape press conferences
The PR Writer often comes to represent the firm.
Eventually, after an amount of media exposure, even the
general public may come to regard an accomplished PR Writer as the
spokesperson for the organization.
The PR Writer is the one in touch with the media,
making friendships that not only make the job of public
relations easier to do, but add real value to a firm's total
The PR Writer can often bring varied external
resources into a firm. An active, connected PR Writer is
going to network with others from very different walks of life,
staying in touch with the wider culture outside the firm. Since a
PR Writer is essentially a person who's paid to stay creative
24/7, he or she is one of the firm's most valuable source of new
Above all, it is the PR Writer's own voice that
tends to become the voice of the organization. From company
newsletters to major speeches and public announcements, the mood
or spirit or tone of a PR Writer can put a human face on an
organization -- one that is not only calculated to advantage,
but also spontaneous and genuine.
Organizational memos are where our creative -- and executive
-- talents begin to shine. Today's lesson is all about how
to make the most of it all.
Go on to the next page.