By now you should have sent me your "Product" assignment (Natgo) and I'm working on feedback to you. Click here to view your Assignment Calendar.

Top Ten Takeaways for Lesson Five

(This is all you need to know to meet your Sunday deadline.
Click on each link below and read for further instruction about the Pitch and Confirmation letter)

  1. A PR writer is a PR professional, who takes the job seriously, and is constantly improving. Like other professions, public relations is a continually evolving discipline, calling for always-on awareness of new techniques and technologies -- especially in the area of PR for political candidates and causes, where much of the innovation is generated under "battlefield" pressures.
  2. PR is also valuable for every entrepreneur. You can't be a PR professional without PR skills, but you don't have to be a PR professional to acquire them. Eighty percent of my students are from other majors. They know that the PR skills they learn will help them take creative control of their careers.
  3. Public relations is all about relationships -- relationships with your publics (different types of audience) and relationships with the media. A seasoned PR professional will cultivate long-lasting, mutually interdependent relationships with a wide variety of media personalities.
  4. Creating those relationships is a strategic challenge, calling for imaginative inspiration along with methodical perseverance. You have to identify the media workers who cover your beat(s); keep a constantly updated file on each of them; eagerly read and watch everything they put in circulation; and then respond through as many channels as possible whenever you have something to add to the "conversation." In this way, you will develop a profile, as someone to be taken seriously, before you ever approach them with a story idea that will promote your client or cause.
  5. As your diligent work begins to pay off, you will become a sort of collaborator with a circle of friends and acquaintances who also happen to be media gatekeepers. They will learn they can trust your integrity and judgment, and will follow (sometimes seek) your advice. In a good week, they'll call you more often than you'll call them. Together, publicist and reporter, you will discover good stories, and write them up and bring them to life.
  6. With news media cutting back in financially trying times, these relationships are all the more important. PR writers have ever more responsibility for accuracy and integrity, and for keeping current with journalists who depend on publicists.
  7. Pitching a story to the media is therefore a matter of ethics as well as creative storytelling. When you present your facts and seek to gain the third-party endorsement of the press, the deal is, they help you earn credibility and you give them a full picture, not just "spin."
  8. My Pitch/Confirmation Letter formula is not an attempt to trick the media into promoting your message uncritically. It is a way to shape and deliver your message, by helping to steer the conversation into topics of conversation where your message can be articulated, critiqued, and if necessary defended.
  9. Read the details of my approach to the Pitch Letter and Confirmation Letter before beginning the assignment for this lesson. The Message Planner you create for this assignment will vary slightly -- the "Organization of Paragraphs" will not reflect the paragraphs of either letter, but will outline the points you intend to support your Message, as if you were writing a release. You'll put them to use in the Confirmation Letter.

  10. So, your fifth assignment of the semester is to write a pitch & confirmation letter, with message planner, proposing a radio interview for the new president of the foundation you work for. Her name is Jessica Haddaway, and before long she'll be your new best friend.Here's the link to the facts of the story., but that's not enough: you can't ace this assignment without first reading carefully about the Pitch and Confirmation Letters..

  11. Continue >