Writing Skills for Public Relations: Style and Technique for Mainstream and Social Media


This fully updated fifth edition is a hands-on, practical guide to writing style for PR students and practitioners. Offering advice on the basic principles of grammar as well as covering essential editing and presentation skills, Writing Skills for Public Relations ...

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Writing Skills for Public Relations: Style and Technique for Mainstream and Social Media

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This fully updated fifth edition is a hands-on, practical guide to writing style for PR students and practitioners. Offering advice on the basic principles of grammar as well as covering essential editing and presentation skills, Writing Skills for Public Relations includes guidance on: 

— developing and policing a house style 
— avoiding clichés and jargon 
— ensuring readability 
— writing press releases 
— using social media
— public speaking and speech writing 
— proof correction marks 
— the legal issues facing writers 

Informed by British expertise and practice, this new edition also includes information on developing your web presence, online newsletters, blogs and websites, and setting up an online media center.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A] practical-minded guide to effective communication for PR students, professionals, and anyone else who needs to represent themselves or their business. …Writing Skills for Public Relations is an absolute 'must-have' not only for those in the PR field, but also for any small business owner responsible for getting the word out on their enterprise - especially in the modern age when social media has become an inexpensive and invaluable publicity tool." --Midwest Book Review, The Library Bookwatch, The Writing/Publishing Shelf

"Any student of public relations needs this specific reference." --Midwest Book Review, The Bookwatch: The Writing/Publishing Shelf 

Praise for the previous edition: 

"John Foster's book is a 'how to' guide that gives solid grounding in the writing requirements of the PR business. It covers a lot of ground on a complex but rewarding subject." --Writing Magazine

"This book addresses the pitfalls that wind up editors, clients and PR managers alike." --PRWeek

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780749465438
  • Publisher: Kogan Page, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2012
  • Series: PR in Practice Series
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John Foster has a background in journalism and has held senior public relations posts with Pira International and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, he was awarded the Institute's Stephen Tallents Medal in 2003 for his "contribution and commitment to the effective use of the written word".

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Table of Contents

About the author 


1. The importance of style: an overview 
Style on the move 
Appreciating style 
Your organization's style 
Keep it consistent 
Points to watch 
Good style is good manners 

2. Trouble with plurals and possessives 
Plural matters 
Apostrophe problems 

3. Making your mark 
Basic punctuation 
When you are quoting… 

4. Down with capitalism! 
Consistency is the essence 
Why lower case, upper case? 
When to use capitals 
Where difficulties occur 
The trend is to knock it down 

5. Clichés, jargon and other worn words 
Recognizing clichés 
Jargon: help or hindrance 
Catchphrases quickly become stale… 
…So can metaphors and similes 
Make room for the idiom 
Beware of slang 

6. Is it easy to read? 
Edit with the reader in mind 
Aim for short sentences 
Guidelines on paraghraphing 
Line width and type size 
Crossheads and subheads 
Line and letter spacing 
Where to break 
Choice of typeface 
Printing considerations 
Justified or ragged right? 
Putting on the stress 
Choosing and using your designer 
Now it's proof marking time… 

7. Headlines: making them work 
Use present tense, active verbs 
Questions and humor 
Avoid "label" headings 
Headings in sales leaflets and brochures 
Style and presentation 
Slogans for brand recall 
Elements of corporate identity 
Headlines for websites 

8. Dealing with figures and abbreviations 
Figuring out the numbers 
Abbreviations: the long and the short 

9. Keep it short, simple - and plain 
Aim for brevity 
Plain words 
Local government communication 
Watch out for taugtology 
Look for active verbs; avoid contractions 
Avoid foreign words or phrases - and Latin 
Loan words needing care 
Double negatives 
Beware "myths" 
Tips for writing tight 
There is still much to do… 

10. Social media: the X-factor for PR
Essential tools for journalists and brands 
Easy set-up for your Twitter account 
Facebook - the PR marketing platform 
Designing and writing blogs 
Content is key 
Edit as you write 

11. Writing for the media 
News releases: basic requirements 
Commissioned articles 

12. Captions: how to handle them 
Photo captions with releases 
Captions in publications 

13. Why editing matters 
The clue to good copy 
News stories 
Feature articles 
Radio and TV broadcasts 
On-screen editing 
Technical editing 
Edit yourself 

14. Skills and styles for the office 
Suggested style for correspondence 
Style for emails 
Have clear, clean layout 
Writing a précis 
Writing reports and minutes 
Forms of address 
Invitations to functions 
Replies to invitations 
Acknowledging correspondence 
Setting out documents 
Writing a CV 
Language for the telephone 

15. Traps, snares and pitfalls 
Spelling points 
Be careful with foreign words 
Use your dictionary 
-ise or -ize verb endings? 
One word or two? 
Puzzles and posers 
Lookalikes need care 
Chestnut time 
They're not right, they're not wrong 
Vogue words and phrases 
Getting in the mood 
Keep clear of slang 
Keep mission statements short and simple 
Top 10 tips for writers 

16. Americanisms - the differences 
Essential differences 
Understanding the media differences 

17. The spoken word: pronunciation pointers 
Received Pronunciation 
Get the words right too 

18. Principles of presentation 
First steps for speakers 
Getting ready for the speech 
When you're on stage 
Points for organizers 

19. Writing for the web 
Effective PR needs internet presence 
Website content and design - the essentials 
What makes a good website 
An IT specialist observes… 
Getting the most out of emails 
Ezines for easy newsletters 

20. Tone - the linchpin of reputation 
Basic principles of tone in writing 
Towards a better tone 

21. Now its annual report time 
Prime PR opportunity 
Essential aspects 
What makes a good annual report? 
The annual report - vital communications link 
Investor relations in a digital age 

22. Is it legal? 
What is libel? 
Copyright and moral rights 
Applying for an injunction 
Getting permission 
Data protection 
Dealing with trade marks 
Competitions and promotions 
Self-regulatory codes of practice 
Don't forget the imprint 
Further information 

Appendix 1: Confusing pair of words 
Appendix 2: Glossary and jargon buster 
Appendix 3: When you're lost for words 
Further reading 

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