Chapter 2: Persuasive Writing

Four elements are necessary to ensure communication of a message.   A Sender, a Message, a Medium and a Receiver is needed for communication succeed.  The receiver includes, an organization’s publics, which are actual and potential audiences.  Using a ‘general public’ as a target group is too broad.  Your message has a greater chance of being received if publics are broken down demographically, because then messages can be tailored to reach each of these different groups of people. 

The different ways that messages are received and accepted outside the basic four step approach are explained through many theories of communication.  Some include the Two-Step Flow theory, Media Uses and Gratifications, Hierarchy-of-needs, Framing and Diffusion.  Understanding these theories, how messages make their way from sender to receiver and, knowing what motivates people is priceless information when tailoring a message for a certain audience.  The more known about a publics’ interests, lifestyles, needs, and attitudes makes it easier it is to write persuasively.   

There are two types of audiences identified, passive and active.   Bright graphics and punchy slogans capture passive (or inactive) audiences .  A perfect example of this is a person driving in their car, passing billboards, listening to the radio, and reading bumper stickers.  The driver is not actively seeking information, yet is still receiving it, and interest may arise.  An active audience is seeking the information, through reading papers, magazines, brochures, taking tours, or any other conscious decision to find out more about a particular product.

Persuasive writing includes many elements, such as Audience Analysis, Source Credibility, Appeal to Self Interest, Clarity of Message, Timing and Context, Symbols, Slogans, Acronyms, Semantics, Suggestions for Action, and certain Content and Structure to enhance the message’s attractiveness and effectiveness. 

While PR Writers are advocates, they are still held responsible for truth and the professions’ reputation depends on it.   Some already see practitioners as ‘Spin Doctors’, persuading an audience through manipulation.  It is important not to engage in this behavior, as it weakens the trust in this profession.

These are some key ideas from the 2nd chapter of the following book.  No direct or indirect quotes were taken, just some summarizing of main ideas.  

Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 5/e
Wilcox

©2005 | Allyn & Bacon | Paper; 592 pp |  Instock
ISBN-10: 020541849X | ISBN-13: 9780205418497

Add a comment July 13, 2010

Chapter 1: Preparing for Writing

Although writing is a valued PR skill, it is only the third part of a four step Public Relations process.  This chapter outlines that four step process as Research, Planning, Communication and Evaluation.  Writing fulfills the communication component, but it can only exist after research and planning has taken place. Then you can communicate the correct message to the correct target audience.  Research and Planning help create the most effective message to reach the desired audience.   Planning includes the strategies and tactics needed to reach the target audience identified in these first two steps.   

Journalism and Public Relations writing have similar concepts, but differ in key ways.  Journalists practice writing objectively, usually for one audience, through one channel.  PR practitioners advocate for their client or employer, often using multiple channels, messages, and audiences to ensure the message is received.   One of the similarities is the need for trust and credibility for both professions.  Even though a Public Relations writer is an advocate, they must use facts to convey that message effectively.

A Public Relations writer needs tools like a computer, printer, Internet access and a reference library to do their job successfully.  Items in that reference library should include a dictionary, stylebook, thesaurus, atlas, media directory, PR periodicals, and publications that will keep you up to date with current events. 

It is extremely important for a PR Practitioner to know what is going on in the world, because current events shape attitudes, and being aware of them can help you anticipate your audiences’ predispositions, interests and needs.   Identifying popular trends through media awareness can give you a ‘news hook’, which helps your organization draw attention to itself by addressing relevant issues that are already in the public’s stream of conscious.

 This book is chock full of great information that I know will make me successful in my career, and I look forward to reading on.   So far I have learned lots of helpful, valuable information, teaching me how to write persuasively for my audiences.

These are some key ideas from the 1st chapter of the following book.  No direct or indirect quotes were taken, just some summarizing of main ideas.  

Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 5/e
Wilcox

©2005 | Allyn & Bacon | Paper; 592 pp |  Instock
ISBN-10: 020541849X | ISBN-13: 9780205418497

Add a comment July 13, 2010

About Me….

I am currently a senior at Georgia Southern University, majoring in Public Relations, with a minor in Fashion.  I am a non-traditional student, and have spent the last 10 years since graduating high school working my way through college.  I began college at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, which is where I am from, and transferred here to GSU in 2005. 

I have sold life and health insurance full-time for the last few years, while taking part-time classes.  However, after serious health issues due to a few car accidents, I have now decided to stop working to focus on school and getting better physically.  Now maybe I will graduate college before we land on Mars.

I am not married, no kids, but do have two wonderful doggies that are just like my children—but less expensive—and needy!  Jaxx and Mr. Boppers are probably my two favorite things, but I also love my family, friends, music, and the beach—oh and my closet!  I live for fashion!   

Once I graduate from GSU, I hope to start an exciting career in some type of Public Relations field, hopefully involving fashion.  I will most likely not stay here in the Boro once I graduate, and I can’t wait to get closer to the coast again. 

I look forward to learning a lot in both of these classes to prepare me for the career I choose.  That is one of the main things I love about Public Relations—you can do practically anything you want with this type of degree; the information I am learning is valuable in any and every job setting.  I can’t wait to put it all to good use one day in an awesome career.  I hope you enjoy my blogs–if anyone out there is reading…..

Add a comment July 13, 2010

Grammar Girl asks– ‘Who’ or ‘Whom’

                  I myself, am a stickler for grammar.  I just think it looks so uneducated, sloppy, and shows a complete lack of effort to be respectful and presentable to the reader when a document is riddled with grammatical errors.  Well, actually, for me, it is more spelling errors that make me want to grab my red pen and go to town.  I admit that just like everyone else, I make grammatical errors.  I don’t always remember the rules that go with the tricky words in our language that make navigating them difficult and confusing. 

              One of the most heinous set of words in the English language for me to figure out, which always makes me stress, and second guess myself is the choice of who versus whom.  Which to use, and when; what are the rules to follow—how do I know if I am right?  Am I going to look stupid to my professor if I get this wrong?  So when I saw the article concerning this matter, I jumped into the link, eager to learn once and for all how to use these two words correctly and effectively.

                It seems this is one of “Grammar Girl’s” favorite topics, as she has written about it numerous times by now.  Maybe I am not the only one who can’t get my ‘whoms’ and ‘whos’ right.  When GG breaks it down for me, it seems pretty easy.  The guidelines are that ‘who’ is used when referring to the subject of a clause, and whom’ when you are referring to an object of the clause.  Looks simple enough, right?  But what is a clause?  And what is the difference in being an object and a subject?  I’m sure the answers to these questions are filed away in my brain, stuck somewhere in 1998, which is when I took my last English class. 

    Thank goodness Grammar Girl gives us an easy to follow and remember rule that she lists as the go to solution for this problem.  I love these little grammar tricks of the language trade.  You know, like, “I before e, except when staring with ‘c’,” and all the others that you learn along the way throughout grade school.  To decipher the correct way to use these two pronouns, you only have to learn this straightforward rule.  Always ask yourself, “Can the answer to my question be ‘he’ or ‘him’?”  Once you have answered this question, with ‘he’ or ‘him’, you can begin to build your sentence from here.   If your answer to the question is ‘him’, then ’whom’ is just what the doctor ordered.  Likewise, if ‘he’ is the answer to your question, then ‘who’ should be used.  The way to remember this rule is that both ‘him’ and ‘whom’ end with the letter ‘m’, which creates a link in your brain between the two words, and should alert you to which pronoun to use.  This was a very helpful piece of information for me, especially since I struggle with choosing the correct pronoun in this situation, and I am such a self proclaimed grammar snob.

    Just when i think that I’m getting somewhere, and learning how to use these words correctly, I get thrown a curveball.  I see that when linking verbs are involved, I can still use the ‘him’ test, but I will need to remember that object pronouns (‘whom’) always follow linking verbs.   So now I need to be on the look out for linking verbs, too?  This grammar stuff can be a total headache….  Thank goodness for Microsoft Word, and spell/grammar check.  I think we would all be in trouble without it!

Add a comment February 5, 2010

The importance of comments in the medium of internet blogging.

Comments are so important to blogs because that is what gives the blog its interaction and immediacy, which is what makes the blog so accessible, and therefore, attractive to the public.  It is shaped by its own readers, giving them the power to choose what is available thru this medium for the public to read.  It gives the average Joe with a computer a voice, and a forum to express their opinions and viewpoints to the world for inspection, reaction and judgment.  Comments from other readers are what make blogging a living, animate being.  Instead of being a static entity, a blog is an ongoing, dynamic part of our media network, due to the fact that it is continually altered by different people’s attitudes and beliefs.  The diversity of the audience receiving the messages on the internet ensures that there will be plenty of different ideas to create an active discussion between people, with many viewpoints.   The global nature of the internet allows for the connection of people from so many different walks of life communicate about their common– and uncommon interests. 

Blog comments should instigate intelligent, interactive conversation.  Giving effective blog comments should be thoughtful and deliberate, thought-provoking and constructive.  They should lead, and contribute to an intimate debate of minds from all over the world.  Blog comments should stay on the topic of the original post, and contribute something to the original author’s thoughts and ideas.  The privilege to blog should not be abused as an avenue to be mean, or unnecessarily negative.  The blog and its author should be respected and treated accordingly.  There’s nothing worse than a news blog followed by a bunch of trash talking comments from judgmental, jealous people who have nothing better to do than sit behind their computers and take their anger out on life by putting people down in the news who have made mistakes and are just basically talking shit.  Well…actually it is kind of entertaining and interesting that there are people out there that think the way some blog posts read.  Anonymous blog commentators sure get brave from behind a faceless cputer…..

All said, commenting is a crucial part of the blogging experience; allowing the connection, and communication between scores of different worlds of people.  These people, who may contribute whatever they want to the discussion, find it hard to resist the temptation of having their words and thoughts published for others to read, absorb, argue with, agree with, trash, and exalt.  Commenting on a blog is truly one of the last examples of free speech that exist in a media industry that is mainly run by a conservative, white corporate America.  With the consolidation of so many media outlets under one umbrella corporation, run by people who are probably totally out of touch with the ‘real’ world, the freedom of press and media is enormously hindered by the looming advertising dollars that fund it.  Some blogs even have mediators that censor content that may offend potential advertisers or users, which would lower site traffic. So maybe even commenting on a blog isn’t free speech anymore.  But that’s a whole other blog…..

Add a comment January 21, 2010
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