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Great Writing for Public Relations. Robert Wynne. Three Ways to Get PR. Relationships with Reporters Check Alumni Office. Three Ways to Get PR. 2. Luck. Three Ways to Get PR. 3. Great Writing . Great Writing for PR. What Do Reporters Want? Press Releases Pitch Letters Editorials .

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Three ways to get pr
Three Ways to Get PR

  • Relationships with Reporters

    Check Alumni Office

Three ways to get pr2
Three Ways to Get PR

3. Great Writing

Great writing for pr

Great Writing for PR

What Do Reporters Want?

Press Releases

Pitch Letters


What do reporters think
What Do Reporters Think?

  • FORBES Column:

  • Advice from The Atlantic, Mashable, L.A. Times, Yahoo, Popular Science and Tech Crunch.

Top 5 complaints

Top 5 Complaints

The Survey Says…

Reporter complaints
Reporter Complaints


  • No GENERAL headline - could be any subject

  • Don't make them guess what the story is about

  • "What's the key takeaway?"

Reporter complaints1
Reporter Complaints

#2 - Wrong Reporter, Wrong Media

#3 - Dense Language and Acronyms

#4 - Too much bragging - Innovative, Groundbreaking, Leading, etc.

#5 - Reporter's Name spelled wrong; Missing Contact Info

#6 – Don’t attach a PDF or Word file or link to the press release

Most overused words 2013
Most Overused Words 2013

  • New Current

  • First Leading

  • Mobile Annual

  • Professional Public

  • Most Private

    MORE: Real, Best, Important, Outstanding, Significant

    Source: Shift Communications survey of 65K press releases

Reporters what they like
Reporters – What They Like

Survey Says …..

Reporters what they like1
Reporters – What They Like

  • Be Flexible: “The smart publicist will recognize that getting a client mentioned in a piece with a larger context may be just as good as getting a story about that client.”

  • Flattery. Read previous stories and compliment them.

  • Solve their Problems – offer a Solution

  • Direct Contact Info – no forms to fill out – make it EASY

Great writing
Great Writing

  • Press Releases

  • Pitches

  • Editorials

Press release advice

  • Write Headline FIRST (imagine headline as a Tweet)

  • “News Report Ranks Top U.S. Cities for Bedbug Infestations”

  • “Cooking with Quinoa – Delicious and Healthy Recipes for All the Family to Enjoy Now on Amazon Kindle”

Press Release Advice

Press release advice1

  • Bedbugs are shutting down office buildings and clothing stores and invading homes, and while no one is safe from these pests, a new report compiled from Terminixdata shows 15 cities stand above the rest as the most bedbug-infested cities in the United States.

  • The list is topped by New York and includes other major cities such as Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Chicago. Surprisingly, Ohio receives the dubious distinction as the most bedbug-infested state, with three cities in the top 10 and four in the top 15.

Press Release Advice

Press release advice2

Press Release Advice


What’s the story?

Why is this important?

Why now?


SO WHAT? We have a new building, it’s better than the old one. (Tie it to a trend in academia.)

Solve a Problem (outside of you). New study shows consumer confidence higher than government figures


When in doubt, go LOCAL (not just local paper, but home town of your source)

Great writing for public relations


FAIL: Cornell's Johnson School and DuPont teaming up to fight malnutrition in India's slums with a protein power supplement sold by women, and giving seeds for gardens. Corporate and Academic partnershipsolve an old problem.




"In India, How Do


Gardens Grow?"

WIN: Gardens growing on rooftops of India's slums to improve nutrition for the poor thanks to a Cornell project.

Great writing for public relations


FAIL: Two thousand students in Nashville are pioneers in STEM education -- increasing math and science skills using a computer tool, “Betty’s Brain.”

Developed by a professor at Vanderbilt, Betty’s Brain is a computer agent “taught” by the student to understand complex scientific principles like causes of the greenhouse effect, body temperature regulation or how to improve traffic congestion.



"Students Enhance Learning with Betty's Brain Software - Learning enhanced by interacting with inquisitive avatar"

WIN: Is middle school too young to learn artificial intelligence?

Great writing for public relations


Very difficult to write, very difficult to place ... But ... Very prestigious in the right publication.

They are NOT advertisements, they are not "explainers."

Great writing for public relations


1. Be Sharp

2. Be Opinionated

3. Be Controversial

4. Be Helpful.

5. Be Timely.

Great writing for public relations


1. Introduction, body and conclusion2. An objective explanation of the issue3. A timely news angle4. Opinions from the opposing viewpoint5. Be Professional. No name-calling or other petty tactics6. Solutions. Anyone can gripe - you improve the situation7. Solid, concise conclusion that powerfully summarizes your opinion. Punch it Up

Great writing for public relations


Higher Oil Prices Could Help U.S. Manufacturing

The higher oil prices that have shocked American industry and consumers alike may contain more than a silver lining, they present a golden opportunity to propel the U.S. into a more productive and efficient future. The short-term pain of higher transportation costs will turn into long-term gains if national policy aims forward instead of backward.

Great writing for public relations


Better Pay Now - Despite the lingering effects of the financial crisis, America is a much richer country than it was 40 years ago. But the inflation-adjusted wages of nonsupervisory workers in retail trade — who weren’t well paid to begin with — have fallen almost 30 percent since 1973. So can anything be done to help these workers, many of whom depend on food stamps — if they can get them — to feed their families, and who depend on Medicaid to provide essential health care? Yes. We can preserve and expand food stamps. We can make health reform work, despite right-wing efforts to undermine the program. And we can raise the minimum wage.


Personal Pitches – not Dear Reporter. Compliment previous stories, know their Beat

Get to the Point: Story Should be Very Clear – no ambiguity

Solve a Problem, not my boss wants this story

Tie your story to Timely News


What you do is VALUABLE

Original research and academic experts are Platinum

Write WELL


  • Rob Wynne


  • @robwynne

  • 310.924.1710