Delving into the techniques and theories of PR

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We enroled our intern, Rebecca on the CIPR Foundation course. It is a 3-day course that defines the field and the scope of public relations.

Here are Rebecca’s thoughts on day 2 of the course with tutor Debbie Sharratt.

The average journalist receives approximately 300 press releases every day, and 79% decide whether or not they should open an email based on the subject line alone. With this in mind, we spent day two of the CIPR Level 3 Foundation Award in Public Relations focusing on how to write high-quality content and how to be successful in getting the attention of a journalist who can publish that content. This full-day workshop was an even more practical session than the first, with lots of opportunities to test out our creativity.

We began the day with an exercise where we each described our organisation’s story to the rest of the group. We found that the descriptions we were all giving were purely factual and not particularly exciting. nesma tutor, Debbie Sharratt explained that we should try to turn these dull statistics into an account that everyone would want to read instead. Turning news into a story involves explaining the plot, characters and what the challenges, actions or transformations are. Storytelling also allows the reader to engage on an emotional level with the brand, including what their purpose and values are.

Debbie then guided us through the 4 critical elements of PR news. This enabled us to understand the full process from recognising or creating a news story from scratch, to structuring the media release and writing correct copy, to know how best to sell the story to a journalist. Each stage is crucial to the process as, without a clear narrative, structure or style, selling the press release to a journalist is going to be virtually impossible.

We then looked at the 10 different news angles that can be taken on a story, including a milestone being reached, a community/charity event being held or a VIP visiting. If none of the 10 possible angles can be applied within your press release, then you should not be sending out the content to journalists. This is because most news outlets receive so many different press releases that they will stop opening emails from your company if they know that the content might not be exciting enough to use. This will also decrease your chances of getting published when something newsworthy does happen.

Later in the afternoon, we were able to practice writing our own press releases based on a case study. This included planning different photograph, video and podcasting opportunities following the initial article. Using the same case study, we then spent some time composing our own blog posts and social media content. This practical exercise enabled us to discover the different writing techniques used for different types of content.

The day concluded with the opportunity to go through any queries regarding the assignment for the course. This was an incredibly beneficial part of the day, as we were guided through each type of media that we are able to create content for and which kind of news stories we should use to positively showcase our organisations.

If you are planning to become #CIPRQualified we have five CIPR qualifications for you to choose from and we are enrolling now for an Autumn term start.

Once you have completed the Level 3 Foundation Award, you can then move up to the Level 5 Professional PR Certificate or the CIPR Specialist Certificate- Internal Communications. As an accreditated CIPR study centre nesma also teaches the CIPR Professional PR Diploma – Level 7 and the CIPR Specialist Diploma – Crisis Communications.

Rebecca Hutchinson
A PR & Marketing Intern with nesma on the Santander University SME internship programme.

If you want to read how day 1 went for Rebecca take a look here.