Public Relations Writing Training

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This one-day course teaches participants to write effectively for the media. The course specifically addresses the writing of news releases, "pitch letters," backgrounders, and fact sheets for both print and broadcast media.

The many topics covered include the following:

  • Writing an effective news release, "pitch letter," backgrounder, fact sheet, special events news release, broadcast news release, and crisis news release
  • How to and when to respond to a critical letter to the editor
  • How to write an "op-ed" column that will increase its chance of being published
  • How to make advance preparations for crisis public relations writing
  • The steps necessary to hold a press conference, press junket, or publicity tour
  • The differences between writing for television and radio audiences
  • Dozens of practical tips
  • Writing for search engine optimization
  • Integrating social media into your public relations writing

Seminar Tips:

Guest Editorial Writing Advice

  • Understand your publication odds (Major daily: 30:1; National Magazine: 200:1)
  • Present a prestigious source in order to get a by-line
  • Be concise (500 to 800 words equal 3-5 double-spaced pages)
  • Address specific timely topics directly (e.g., pending legislation, current controversy)
  • Take a clear and strong position on the issue
  • Present from the position of authority or experience
  • Reveal new information
  • Present only one idea and support it with no more than three facts

Additional Modules Available for Public Relations Writing Seminar

Speech Writing for Others

  • An outline of the speech writing process
  • Advice from speakers to speechwriters
  • How to improve clarity
  • Ways to use humor
  • Rules for using humor
  • Tips and techniques for writing speeches

Writing for Sponsored Publications

  • Writing for internal and external newsletters
  • Writing corporate brochures
  • Editorial considerations and guidelines for sponsored publications

Effective Feature Writing

This one-day seminar is filled with instruction, tips, and ideas that will make you a more effective writer of feature articles--short takes as well as long stories.

This program will show you how to get readers to read and to be receptive to the points you want to get across in your feature writing.

Not much space? You'll learn how to bring a creative spark and human interest even to brief feature treatments of just 300 words.

Pressed for time? You'll discover strategies to speed the writing process.

Bland material? You'll see how to spruce up the mundane and infuse drab information with dramatic interest.

Same old story? You'll find out how to search out new points of entry to give routine articles a fresh look.

Too much material? You'll learn to organize piles of notes and reference materials in the most efficient way and quickly sift through to the best material.

Writing for the Web? You'll explore the simple but important steps to consider when writing articles or adapting print features for online readers.

Who should attend this seminar?

  • Editors and writers for corporate and other organizational publications
  • Public relations writers
  • Editors and writers for special interest publications
  • Freelance writers

Twenty-one benefits you'll gain from this seminar!

Through discussion, exercises, and a book to help you continue improving your writing, you'll learn how to:

  1. Apply creative pre-writing techniques that bulletproof your copy before you write, while slashing your writing time almost in half.
  2. Structure your articles the way premiere national magazine editors do, and see how their proven techniques can work for you every time. Zero in on your readers' points of view and use them to focus articles in ways that will achieve your desired results.
  3. Quickly make your point, provide supporting evidence, and wrap
  4. it up in ways that leave readers satisfied but ready for more.
  5. Use The Wall Street Journal approach to transform any subject into an intriguing story.
  6. Apply five easy steps used at Reader's Digest to give your articles a timeless appeal.
  7. Explore all possible angles for a story--and find the best--through a process as simple as A- B- C.
  8. Tell a complicated story clearly and easily by presenting the reader with a series of "moments."
  9. Use the "nut graph" technique to get readers to read your articles now.
  10. Identify the characters, drama, and climax in every story so that even budget analyses and annual reports are compelling to read.
  11. Become adept at writing powerful story short features that make every word count twice.
  12. Writing intriguing leads that grab the reader fast; find endings that keep the story lingering in the reader's mind.
  13. Use sidebars, boxes, bullets and other treatments to solve a multitude of problems--and pull readers of varied interests into your articles.
  14. Develop a strong, unique "voice" that serves as your writing signature and helps avoid burnout.
  15. Build greater credibility into your articles by finding current facts and figures fast and by linking up with experts on any subject--without ever leaving your desk.
  16. Get colorful quotes and telling details to enrich and enliven your copy.
  17. Test how hot your copy is, using a former Washington Post Magazine editor's four-part formula for engaging the reader's interest.
  18. Add greater depth and credibility to your writing by going beyond the obvious sources.
  19. Use "right brain" techniques--even intuition--to exploit the greatest potential in a story.
  20. Use the one major technique that separates top-flight profile writers from the rest and adds dimension to the profile subject.
  21. Enjoy mastering the tricks of style and polish that will make your copy pop; that will make you a more effective, more confident writer.

Seminar activities:

Morning until noon:

Unleashing the feature article's creative power to communicate with your readers:

  • How to refine story ideas and establish a tone to suit your audience
  • How to find story patterns and dramatic interest that keeps readers reading
  • How originality elevates your writing from acceptable to extraordinary
  • How to engage and hold the varied interests of a diverse readership
  • Strategies for making technical, fact-filled writing glisten and leave readers with a clear, concise message
  • The power of The Wall Street Journal formula that lets you make your point entertainingly
  • Techniques for top-notch writing--from intriguing leads to satisfying endings.


Elevating the feature article from ordinary to stellar

Article formulas that blend craftsmanship with creativity

  • How to hone, whittle and shape your writing to avoid common problems that plague articles
  • Breakout session: brainstorm to discover how to make acceptable articles outstanding
  • Three steps to writing on demand--a process that produces reader-friendly structures and saves time.
  • Simple steps to release your "voice" and break through the walls of stilted language and jargon
  • How to use the interview to elicit memorable quotes, meaningful anecdotes, and revealing moments
  • Tricks to pique an outside editor's interest and keep your article proposal out of the slush pile

Of special interest to public relations writers:

As a successful freelance writer for several major publications, Donna Boetig knows how to pique an editor's interest in a story idea. In this seminar, she reveals the secrets of successful pitches to the national media.


Donna Elizabeth Boetig is a freelance writer, a former newspaper reporter and a former corporate publication editor whose articles appear frequently in national publications such as Reader's Digest, Family Circle, The Saturday Evening Post and numerous others. Her articles have been translated into hundreds of languages. She has authored and contributed to several books on writing.

Donna was a staff writer for The Baltimore Sun and a feature writer and columnist for The Union Leader in Manchester, NH. In addition to having edited an employee publication for Lockheed Martin, she worked as a contract writer for medical centers and colleges. She is a professor in Johns Hopkins University Masters in Writing Program and is coordinator of the Writing Center at the University of Maryland, graduate and professional programs.

A popular speaker at writers' conferences, Donna has equipped and inspired thousands of writers--both beginners and experienced pros-- to reach new heights of professionalism.

Note: This workshop in only available as customized, onsite training. It can be scheduled as a full-day or half-day program.

Client Testimonials

"Randy was a fantastic instructor! I've taken classes similar to this in the past that have been a real drag. He keeps it interesting and fun. I will recommend this class to my fellow employees."D.H., Assistant Account Executive - Atlanta, GA

Schedule This Training

For groups of 3 or more participants

Cypress Media Group presents this seminar as an on-site offering at your work location or at an off-site location of your choice. We can customize this training program to suit your precise training needs.

For economic reasons, this seminar is only offered to groups of roughly three or more people with the same training needs. If you have a group with similar training needs, please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.

For fewer than 3 participants

We do not offer this course as an open enrollment public offering for individuals. If you have fewer than three participants who are interested in this course, the cost will be the same as for a larger group.

Please call us at 770-640-9918 or E-mail to discuss your interest.

About the Instructor

Randall P. Whatley

Randall P. Whatley is a 30-year media veteran with diverse business experience. He is president of Cypress Media Group, an advertising, public relations, and training firm. He has extensive experience advising government officials, political candidates, public officials, and corporate executives.

Whatley teaches the practical, real-world skills that he has acquired and refined over three decades as an advertising and public relations practitioner. His presentation and media relations skills were honed as a lobbyist and political consultant on over 50 campaigns in four states. He has written two books, two syndicated newspaper columns, and many magazine and Internet articles. He has also hosted his own television and radio program and appeared often as a TV and radio program guest, including a CNN appearance. Whatley has also produced TV and radio ads.

Randall P. Whatley teaches the following courses to companies and government agencies worldwide:

He can be reached by e-mail at

Connect to him on Linkedin