Public Relations Writing Worktext : A Practical Guide for the Profession book cover
3rd Edition

Public Relations Writing Worktext
A Practical Guide for the Profession

ISBN 9780415997546
Published September 14, 2009 by Routledge
312 Pages

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Book Description

Public Relations Writing Worktext provides the fundamental knowledge and the basic preparation required for the professional practice of public relations writing. This textbook introduces readers to public relations and writing, providing an overview of the four-step public relations process in addition to defining and detailing the writing activities involved. It presents in-depth information on the writing formats and approaches used in implementing strategic public relations plans, and offers instruction for developing all types of writing assignments, starting with memos, proposals, and news releases, and moving on to the more complex tasks of advocacy writing, newsletters, crisis planning, and online communication. Examples accompany the discussions, providing guidance and structure for the varied writing activities.

Retaining the approach of the second edition, this text incorporates numerous changes and updates, making it suitable for use as a primary course text. Updates include:

  • increased focus on writing for the web, blogs, and electronic media, including information on writing social media releases and a new chapter entitled "New and Social Media"
  • a new planning outline to help writers develop more effective messages
  • expanded checklists for writers to reference when working on assignments
  • additional examples of effective public relations writing by leading companies in a variety of organizational settings, including Mattel, UPS, Burger King, Sara Lee, Xerox, Frito-Lay, and many more
  • new assignments based on topics, issues and problems that public relations professionals in all sectors face today
  • restructured content for improved writing flow and consistency
  • full instructor manual available via the Support Material link on

Authors Joseph M. Zappala and Ann R. Carden offer a clear and engaging introduction to the writing activities involved in public relations practice, resulting in a valuable resource for professionals as well as a practical classroom text for students planning careers in public relations.

Table of Contents

Part I. An Introduction to the Basics

1 What Is Public Relations Writing?

  • What Is Public Relations?
  • Types of Public Relations Writing
  • Communication and the Public Relations Writer
  • Persuasion and the Public Relations Writer

2   Basics of Public Relations Writing

  • Grammar
  • Diversity, Bias, and Cultural Sensitivity
  • Legal Issues
  • Ethical Issues
  • Rewriting and Proofreading

3   The Public Relations Process

  • The Four Phases
  • Research
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Evaluation

Part II. Research

4 Research

  • Secondary Research
  • Primary Research
  • Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Surveys
  • Content Analysis
  • Additional Primary Research

III. Planning

5 Planning and Message Design

  • Developing the Message
  • The Planning Outline

IV. Execution

6   News Releases

  • Types of News Releases
  • Components
  • Body of the Release
  • Leads
  • Localizing
  • Formats
  • Timing
  • Distribution

7  Other Media Formats

  • Media Alerts
  • Media Pitches
  • Public Relations Photos

8  Backgrounders and Features

  • Background Materials
  • Features

9 New and Social Media

  • Web Sites
  • Blogs
  • Promoting Your Online Presence
  • Intranets
  • Wikis

10   Business Correspondence

  • Memoranda
  • Letters
  • E-mail
  • Voice Mail

11 Reports and Proposals

  • Reports
  • Proposals

12 Advocacy Writing

  • Letters to the Editor
  • Op-Ed Articles
  • Position Statements
  • Talking Points and Speeches
  • Public Service Announcements
  • Public Relations Advertising

13 Promotional Publications

  • Newsletters
  • Magazines
  • E-zines
  • Brochures
  • Fliers and Posters

V. Evaluation

14   Evaluation

  • The Components of Public Relations Measurement
  • Awareness
  • Acceptance
  • Action
  • Appendix A Planning Outline

    Appendix B Checklists

    Appendix C Special Events

    View More



     Joseph M. Zappala is director of communications at the Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University.

    Ann R. Carden is an assistant professor of communication at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where she teaches public relations. She has 20 years experience managing public relations and 11 years experience in broadcast journalism. Ann's research interest focuses on the use of public relations in the travel and tourism industry.


    "Public Relations Writing Worktext is an incredibly real and relevant navigation tool for both emerging and seasoned public relations professionals. Well-organized and straightforward, the book covers the broad landscape of the profession while offering strategies and tactics for any workplace environment. The text’s tone and up-to-the-minute research accurately capture real-world scenarios and demonstrate the application of public relations tactics to address real concerns. As a primer and a field guide, the text reminds and inspires all public relations professionals not to rely merely on old routines but to think, reason, and strategize so that we can all serve our organizations more effectively. "

    Will Crockett

    Director of Public Relations

    College of Arts and Science, Baylor University


    "I love Zappala and Carden's Public Relations Writing Worktext. They have written the most useful and pedagogically sound PR writing textbook I have seen. Each chapter is extremely thorough, giving students ample understanding of the skills involved. Their book includes lessons on all the necessary skills, and its logical approach to writing allows students to grasp each skill before moving on to the next. This is THE book for PR writing."

    Susan Westcott Alessandri, Ph.D.

    Suffolk University


    "A superb and complete text. The updated edition, which now contains the latest social media techniques, is the most versatile and thorough public relations writing guide out there today.  The clear and well-constructed explanations combined with up-to-date practical exercises at the end of each chapter make it a must have for students and professionals alike."

    Sara Proal

    University of Dubrovnik, Croatia


    "This text is perfectly suited to serve as an overview of the tools of the public relations writer. It allows students the opportunity to understand the strategy behind and application of writing assignments in the larger context of the profession. Exercises provide common scenarios faced by practitioners today. The exercises, examples and checklists allow instructors to easily structure class time to give students time to write, edit and evaluate their product. After using this text, students are ready to enter their first public relations writing environment with the basic skills required of entry-level practitioners. I have used each edition of this text and am always pleased with its ability to focus on core writing strengths while keeping current with new developments in the field."

    Thomas P. Boyle, Ph.D., APR

    Millersville University of Pennsylvania