Make Money With Public Relations Writing
PR can be lucrative
Once you get past the hard news sections of a newspaper, you'll find information of all sorts, including announcements from non-profits, background on zoo animals, news of company promotions and products - the list is almost endless. The same sorts of articles are in almost every magazine, ezine, website and even on TV broadcasts.
Most of those stories are the results of a Press Release of one sort or another. Often produced by a public relations firm, they can also provide good money for freelance writers. It works roughly like this.
The opportunity for the freelancer is, obviously, in the writing of the press release.
You can be paid well for writing the releases. (Keep in mind as you're thinking about this, that I'm using the term, press release, in the broadest possible fashion.)
Learning PR Writing
Public relations writing has a specific goal and that's to get publicity for the person, organization, product etc. To be successful, however, it also has to have some sort of news value. That combination can sometimes be tricky, but it's learnable.
The first step is to identify and understand the audience. For example, a piece on the Girl Scout who sold the most cookies is aimed at parents in the community. Writing a PR piece to draw audience for a visiting classical music conductor would be aimed both at previous concert attendees and, probably, the arts community in general.
The PR release on the Girl Scouts would be simple, straightforward and short - almost an announcement. On the other hand, the one for the conductor would focus on why people interested in classical music must come to this particular performance. It would be longer and probably include the most interesting credits of the conductor and something about the performance itself.
Both examples have news value. Both are designed to get a result - congratulations to the scout and interest in scouting in general on the one hand, attendance at a concert on the other.
The best PR writing is creative and concise. Like all forms of writing, it takes practice.
Finding PR Gigs
Some PR opportunities for freelancers show up on job boards - go ahead and apply, but know the competition is fierce and credits will really help. If you don't have credits yet, consider doing some volunteer PR so you'll have clips. Almost any non-profit would be glad to have you write for them.
Contact local advertising agencies and ask if they have work for freelancers. Plan on contacting them at least quarterly, as their needs change rapidly.
Contact local businesses. Bigger companies will have marketing departments, but sometimes those departments have a need for a freelancer.
Start by simply calling and asking if they use freelancers. Generally you'll get a squishy answer; your goal is the name of someone so you can send a resume and samples to a particular person. Sometimes you'll be referred to an ad agency. Great, go for it, using the referring party's name as an entrée.
Don't overlook smaller companies and even sole proprietors. Your insurance agent may be delighted to pay you for some PR. Everyone who is in business can benefit from publicity. Many simply don't know how to go about it, or keep putting it on the back burner.
Once you get one assignment it will be easier to get more.
Write well and often.