Your Public Relations and Communications Community

Writer’s Guidelines

PRSA produces two award-winning publications for PR professionals: Public Relations Tactics and The Strategist.

The monthly tabloid-style newspaper, Tactics, will help you stay up-to-date with the latest news, best practices and how-to information about everything from employee communications to media relations training to social media.

The Strategist, geared toward executive-level practitioners, is a quarterly magazine that will provide you with feature-length commentary on the strategic importance of the profession, views on changing concepts and debate on the practice of public relations.

Our goal is to help you improve your job skills, stay competitive and advance your career, as well as showcase the positive influence of the PR profession.

We’re interested in articles that:

  • Explain new trends in public relations
  • Discuss new technologies that are changing the way that professionals practice public relations
  • Interview exceptional practitioners
  • Convey timely news analysis of issues impacting the profession
  • Analyze case studies of successful PR campaigns with measurable outcomes
  • Demonstrate how public relations changes attitudes and behaviors on important social issues
  • Reflect the growth and change in crucial areas of professional development in the form of how-to pieces

Key elements for Tactics submissions:

All columns must be written in a lively, easy-to-read format. For the how-to angle, topics should focus on how professionals can best execute a tactical skill. Place emphasis on the steps required to successfully complete a typical PR task. Articles should relate to real-life events — with anecdotes and examples that place the how-to advice in a meaningful context. Contributors may interject their personal opinions based on professional experiences and expertise. The length of columns for Tactics should usually be 800–900 words.

Key elements for The Strategist submissions:

All articles should be relevant to senior-level professionals and executives. Make sure that there is a news tie-in. Pieces should relate to real-life events, with anecdotes and examples showing how the topic has a measurable impact on the achievement of strategic organizational goals. Contributors may interject their personal opinions based on their professional experiences and expertise. The length of columns for The Strategist should usually be 1,200–1,500 words.

Stylistic writing guidelines for all columns/articles:

  • Write in active voice. This will make your writing clear, succinct and more colorful. (Don’t say: “There was a presentation given by Matt.” Say: “Matt gave a presentation.”)
  • Use strong, active verbs and vivid descriptors. (Don’t say something is “good” or “nice,” but describe with details.)
  • Vary your word choice and use synonyms whenever possible.
  • Vary your sentence structure. Provide a mix of simple, compound and complex sentences.
  • Rather than settle for clichés and tired phrases, seek original images and descriptive adjectives. (Don’t say: “He has cold feet.” Say: “He is timid.”)
  • Don’t use blocks of quotes. Instead, weave them into a narrative and place them in context.
  • Organize your thoughts — and use subheadings if you need help. Put things together that go together, transition smoothly from one idea to the next, and don’t jump back and forth between thoughts.
  • Don’t assume that the reader knows everything. Clearly explain or identify anything that may not be common knowledge.
  • Attribute all quotes and always identify the speaker properly.
  • Make sure that references are clear. (If you write “it,” then make sure that the audience will understand what “it” refers to.)
  • Be aware of agreement. (Refer to a company as “it,” not “they,” because “company” does not take the plural form.)
  • Keep your audience in mind when writing. Remember who your readers are — and that you are trying to help advance the profession and the professional.
  • Provide the proper name of the survey, who conducted it and the release date when you cite a survey or statistics.
  • Include the year of publication and the publisher when your reference a book.
  • Try to write in a conversational tone, but remember to be professional too.
  • Use parallel structure in your writing. When you use bullet points or list items in a series, construct phrases similarly. (If you are listing tasks, don’t say: “playing tennis, exercise, coloring.” Say: “playing tennis, exercising, coloring.”

A final word:

  • Style — Tactics and The Strategist follow AP style.
  • Accuracy — We rely on authors to ensure the veracity of their statements. The writer must double-check names, confirm spellings, provide accurate job titles and include institutions responsible for, and dates of, any research or surveys cited in columns. Please include contact information of any source that you cite in the copy.
  • Editorial prerogative — The editors of Tactics and The Strategist reserve the right to edit stories for content and style.
  • Exclusivity — We assume that any article submitted to Tactics and The Strategist is offered exclusively and that substantially similar articles will not be published elsewhere simultaneously without our knowledge.
  • Bios — Include author’s(s’) biographical information (nearly 30 to 40 words) at end of column.

Please submit all articles/columns via email as attached Word documents to:

John Elsasser
Editor-in-Chief
john.elsasser@prsa.org

Amy Jacques
News Editor
amy.jacques@prsa.org

Kyra Auffermann
Editorial Coordinator
kyra.auffermann@prsa.org


In order to maintain a high standard of journalistic integrity, the following points of policy shall guide PR Tactics and The Strategist editors in their decision-making about contributed editorial content:

  • Submitting an article does not guarantee its publication.
  • The editor-in-chief reserves the right to exercise absolute discretion when selecting articles for publication.

* Due to the high volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee a response to all queries.

 

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