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The Opening Paragraph Strategic Public Relations Writing Instruction compliments of Tom Hagley.

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Presentation on theme: "The Opening Paragraph Strategic Public Relations Writing Instruction compliments of Tom Hagley."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Opening Paragraph Strategic Public Relations Writing Instruction compliments of Tom Hagley

2 Introduction The opening paragraph is the most crucial element in all media platforms for gaining and retaining reader interest. This lesson is about writing an opening paragraph that gives readers the big picture, the purpose of the piece, piques interest and delivers your main point what I refer to as the 4Ps. Yes, all of this can be done in an opening paragraph, which is greatly appreciated by potential readers, especially in this flash communication era. Scattering these elements throughout a piece is like throwing nuts to a squirrel. For example, who wants to find a meeting notice at the end of a two-page memo or a 200-word with no stated purpose? So, lets look at this in more detail...

3 Opening Paragraph Should contain the 4 Ps... [Big Picture] Whats this about? [Purpose] Why should I care? [Pique Interest] Whats in it for me? [Main Point or Thesis] So whats your point?

4 Whats this about? [Big Picture] We have a growing number of employees whose work spans so many time zones that 18-hour workdays are routine. Our globetrotting managers are remarkable for their unswerving emotional presence with people they work with–even when our employees, say, in China, call during dinner.

5 Why should I care? [Purpose] We know this is not a healthy situation for employees. Long hours pose the risk of burnout and lost creativity, and ripple out to touch all facets of employees lives. We want to do more to protect your health.

6 Whats in it for me? [Pique Interest] With your help, we can find alternative ways to reduce long hours. Conventional approaches to flexibility, such as flextime, dont help our time-zone warriors because waves of transoceanic calls wipe out workday boundaries. This is your opportunity to reduce workday hours.

7 Whats your point? [Main Point] When someone calls from China, its OK to say, Im feeding the kids; can we set another time to talk? Global demands are speeding workplace cultures toward greater trust, a tighter focus on goals and more openness about personal conflicts. With your participation we hope to find alternative time- management solutions.

8 Segue to body text The Human Resources department has done some research. Following are several time-management solutions being tried by other companies. Let us know your thoughts. Write directly to me.

9 EXAMPLES How To Apply The 4Ps In Various Writing Forms

10 Time To Regain Control [Big Picture] We have a growing number of employees whose work spans so many time zones that 18-hour workdays are routine. Our globetrotting managers are remarkable for their unswerving emotional presence with people they work with– even when our employees, say, in China, call during dinner. [Purpose] We know this is not a healthy situation for employees. Long hours pose the risk of burnout and lost creativity, and ripple out to touch all facets of employees lives. We want to do more to protect your health.[Pique Interest] With your help, we can find alternative ways to reduce long hours. Conventional approaches to flexibility, such as flextime, dont help our time-zone warriors because waves of transoceanic calls wipe out workday boundaries. This is your opportunity to reduce workday hours. [Main Point] When someone calls from China, its OK to say, Im feeding the kids; can we set another time to talk? Global demands are speeding workplace cultures toward greater trust, a tighter focus on goals and more openness about personal conflicts. With your participation we hope to find alternative time-management solutions. [segue to body] The Human Resources department has done some research. Following are several time-management solutions being tried by other companies. Let us know your thoughts. Write directly to me.

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12 Memo Backgrounder Issue Bulletin Letter Biographical Sketch 4P Applications

13 MEMO [context] You have probably noticed that we have had an increasing number of visitors lately. Thats mostly because of our new contract with the government. [pique interest] Federal officials have been coming to see the facility and some have been bringing cameras and asking to take pictures in your production area. [purpose] The purpose of this memo is remind everyone about our policy governing photography. [main point/thesis] In the production area we have customized, proprietary equipment which, for competitive reasons, must be kept secret. [segue to body text] Following is a restatement of our company policy on photography and imaging devices.

14 BACKGROUNDER [context] There is widespread confusion in the public mind about the synthetically produced drug methadone. There is also widespread confusion among doctors about the drug and its use. [pique interest] Everyone who has an interest in methadone should be clear on its use. [purpose] The purpose of this paper is to provide background on the composition, application and consequences of using methadone. [main point/thesis] Methadone is effective in the treatment of drug addiction and for the relief of pain. [segue to body text] Following is information that will clear up confusion about the drug methadone.

15 ISSUE BULLETIN [context] Several members of the Washington State Legislature have introduced a measure that would rescind tax credits previously granted to companies as an incentive to locate operations in the state. [pique interest] Such a measure, if passed into law, would reflect negatively on the states integrity causing prospective businesses to reconsider locating in the state and causing existing recipients of tax credits to reconsider long-range expansion plans in the state. [purpose] The purpose of this bulletin is to issue a call to action by businesses throughout the state notifying them to contact elected state officials and urge them not to consider proposed H.B eliminating tax credits. [main point/thesis] Action against this measure is needed immediately.

16 LETTER Dear Mr. Horner: [context] The city has no land available in your part of the city for public recreation. [pique interest] There are 1100 children, ages 4 to 12, living within a two-mile radius of your business. These children and their families need a safe area in which to socialize and play. [purpose] The purpose of this letter is to ask you to donate to the city a part of your property for a public park that could be named Horners Corner. [main point/thesis] We have organized a neighborhood committee that would like to meet with you soon to discuss this idea in more detail. [segue to body] Following is a general description of our proposal.

17 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH [context] This is a biographical sketch of April Ellemay Hutchinson. She was founder and owner of Hutchinson Cybergraphics, Inc. [purpose] The purpose of this sketch is to outline her career. [pique interest] Artists are particularly interested in her unique design concepts and sources of inspiration. [main point/thesis] April Hutchinson is held in high esteem by advertising brand managers throughout the world. [segue to body text] Hutchinsons career began in a studio loft of a barn in Delonahga, Georgia.

18 MEDIA ALERT [context] This is National Preparedness Month. [pique interest] Local emergency services units have been urging people to prepare for a bird flu pandemic. [purpose] The purpose of this advisory is to call attention to an exhibit that will be on display at the Arc Exhibition Center provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. [main point] Mayor George Byrd will announce and describe the citys emergency plan at the opening of the exhibit. [Next the what, when, where, details.]

19 The opening paragraph can be one of your special writing strengths. Its also a cure for writers block.


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