Public speaking refers to the process of communicating messages to a group of people in a deliberate and structured manner with the intent of informing, influencing or entertaining the audience.

Public speaking is extremely important to a public relations strategy because it is going to be one major way your local union delivers its message to the public. The better your public speaking skills, the more effective you will be conveying information.


Public speaking is relevant to you because you have important messages to send and public speaking is one way of sending them. You will utilize public speaking in many different forms, including news conferences, and various events. Public speaking skills will also translate to having successful interactions with reporters and journalists who may be covering your organization.


Your audience will depend on the speaking engagement. There will not be one specific audience that encapsulates all of your public speaking engagements, but it is important to understand the differences in your audience and tailor your public speaking style to it in order to convey your message effectively.


You will use public speaking in a variety of ways to accomplish your public relations goals. Public speaking is not necessarily a public relations tool in and of itself, but it is a communication tool and is a vital part of the success of strategies, such as news conferences, interviews and speeches at events.


While it comes naturally to some, public speaking is a skill that many need to hone.

By using the following tips, your local union can develop public speaking skills that will ensure successful delivery of important messages:

  • Construct a clear message: know the goal of your speech and make sure that the idea is communicated clearly to the audience.
  • Become an expert: Many public speaking appearances also open the door for audience members to ask questions. It is important to know the material you are speaking about inside and out. You should also prepare yourself for potential questions that may come up. The better you know your material, the more credible you seem and the more positively people will respond to your message.
  • Recognize your audience: It is important that your speech uses language and examples that fit the audience. Making these adjustments allows you to connect to the audience, hold their attention, and communicate your message more effectively.
  • Practice!: “Practice makes perfect” is a cliché because it’s true! Not only will you know your speech and the message better, making you more effective, but the more you practice, the more comfortable you feel. You will appear more credible if your delivery seems cool and confident, rather than nervous and shaky.



The term “Media Relations” refers to the relationships your client or organization has with news and media outlets, as well as how you maintain these relationships. This guide will help you learn why media relations are important and offer tactics for creating and sustaining successful rapports with the media.

Media relations are a key aspect of successful public relations strategy and getting good media coverage. The media can be looked at as a “mouthpiece” for your messages: in many cases they help your message reach a much wider audience. It is important to establish a rapport of mutual trust with the media. The better relationship you have, the more likely the media is to cover your stories and messages.

There are a few easy ways of establishing strong media relations. Your organization should chose one person to be your media liaison. Having a single person relay the information to the media ensures that members of the media are not receiving conflicting or redundant stories. The liaison will be responsible for making contacts with the media and responding to media inquiries, as well as contacting them when you have stories or events you want covered. The liaison should be a professional that presents himself or herself as an expert and can be relied on by the media as an expert in their field. Media outlets have four main goals: to inform, to advise, to entertain and to make a profit. The easier you make it for the media to attain these goals the more likely you are to receive fair media coverage and maintain good relationships.

Media lists contain selected names, addresses, and phone numbers of targeted news organizations, reporters and editors who want, and are most likely to use, the materials and stories you send them. Media lists include the people with whom you need to have a good rapport and engagement. A comprehensive list should include every news organization in your media market. A media market is the region where people can receive the same television and radio offerings as well as receive the same newspapers and Internet content.


It is important to have a targeted media list. Targeting your lists means you focus on the media that cover your issue directly. A good media list should include: daily and weekly papers; local and special interest publications; city and regional magazines; and television and radio stations. If you are unsure of who covers issues related to you at these news outlets, call the outlet and ask the “Assignment Editor.” He or she will direct you to the right person. Another way to determine who the appropriate contact is by tracking  bylines, or who is the authoring articles related to your organization and reaching out to them. This ensures that you are sending your stories and information to the appropriate people. Be sure to include all available contact information. Once you have compiled the list, be sure to reach out to everyone on it to confirm his or her contact information, introduce yourself and your union, and start to build a relationship.


There are a few simple ways that your liaison can establish secure media relations:

  • Call reporters and schedule individual meetings to introduce yourself and provide background about your union.
  • Make sure members of the media have your phone number, email and all other necessary contact information.
  • Set a standard for continual, routine contact.
  • Keep reporters updated on your issues; activities and point of view; share news story angles; provide quick facts and background information; and offer access to your members.
  • Take advantage of breaking news on topics that relate to your organization and serve as a resource to the media. If there is a story that is happening on the national level that has local impact, contact local media outlets to offer interviews, up-to-date information and anything that gives the reporter a fresh angle on the story.
  • Consistently monitor media coverage to stay on top of how reporters are handling coverage on aspects of your organization.

It is always important to keep in mind that your relationship with reporters and the media is professional and that you are acting as an expert and reliable source. With this in mind, here are a few tips that can help you forge successful relationships with members of the media:

  • Don’t hesitate to approach the media with a story or idea.
  • Try to keep relationships with the media friendly and honest.
  • Maintain open lines of communication and try to make the journalist’s job as easy as possible.
  • Access to the media means access to the public, so be specific with the information you provide, as this will shape the story that’s created.
  • Have a “news sense:” make sure your story has a local angle, has widespread and/or human interest. These are among the elements of a “newsworthy” story.



Newsletters are print or online written pieces that chronicle key issues, people and events happening in your organization. They are written and distributed on a regular schedule which can vary anywhere from weekly to annually. Newsletters keeps the public up to date while simultaneously presenting a positive image of your organization to the community.

Newsletters serve as an integral part of your organization’s internal public relations. Newsletters are often distributed to the public, especially to important members of the community and media, to keep them updated on issues important to your organization.

Newsletters have two main audiences: the members  of your organization and the general public. Make sure you keep in mind each of these audiences while writing the newsletter. The content needs to convey the important information you want the members to know, while at the same time presenting an appealing and organized image to the public.  The newsletter should try to reach as many people as possible. Strategies that can help you accomplish this are: writing in short, direct sentences; making sure every story contains all necessary information (who, what, when, where, why and how); and maintaining the form of inverted pyramid so the most important information is presented first. Also make sure that your writing is factually sound, and that your headlines capture readers’ attention.

A wide variety of topics can be covered in newsletters.  First, make sure that you address any pressing issues concerning your organization. Additional suitable content includes articles about upcoming events, membership meetings, local and national political news that affects your organization and recurring columns.


The first step is to organize. Pick an editor and choose a committee that will work on the newsletter. If possible, try to compile a committee that is diverse and has differing positions within your organization. People who have skills in writing, research, photography and design would be great assets.


Second, determine the schedule. How frequently are you going to be publishing a newsletter? Once this has been decided, create deadlines for submitting articles, final copies and publication date. Share these dates with all of the newsletter staff. This will help the process move along and keep everyone on the same page.


After a schedule is determined, you then need to decide what topics and articles will be featured in the newsletter and assign them. At this time, you should look at the layout for the newsletters, so that the writers know how long to make their pieces.


Microsoft Publisher is very helpful program for creating layouts and you can find many online-based programs, such as or SalsaLabs, that would also help create clean, professional looking newsletters. Having your newsletter sent to a graphic designer is also a very good option if the funds are available.


Once the articles are written and finalized, and put into a layout, and printed, it is time to publish! Make sure that you send the newsletters to all of the members, select members of the community and media outlets. You should also publish the newsletter on your union’s website and include a space where people can submit their address to subscribe to the newsletters.

Online newsletters offer a number of benefits over traditional print letters. In most cases, online newsletters are sent out more frequently, but as a result are shorter. You can add multimedia to your online newsletters, such as YouTube videos or website links that may be beneficial. The writing process is almost identical to writing print newsletters, and it is still important to choose a layout that will look good in email form. In many cases, online newsletters are cheaper to produce because there are no printing or mailing costs. The newsletter will be published via “email blast” to all organization members as well as any other subscribers. The online versions should also be published to the organization’s website, along with an area to enter your email to subscribe to the newsletters.



The term “op-ed” comes from “opposite the editorials,” because the op-ed pieces are placed on the page opposite the editorials in the newspaper. Op-ed articles are opinion articles about current issues that are written by people outside the newspaper staff. They are not editorials or news articles, both of which are written by a member of the newspaper staff. They differ from letters to the editor partly due to their length, but also because the author is typically considered somewhat of an expert in the subject. Op-eds also follow a specific format, whereas the only rule regulating letters is the length.

Op-ed articles offer organizations the opportunity to present their opinions on an issue to a wide readership. While an op-ed serves essentially the same purpose as an editorial written by a staff reporter, it is almost more personal since it is coming directly from an organization separate from the newspaper.

Here are some tips to help you write your op-ed:

  • Start strong
    • Start your op-ed with an attention-grabbing sentence that will make the newspaper want to publish the article and make the readers want to read it.
  • Pick a point and prove it
    • Even though op-eds are longer than letters to the editor, you still have limited space. Maintain one point throughout the entire piece, proving it again and again with supporting facts and evidence.
  • Consider the byline (the author).
    • An op-ed is often chosen on the basis of who wrote it, so it may be the in the best interest of your organization if the president or some one else in a leadership position “signs” the op-ed, rather than the media relations person who actually wrote it. Of course, whoever is listed in the byline must give permission and must understand and agree with the points made.
  • Include a “bio line” at the end.
    • This should be a short sentence that briefly explains who is listed in the byline and why they’re important. Similar to the byline, this should impress both the newspaper and the reader with some level of prestige.