The Definitive Guide to PR Writing

Write for Reach and Results

Course Duration: Approx. 6 hours
Lesson Duration: Approx. 60–90 minutes

Note: The prices below are for the full four-part course. The price of each individual module is $199 for PRSA members and $249 for nonmembers.
Full Price: $799
Members: $699

Category: Writing

As a professional journalist for 18 years before coming to PR, I still sometimes fall into writing slumps where the words just sit there on the paper. Not only does Michael breathe life into the fundamentals, but he courts creativity and serious strategic thinking. In the last module, he showed me how to tell stories in my content writing. I was thrilled. All of Michael’s tips strike the right tone between spare and wordy. I can still have warmth and energy in my writing and not sound like a robot. Slump over!   

— Susan Dosier, president, DK Communications, Charlotte, N.C.

The only thing worse than finding out your PR writing isn’t good enough is NOT finding out.

If no one ever tells you what’s wrong, if no one ever gives you the tools to fix it, then you’ve got to live with the consequences.

And the consequences for bad PR writing are not pretty. You get passed over for promotions. Your writing gets ignored. Your writing gets called out by a snarky journalist. Your writing even stops people from taking action.
A skill that should be an asset becomes one of your biggest liabilities.

And the worst part is that you may never know.

Now you can become the best PR writer you know in just 10 minutes a day with the most comprehensive PR writing course available online.

You won’t find anything more complete, more organized, more effective.

Get More Reach and Bigger Results in 10 Minutes per Day

When it comes to PR writing, what someone “thinks” about your writing takes a backseat to what they DO (or don’t do) because of your writing. The only thing that matters is reach and results.

In the “Definitive Guide to PR Writing,” everything is structured to improve your writing in a way that will expand your reach and create a measurable improvement in results.

There is a lot of valuable material covered in a very brief amount of time. The focus is on major PR forms including news releases and backgrounders — both in print and online.

This course is educational and convenient: You can take Michael Smart’s “Definitive Guide to PR Writing” course in one of two ways:

  • Comprehensive Course — Sign up for the full, four-part e-learning program that includes slides, Michael Smart’s teaching narration, quizzes and video segments. Total cost for four hours of advanced PR writing instruction for PRSA members: $699 (a $100 savings).
  • Á La Carte — The modules also can be taken individually, with each comprised of bite-sized 10-minute lessons designed to be taken at home, during lunch or before, during or after work — without interrupting other activities. This option is best for communicators seeking to brush up on specific writing skills or those who may return to take other modules later. Cost per module for PRSA members: $199.

Here’s what you’re going to discover in this course:

Module A:
The Definitive Guide to Writing Like a Journalist Without Having to Be One: Get More Placements, Page Views and Shares by Showing Up the Smart Way

  • Why Most PR Writing Is Set Up to Fail and How to Use That to Your Advantage.
  • Adopting the New “Excellence-Based” Standard for PR Writing.
  • How to Be Direct: Trading in the Complicated for the Simple.
  • How to Double or Triple the Power of Everything You Write.
  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: How to “Prove Your Case” Without Crossing the Line.
  • The Power of Show and Tell: How to Bring Your Words to Life.
  • The Power of Show and Tell II: Making Them Believe.
  • The “Jargon” Mistake and How to Fix It.

Module B:
How to Write News Releases Management Will Love and No Editor Can Ignore

  • The Evolution of the News Release and How to Use It Today.
  • The Chameleon Principle: How to Set the Proper Tone.
  • The Mapping Strategy: How to Write News Releases That EVERYONE Loves.
  • The Mapping Strategy II: Getting Past the Gatekeepers.
  • The Anatomy of a Successful News Release.
  • Starting Off on the Right Foot: What to Say First.
  • Making Quotes Work: Why Most News Release Quotes Put Readers to Sleep and a Detailed Strategy for Making Yours Effective.
  • How to Think Like a Search Engine Without Writing Like a Robot.
  • How to Write Backgrounders and Op-Eds That Get Results.

Module C:
Polishing for PR Perfection: Master Proofreading Principles and Grammar for Boosting Your Credibility and Results

  • Putting Your Writing on a Diet: The Secrets to Saying More by Writing Less.
  • How Not to Repeat Yourself, Repeat Yourself.
  • The Clichés Trap and How It Can Ruin Your Writing.
  • How to Use “Short and Sweet” to Move Readers Forward.
  • How to Destroy Your Credibility in 100 Words or Less: Horrifying Examples of Bad PR Writing.
  • Making It Perfect: Tips and Tricks for Proofreading.
  • How to Avoid Word Mix-Ups That Make You Look Dumb (Ouch!).
  • Becoming Your Own Grammar Police: How to Write Error Free, Part I.
  • Becoming Your Own Grammar Police: How to Write Error Free, Part II.

Module D:
PR Writing Mastery: How to Set Your PR Writing Apart From Everyone Else and Maximize Your Impact

  • Writing in Pictures: Applying Creativity Without Distracting Your Readers.
  • Mastering the Element of Surprise: How to Use It to Stand Out.
  • How to Choose the Words That Keep Readers Engaged.
  • Leveraging the Never-Ending Interest in Story.
  • Starting Your Own Writing Style Revolution.
  • Tying It All Together: The 14-Step Smarter Writing Process.

Michael knows the challenges and grief we face as PR pros. With his typical flair, he shows how we can transform these weaknesses into strengths. He teaches bedrock principles and then how to apply those principles with real-world examples and hands-on exercises. He packages all of this goodness with an enthusiasm that propels you along. It’s fast-paced, it’s fun and something I’ll be sharing with the rest of my team.   

— Ken Li, PR director, Chempetitive Group, Chicago, Ill.

I’ve had the pleasure of taking several of Michael’s PR writing training courses over the years and I am one of his biggest fans. Michael is not only an awesome trainer but his personal style and method of explaining things really gets to the core to help continually improve your writing and PR skills and utilize them in your daily work life. I highly recommend Michael’s training to anyone who wants to be a better PR practitioner.   

— Nicola Blazier, vice president, Jesson+Company, Toronto, Canada

I’ve put my teams through Michael’s online PR writing course at two different companies. Everyone was overwhelmingly positive and felt they learned a lot. I saw a distinct improvement in the writing skills of almost everyone who took part. The course was engaging and relevant for everyone. I can highly recommend Michael’s course and I can assure you — it produces results!   

— Maria Kuhn, corporate communications director

Before I took Michael’s online PR writing course, my writing was mediocre. Now that I’ve completed it, I’m confident in my writing and even find myself citing the course to my boss. I used what I learned to cut an email pitch down and the journalist told me it was great!   

— Alisa Langer, account coordinator, Benson Marketing Group, Armonk, N.Y.

Last year, I bought Michael’s “Crafting the Perfect Pitch” course and I benefited immensely from it. Thanks to his tips, I am now able to land more media placements than ever before. So when Michael introduced his “Definitive Guide to PR Writing” course, it was a no-brainer for me. Within 10 minutes of the course introduction, I bought it. I know I will improve my writing skills the same way I improved my pitching skills.   

— Jay Srinivasan, PR manager, LAN, Washington, D.C.

I purchased Michael’s writing course because I have already experienced great success in garnering media coverage from using his tips and tools provided through his other resources. I was looking for an opportunity to expand my PR writing and storytelling proficiency. So far, the course is insightful and engaging and has already taught me important lessons that I know will assist me with improving my writing skills.   

— Katrina Crocker, communications and marketing specialist, Central NY Community Foundation, Syracuse, N.Y.


Michael Smart, principal, MichaelSMARTPR

Photo of Michael Smart

Michael Smart is the trainer and coach PR professionals turn to when they want to improve their communications results. He’s trained more than 10,000 communicators around the globe including teams at General Motors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and many other organizations and agencies, large and small. His popular workshops sell out and he is regularly among the top-rated presenters at the PR conferences where he speaks.



Participants with the APR credential earn 1.0 APR Maintenance Credit for each completed module of this course.