Letter writing in public relations is an important skill for PR committees. Letters such as requesting public service announcement services or responding to an inquiry from a health professional area common. PI /PR committees should have several standard formats for use in these different circumstances.
We provide some examples of letters used our letter samples page for you to download on our letter writing samples page.
Further samples of these different types of letters can be found in A Guide to Public Information or in a Resource Section of the PR Handbook.
The most common letters we write in public relations are:
- Letter for information packets (general response to inquires)
- Letter to libraries (for book donation projects)
- Letter of introduction for public service announcement placements
- Letter to professionals
- Public response letter (for specific inquires)
- Thank you letters (for running PSAs or after PI presentation for example)
- News or Press Release
- Radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
- TV Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
A Few Recommendations for Letters:
- Use first class mail. Most mail is often sorted by postage when received by institutions; third class mail is seldom read. Don’t use bulk rate mail.
- Have a point of contact (Dear Mr. Walters). It takes extra effort to gather this information, but most people appreciate a personal touch in our contact. Don’t use generic titles (“Dear Health Care Professional”) if at all possible.
- Use standard business form and layout. No one is going to take you seriously if your letters are messy and disorganized.
- Use type printed letters. If you can’t type, don’t have a typewriter or a computer with letter quality printer, find someone who can help you.
- Use definitions from our literature (“Narcotics Anonymous is a fellowship, or group of men and women, for whom drugs had become a major problem”). If you use terms the reader cannot understand, he or she may misunderstand your communication. Don’t use slang or other language unique to NA.
- Make it clear that NA is not here to take the place of the professional. Never make your letter read as though we believe that we can do the professional’s job or do it better. Point out that we have a common goal, to help the addict that still suffers.
- Have a Fellowship approved reply address at the top of the letter. Do not use a personal address if at all possible. Remember to include pertinent contact information such as a phoneline telephone number and web address, if applicable.
- Sign the letter as a committee member of public information.
- Remember our Traditions and not make statements or take stands on issues outside of our Fellowship’s purpose.
- Keep your letters short. More than one page of communication should be used only when the situation dictates a longer than normal letter.