Public relations, like many things in life, is 90 percent perspiration and 10 percent inspiration. Many people have a misconception of what we do (even our family). Writing is something that is a part of a PR pro’s daily hourly duty. PR isn’t about rubbing elbows with celebrities and throwing extravagant parties for clients. But, I’m speaking to the choir on this.
Any PR pro knows the importance of honing their writing skills. It’s a must. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be anywhere in the PR world. Not only do we have to craft the perfect pitch for media, we have to write compelling press releases and blog posts people find interesting.
What one-person finds interesting, another may find extremely boring. There is a fine line between mass appeal, and a flop. Have I ever written something uninteresting? Absolutely. Did I learn from it? You bet. Writing is one of those tricky things you have to be constantly working at. If not, you will fall behind the pack and left in the dust.
When breaking news hits, everyone will be writing about it. What can you bring to the table? Have I read a ton of articles on how to write better? You bet ya, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn something new.
Try coming to the subject from a new angle. What HASN’T someone reported? If you don’t have access to inside details, do some research. You are smart, put your two cents in. No one is born an “expert.” You have to position yourself or client as one. Be different, it’s okay.
Format for Skimming
Do you read every word of a post? I don’t—even if it’s a great one. We all learned in PR 101 to have your most important information at the beginning of the article. That is still true, but bold headings help as well.
For example, in this post, you can get all major points from the bolded headings. This way, you can decide what is worth your time to read fully, and what points are most important if you don’t have time to read the entire post.
Fast Doesn’t Mean Forget
Sometimes we only have an hour to get a press release written. This doesn’t mean you should forget your facts. When you get in a hurry, or know you’re on a tight deadline, you can start to stress yourself out. This is just natural, but it doesn’t mean you should throw out everything you know how to do well.
Make a checklist if you have to. I know what mistakes I tend to make when I’m writing fast. As a result, I have a checklist I keep on my desk. This reminds me of what to look out for when I’m self editing.
Have someone else read your release, article or anything else going out for the public to read. We know what the copy is supposed to say, and sometimes our brain reads what it should say, and not what it really says.
Do you need every word in the sentence you just wrote? Keep it short, simple and to the point. You don’t have to tell the reader what your going to say, then say it. Just say it—we are all busy get to the point. Your copy will be better for it, and your readers will be appreciative as well.
Avoid Large Words
You’re smart, but it doesn’t mean you have to use large words. They are harder to read, and make it more difficult to skim. You can sound smart without using a 10-letter word for smart, when you can just say smart.
What Helps You?
These are just a few things that help me when I’m writing. What helps you? We all have our own techniques for great writing. Share the knowledge!
Shannon Evans Suetos is an online marketer living is San Diego, and the owner of What’s Your Two Cents? WYTC is a blog dedicated to reporting the latest trending news topics to spark a conversation among readers. You can also follow Shannon on Twitter @ShannonEvansSM.