“What is the key to a successful public relations campaign?”
The answer is simple: effective writing.
Sure, strategic planning, goal setting, message development, audience targeting and relationship building are all important elements that might first come to mind, but behind every successful campaign is a story, and behind every successful story is a potent storyteller with a knack for producing content that will resonate with the intended audience.
Your ability to successfully write everything from pitch notes, press releases and feature articles to scripts, blog posts and social media content is an invaluable asset to bring to your team. In this business, the ability to effectively narrate a story – regardless of topic or length – in such a way that the audience wants either to know more or to take action should be part of your skill set.
Public relations writing differs from other types of writing, such as composing an essay or a novel, in that the primary goals in PR writing are to get a persuasive message across, gain positive exposure through that messaging and, in many cases, call the audience to some sort of action. Professionals in this industry should make cultivation of their writing skills a priority. ‘
That’s why today we are offering all our up-and-coming PR pros out there five tips for improving their prose:
- Read – Regularly perusing content created by other writers exposes you to various forms and styles of writing and ultimately helps you improve. It’s that simple. Reading any type of content, whether it be from a newspaper, a magazine, a book or an online article, is a great way to expand your vocabulary and find inspiration from other voice.
- Create clear and compelling content – Creativity certainly will be needed when developing your angle, but then you also must know how to tell your story in a clear and concise way. A story that is both understandable and convincing is a story that will be truly effective. Don’t forget, the lead can make or break your piece, so be sure to give it the attention it deserves. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, you might be surprised how easily the rest of the story falls together.
- Make connections through your writing style – Restrain yourself from writing in a passive voice. An active voice allows you to make human connections through clear, energetic messages that keep readers engaged. Also, be concise. Eliminate phrases that don’t add any value to your story, and keep brainstorming simpler ways to make your point – the fewer the words, the better. Make sure your copy is clean and easy to read and understand.
- Ask for help – Your first draft won’t be perfect and it’s OK to ask for help. Invite coworkers to proof your work. You might even consider reading your copy aloud to them. (Sometimes, just hearing your words will help catch errors that otherwise might have been overlooked.) Also, allow yourself sufficient time for revisions or even total rewrites – writing under stress can result in an initial product filled with mistakes.
- Keep practicing – Repetition is the easiest way to improve your writing. It’s the road to excellence. Take advice from others, learn from your mistakes, incorporate feedback, and practice writing in all the popular forms. Remember, writing is the cornerstone of everything we do in the PR world, and practice makes perfect. Keep working on your writing and you will only make it better.