Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: Essential Skills for Mastering Content

Public relations is a diverse profession with a variety of specialties and skills; however there is one area that most professionals will agree is important across the spectrum: creating quality content. Whether it’s formal or informal, content must be composed of creative messaging that will resonate with readers. Writing content that is tailored to a specific platform and distributing it appropriately will likely generate engagement, sharing and result in desired publicity.

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post – an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary – we look at strategic insight on creating content. Writing tips for different platforms, tweeting insights from Twitter’s CEO, viral content secrets and Facebook messaging recommendations are all covered in this week’s post. We also look at the worst jargon of 2013 and how to eliminate it.

PR Writing Guide: Tips to Become a Jack of All Trades (CyberAlert)

Public relations pros are frequently expected to “wear multiple hats” regarding content creation. This article offers helpful insight about best writing practices for press releases, pitches, social media posts and content marketing.  “The way you craft content has the ability to change a Friday Five Logoperson’s perspective and find connections where there originally were none,” contributor Meaghan Keaney Anderson states.

The article explains different areas of focus for different outlets. For example, when writing a press release, it’s important to “post with mobile in mind” and to “use keywords wisely,” while when writing social media posts, it’s important to focus on correct spelling, grammar and link usage. The article also includes tips on content marketing, and can be viewed at CyberAlert.

Dick Costolo Reveals the Secret ‘Key to a Great Tweet’ (PR Newser)

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo offered recommendations on how to become a “more effective and interesting tweeter” in a recent interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s The Today Show. One of the major themes of the interview was the importance of content.

Because many are intimidated by the 140 word constraint, Costolo encouraged users to “push the scaffolding, the technology and the language of Twitter to the background and bring the content forward” through “the media, the photos, the videos and the content.”  He continued, “It’s the 140 character constraint itself that makes the creativity of operating with that, in that, constraint beautiful.” The full interview with Costolo can be viewed here.

Gawker editor shares viral content secrets (Ragan)

Gawker editor Neetzan Zimmerman shared secrets of creating viral content with the Wall Street Journal. In the interview, Zimmerman explained how following ongoing stories and internet culture can help create content around “hot themes” with the potential to go viral. Through creating content based on popular trends, Zimmerman successfully drives traffic to materials.

“It might be that right now, people don’t care about stories about cats that much, and instead, sloths are more popular. So I’ll have a rule—cats are out, sloths are in, focus on sloths because that’s going to be your meal ticket,” he states.

7 scientific insights for creating better Facebook content (PR Daily)

Writing for social media often seems simple because of its conversational nature, but scientific insight from a recent study offers new ideas on how to create even better Facebook content. Researchers from the Graduate School of Stanford University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study to understand what generates Facebook likes and comments.  Interpretations of the findings include:

  • Product availability and deals is not the way to go if you want “likes” and comments
  • Persuasive content is good for “likes” and comments, but don’t mention the holidays
  • Leaving a blank for your fans to fill in is the best way to get more comments

For a full list of Facebook content recommendations from the study, visit the article.

Jargon that should be retired before 2014 (PR Daily)

Writing creative content is important, but it’s also equally as important to avoid using annoying jargon in materials. From “content is king” to “learnings,” many phrases and words (and non-words) have caught on in the public relations community and became overused throughout the year. The article categorizes the worst jargon that was popular and used too frequently in 2013.

In the worst grammar faux-pas category, “plus-up” won worst of the year. Instead of using verbs, many have opted to use this “conjunction/adverb hybrid.” While the phrase may seem fitting for a variety of uses, it is improper grammar, and verbs such as ‘expand’ and ‘increase’ can be used in its place. A full list of the worst jargon can be viewed in the article.

Faith Goumas is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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