Writing is an all-consuming responsibility for public relations professionals. Although you are tasked with writing frequently, it doesn’t always come easily. Because PR writing encompasses different types of content, PR pros are expected to write tailored messages for a plethora of platforms, which in itself is no easy feat. To help you improve your writing skills and to help you overcome writer’s block, this week’s post focuses on what you can do to accomplish these necessary tasks.
In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five”– an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary – we look at tips to improve your promotional writing. Ways to tighten your writing,15 tips to make writing less painful,writing for earned, owned and paid media,and eliminating jargon from your writing are all covered in this week’s post. We also look at tips to help integrate content marketing into your social media strategy.
Five “Little” Ways to Tighten Your Writing (InkHouse Blog)
Good writing doesn’t come easily, and public relations and communications professionals are faced with writing a variety of content on a daily basis. This article offers tips to make your writing stronger and targeted to the platform it will be used for. According to the article, “Adding some phrases, eliminating others, adjusting sentence structures here and there – these nuances all can add up to significant improvements in your writing skills.”
The author suggests that you “remove ‘that is,’ ‘that are,’ ‘which is,’ ‘which are,’” and getting aggressive by using active language. The author also believes we should use fewer commas, and offered this rule of thumb: “if you can put the word or phrase at the end of the sentence without a comma, you can do so at the beginning as well.” The list of tips also includes how make your writing even tighter and the different between “and” and “&.” Visit the article for the full list with details.
Writer’s block, fear of edits and overall frustration can make writing a daunting task. To help you through its difficulties, this article offers 15 tips to make writing “less hellish.” The author offers rational tips, including:
- When you’re stuck, don’t keep staring at the screen. Take a break, and come back to it.
- Stop thinking in terms of how to draw people in. Today, your primary concern with your writing is not to drive people away.
- Chose clear, active verbs instead of throwaway verbs, such as utilize, implement, leverage, and disseminate.
For the full list of tips, visit the article.
Paid, Owned and Earned Media: What They Are and How They’ve Changed (March Communications)
Because PR pros are tasked with writing for various platforms, knowing the difference between the content used in paid, owned and earned media is an important skill. Messages for these diverse types of media have very different purposes, and the content written for each should reflect that. From controlling the messages received by audiences to crafting content that will resonate with influencers, understanding the differences in writing strategies can help PR pros craft better content. To compare two of the different types of media, the messaging for owned media is very different than earned media.
Owned media is dominated by brands who, according to the article, “have essentially evolved into publishers – there is an immense demand on marketers to consistently create fresh content that their customers will consume and get real value from, so they are inclined to build a relationship with the company and take actions.” In contrast, content for earned media must “guide clients on effectively packaging up stories that will resonate with influencers, as well as their target audiences. Customers and market research can go a long way in boosting product or service news.” Details on the different writing styles and purposes of content for these media outlets can be viewed via the article.
The “jargon-filled listicle” in this article highlights words that need to be eliminated from your written material. From overly descriptive adjectives to cliché phrases, the highlighted words should be removed from your writing to improve your content. Despite their cliché nature, these words are still frequently used in press releases, and when eliminated from your writing, you can get a step ahead of the PR competition.
“Landmark,” “revolutionary,” “groundbreaking,” and “breakthrough” top the list of words to eliminate from your content. Phrases such as “cutting edge,” “best of breed” and “world-renowned” also serve as “timeless examples” on the list of jargon. Author of the article, Patrick Coffee, also offers his response to each of the words on the list, with a comical twist that will convince you to cut them from your vocabulary. For the full list, visit the article.
Great Short-form Content (some from Brands) (Digital Influence Mapping Project)
With constantly diminishing attention spans, short form content is bursting with popularity. With sites and apps such as Twitter, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, and even infographics, PR professionals have an array of tools to help tell stories in a new, interesting and brief manner.
The author explains why Vox offers effective, short-form editorial: “The page design is a more sophisticated approach to tile-based design. Scrolling and browsing is a pleasure. Founder Ezra Klein and the Vox Media team have a resource that is just plain easy to consume in short bursts while still walking away with meaning.”
Faith Goumas is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.