Writing remains one of the basic skills of every successful PR officer.
While it is true that media relations have to go beyond simple press releases, this feature still represents a cornerstone of the PR role.
According to the report, over 90 percent of journalists and influencers still prefer email pitches as the source of business-related information. In such circumstances, you absolutely need to perfect your writing skills to become a more effective PR professional.
Consider these nine tactics:
1. Write an eye-catching lead.
You probably have heard the phrase “well begun is half done.” In terms of PR writing, this means you must start strongly and grab the reader with an eye-catching opening line. The average reader has a short attention span, so you must be very convincing right from the start. Cut to the chase and present your ideas immediately.
2. Keep it short.
Journalists don’t have the time to bother with long and boring pitches, so don’t write too many words. Keep in mind that less is more in PR business. Write brief, clear and straightforward sentences that clearly show your intentions. This type of writing strategy will save you a lot of time and make the pitches much more effective.
3. Don’t hurry.
There are occasions when PR managers must react quickly, but most of the time they really don’t. What does it mean for you as a writer? It means you don’t need to hurry and risk making amateur mistakes.
Let every PR text rest for a while before fact-checking. You can take a rest or do something else before coming back to the same pitch to double-check your statements and remove mental errors. Although it seems boring and unnecessary at times, it might preserve your professional credibility.
4. Eliminate any passive voice.
Passive voice is a storytelling killer, regardless of the content type.
It almost always takes more words to express ideas in a passive voice. Consider this example:
- I sent a PR pitch.
- A PR pitch was sent by me.
Also, just like the name suggests, the passive voice sounds inert and inactive. An active voice always feels more engaging and is more likely to inspire the desired action.
5. Add a quote.
A good PR quote will draw readers into your story, provide a unique perspective, and inject much-needed human context. it makes your pitch more attractive and eye-catching.
Keep in mind, however, that good quotes shouldn’t be too long or inventive. They just need to contain a simple—but highly credible statement—which reveals something about your story. Make sure your CEO or company spokesperson know this and always ask them for a nice quote. It will make your story much more interesting.
6. Support your pitch with concrete details.
Don’t just describe things; try to show specific examples or statistical findings. That way you can make the message more convincing, thus avoiding vague, pushy brand promotion.
7. Simplify complex constructions.
Whenever you write about complex topics, try to make the content simpler. Break down most relevant data to make it easier for the audience to understand the message or else you will leave them confused and disinterested.
Divide complicated subjects into several simpler units and explain things step by step. Add familiar examples to show how these processes work in a real-life environment. This is the only way to drive engagement and inspire media outlets to dedicate more time and space to your story.
8. Proofread content.
No one will take you seriously if you make grammar or spelling mistakes in your pitches, official documents or presentations.
You can take different approaches:
- Proofread the content on your own after you’ve taken some time to rest.
- Ask colleagues to do it, because they often notice mistakes you never would.
- Use online proofreading services such as Grammarly. This solution is easy and highly efficient, but it sometimes misses contextual details.
All these options have their pros and cons, but its recommended to use at least two out of three proofreading methods to make sure your text is flawless.
9. Keep practicing.
You can’t expect to start writing immaculate pitches immediately. It will take you weeks or even months to master the art of PR writing, but don’t give up. Practice makes perfect; so keep writing to perfect this skill.
Ellie Chapman is a PR manager and a part-time blogger at brillassignment.co.uk.
This article originally appeared on PR Daily in November of 2018.