Writing for a PR campaign is an art form, but a learnable one. As with any form of writing, you have to bear your audience in mind for PR campaigns as well. In the digital era, the way an audience reads and absorbs information has changed. There’s less emphasis on direct conversation. In the past, we were more likely to arrange a face-to-face meeting or pick up the telephone. Now, we carry out the majority of our communication online through emails and articles.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to identify modern writing trends and adapt accordingly. By following the writing tips below, you’ll be able to catch the attention of your readers. These apply for any and all written content that might form a part of your PR campaign.
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Spend time on your headline
Because people are bombarded with content daily, your headline has to stand out from the crowd. Not only does it need to catch your target’s eye, but it has to make them want to read the body text. A stellar headline is critical for all types of content, whether it’s the subject line of a pitch email or a blog post.
Create a narrative
People love a good story, so give them one. In terms of PR, a strong story is a better angle for the media to lead with. They’ll be more likely to publish that type of content than a bland product brief. Talk about the problem you wanted to solve and how you’ve solved it. How did you get where you are, and where are you going next?
Remember, people skim and scan
People rarely read text thoroughly, especially when it comes to digital content and pitches. They scan – picking out key words, phrases, and ideas. Therefore you must tailor your content to this method of reading. Avoid being too wordy and try to be succinct. If you have to, give yourself a word limit depending on the type of content you’re writing. For example, try and keep your email pitches under 250 words. If it’s a proposal that goes into more detail, 1000 words should be enough.
Break up your text
Because people scan text, they’re put off by large blocks of writing. When you write in large paragraphs, it makes it harder to pick out the main ideas within the text. Take this article, for example. It’s much easier to identify the trends we’re talking about at a glance due to each subheading. If multiple subheadings aren’t appropriate for what you’re writing, limit yourself to one idea per paragraph.
A good writing tip is to look at your copy afterwards and skim through it with fresh eyes. If it is difficult to glean to meaning quickly, then you might need to break up the text accordingly.
Get to the point
PR writing isn’t like writing an essay or a novel – or even sales copy. It should be direct and to the point. Leave out any unnecessary jargon that could confuse or alienate the reader. Don’t be tempted by semantic flourishes (like that) and keep your sentences brief and relevant.
Stick to the active voice
In linguistic terms, the active voice means the subject of the sentence comes before the action. For example, “Jack read the newspaper this morning.” In the passive voice, the subject comes after; “This morning, the newspaper was read by Jack.” Which has more impact? That’s not to say the passive voice doesn’t have its uses, but try to keep it to a minimum when writing PR content.
If you make general statements to back up your points, people have no reason to believe them. Even if they do, it’s not as effective as including real figures and statistics. It’s always worth taking the time to do your research. Instead of saying, “Most of our customers prefer x to y,” use a verifiable number. “64% of our customers prefer x to y,” and a link to your proof is far more convincing and adds credibility.
Check, edit, and question
Before you submit anything you’ve written, you must proofread it. Using a grammar checker is fine, but they’re not always perfect. Additionally, sometimes it’s better to strike a more conversational tone. Editing software sometimes recommends changes that make your writing sound less natural. Once you’ve cleared up any little mistakes, take the time to read your content aloud. If it wouldn’t sound natural read aloud to the recipient, it’s worth taking another look at it.
One of the best writing tips we got was to use technology to complement your editing work rather than completely takeover.
The takeaway for writing tips
Always try to frame your message in the sense that you’re solving a problem. If you follow the above writing tips, you’re guaranteed to see more success. Be clear and honest, and tell the story of how you’ve solved a problem. Not only will the media be more likely to write about you, but their audience will pay attention.
If you’re curious to learn more about public relations or want to speak to a SYNC consultant about starting your brand’s PR journey, contact us at email@example.com