Writing Refresher for Public Relations Pros
By Geena Pandolfi | On November 14, 2018
Writing is a core function for any job in the public relations and marketing fields. From content creation, such as social media and blog posts to press releases and pitches, writing is the foundation of nearly everything we do. Last week, PRNews held a writing boot camp in NYC that I attended to hone in on my skills and expand my craft. Below are my key takeaways from the event.
Reporters Average Only 60 Seconds Reading a Press Release
Press releases are always a hot topic in the PR world and their value is always debated. No matter how much emphasis you place on press releases, they are still an important tool used to disseminate information to media and the public at large. When drafting a release, emphasize the headline and sub-head because it’s the first (and sometimes only) element a reporter will read. Make it impactful with short stats and/or punchy text that are free of industry jargon. Most importantly, always highlight the actual news / biggest takeaway of your release.
Don’t Be Afraid To Use Contractions
Seems simple, but many people don’t incorporate contractions into their content because they feel it’s too informal – but it’s how we speak. Tighten up quotes and pitches with contractions and it’ll help keep your writing punchier and easier to read.
Write Content With SEO In Mind
For any public-facing piece of content (blog post, social content, or press release), you should think about search engine optimization (SEO). You want to make your brand’s collateral searchable to customers and other stakeholders. Top tips for writing with SEO in mind:
- Use keywords in the headline and in the body of the content, this help you rank higher in Google
- Make your URL include the words you want people to search for, so if people search for your keywords, your link will likely appear higher in searches
- Write to solve what the “searcher” is looking for – For content that solves searchers queries, Google ranks those URLs higher. Write as if you are solving their problem.
Writing is a skill that can always be improved the more you work at it. Getting new ideas for how to keep writing fresh and efficient will help content that PR and marketing professionals create go further and have a bigger impact on the bottom line. Additionally, as the way we write evolves for the digital age, it is important to keep in mind SEO best practices so your brand is easily discoverable to your target audience.