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

Wednesday - 4 December 2013

A PR professional wears multiple hats: a spokesperson, a content marketer, a social media manager.

With all the roles PR pros play, they must master different writing styles to publish effective press releases, social media posts and content marketing articles.

Several recent articles address these needs by offering tips for all forms of writing so PR writers can establish themselves as a jack of all trades, including:

Press Releases & Pitches

Richard Brownell shares 10 Takeaways from PR News’ Chicago Writing Boot Camp from a workshop that featured valuable information for writing shareable press releases, attention-grabbing pitches and compelling social media content.

Among the key best practices addressed were:

  • Post with mobile in mind. Nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Use only close-up images and avoid attachments in pitches, and keep headlines short (but informative).
  • Pitch the story, not the brand. Or, as Dharmesh Shah puts it, “pitch solutions, not products.”
  • Use keywords wisely. If you don’t believe that Google penalizes those that neglect its link guidelines in press releases, Vladimir Gendelman’s story offers proof that Google enforces its decrees.
  • …but don’t leave out links completely. Always provide readers with an opportunity to learn more information about your brand. A press release without links fails to serve its purpose.

Social Media Posts

The “rules” of social media come second-nature to some, but Courtney Ramirez’s social media etiquette tips in Twitter 102: The Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter Writing are handy to keep in mind. Included in the rules are:

  • Do follow basic rules of English. Twitter’s 140-character limit doesn’t mean spelling, grammar and punctuation rules go out the window. Start sentences with a capital letter and spell out words, or risk losing your company’s professionalism and credibility.
  • Do share posts with links. According to Guy Kawasaki, every single social media post should carry a link. (But don’t publish long links. Use a URL shortening tool like Buffer or Bit.ly).
  • Do test multiple headlines — and don’t just share the article’s headline.

Content Marketing

The way you craft content has the ability to change a person’s perspective and find connections where there originally were none, Meaghan Keaney Anderson asserts. In What Makes Good Copywriting? 6 Characteristics of Top-Notch Copy, Anderson illustrates the power of words with a compelling story about a homeless man sitting in a community square.

In the story, a man sits with a sign that says “I’m blind, please help,” with the occasional passerby stopping to drop a coin. Then a woman comes by, grabs his sign, and writes on the reverse side: “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.” She replaces the sign next to the man, and the number of donations afterwards grew significantly.

 

The message of Purple Feather, content specialists who produced the movie: “Change your words, change your world.”

Randy Milanovic also compiles copywriting tips for PR and marketing content in 7 Tips for Improving Your Online Marketing Writing.

He stresses to write with a single person in mind, which is why it’s helpful to develop a persona of your target audience. This creates a “one-on-one marketing effect” so the reader can better relate to the material.

Other best practices for writing content marketing articles:

  • Support key statements with statistics, case studies, expert opinions or any other credible source.
  • Always end on a strong note by using a conclusion, call-to-action, or both.
  • Write once and edit twice. The first edit is for structure and organization, the second is to eliminate irrelevant words and sentences.

Bottom line: concise and well-written content offers proof of your credibility to the media, executives and your audience.

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Tips to Become a Jack of All Trades

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