In our field, writing is essential – there is just no way around it. Writing for public relations purposes is different from academic or news writing. It’s a whole new skill to master. Now, writing is either a key reason you became a public relations major, or it is a little detail that you had hoped could be glossed over. If the latter describes you: tough luck. It’s time to focus on bolstering your writing skills; a necessary component to your success in the public relations field. Here are some tips to help you out
1. Focus on your client.
Personally, something I struggle with the most when it comes to public relations writing is knowing when to hold back certain details. Unlike many other forms of writing, objectivity is not the goal. You are allowed to express your opinion. It is important to always remember for whom you are writing the piece, and what your client would like to share with audiences. If it doesn’t build goodwill for your client, you’re better off omitting it.
2. Become a storyteller.
An important goal of public relations writing is to hook and maintain the attention of your target audience. You need to build a connection with your readers and convey a deeper meaning – and the easiest way to do this is by telling a story that flows well and relates to them at their level. Regardless of your assignment – an informational piece, a news release, a feature story – you can make it more interesting and engaging by becoming a storyteller.
3. Remember key messaging.
Especially with longer pieces, it is far too easy to lose focus and get off topic with your writing. Always keep in mind: what is the purpose of this piece? Why are you writing? There is no point to working on it if it is ineffective in the end. So, stop yourself every so often; choose your words carefully, and organize your thoughts logically. When you are finished, read the piece aloud to yourself and get an outsider’s perspective, to assess the effectiveness of your work.
4. Find powerful quotes.
Compelling quotes can make or break a piece of public relations material. A trusty skill that good writers have is assessing whether to quote or to paraphrase quoted material. Quotes should always pull the story forward and progress the plot, with the help of strong lead-in sentences. If you are stating facts, figures or some sort of explanation, there is no need to quote; and it can actually end up detracting from your piece.
5. Get a second, third or fourth opinion.
Never submit something without having another set of eyes peruse your piece. Give the project to more than one person, and see if it has your desired effect on them. We are writing to achieve specific results, so send your piece on a test run.
Teghan Simonton is a sophomore with a dual major in public relations and journalism. She serves as the publicity chair for Waynesburg PRSSA and as managing editor for the award-winning Yellow Jacket student newspaper. She is an active member of Red Brick Communications and the Society of Professional Journalists. In her free time, Teghan is a member of the cross country and track teams.