This is the time of year when you start seeing collections of “the year’s best business writing” or “the best journalism of the year.” As a former journalist and news junkie, I love that stuff.
But let’s face it, that’s not really the year’s best writing. Much respect to those journalists, but they usually get to pick the stories they pursue. And they have one primary purpose – to inform and/or entertain their readers.
The REAL best writing of the year comes in employee benefits newsletters. And software content marketing. And hotel news releases. PR writing is the best out there. Not all of it – of course not. Most of it’s robotic drivel. But when skilled and motivated PR writers apply themselves to mundane topics and succeed, that’s real beauty to me.
Because you, the PR pro, don’t usually get to pick and choose what to write about. And you need to grab and hold the attention of a usually skeptical reader, and deliver a persuasive business message.
Like this line hospitality PR pro Lashley Pulsipher wrote a couple years ago that still resonates in my mind. She was promoting a job fair, of all things, but still dug deep and came up with: “The echo that reverberates across the empty lobby of the new luxury hotel is an audible symbol of the biggest challenge facing (hotel brand) today – the shortage of a key natural resource in Africa: employees.”
How do you know when you succeed as a PR writer? When a reader who had zero intention of learning about whatever your topic was finishes the piece you wrote and didn’t even realize they’d been sucked in. You achieve that with:
– heavily reader-focused headline and opening graf
– disciplined succinctness with zero unnecessary words
– accessible flow that ignores outdated grammar “rules”
I truly believe that high school and college English teachers are the primary cause of most of the common flaws in PR writing today. Most of the stuff they taught us is anachronistic, and it backfires when applied in the real world.
I’ve researched and studied and tested and practiced how to teach PR people to break out of their bad habits and write like Lashley did.
She wrote that release after completing my Definitive Guide to PR Writing online course. I updated it this year, so we are running a 25 percent off promotion that ends tomorrow.
But if you decide to leave behind bad writing habits and strive for real excellence, be sure to do so by tomorrow so you can take advantage of the promotion. We won’t be doing this again any time soon.