Less is more
I’ll make this brief. PR writing has gotten out of hand. Rambling introductions, unnecessary info, hyped-up product descriptions. I’m sure you aren’t guilty of any of these common mistakes… 🙂 But just in case you’d like a tune-up, here are three things you can do to make your PR writing shorter, clearer, and ultimately more persuasive:
- Resist the urge to introduce yourself. This is a tough one for a lot of PR people, because most of us share the same fatal flaw: We’re decent people. The rules of etiquette clearly demand we explain who we are and who we work for (and also let them know that we hope they’re doing well!). But journalists have different rules of etiquette, and right at the top of their list is Don’t Waste My Time. Let your signature line do its job and jump right into how you can make this journalist’s job easier.
- Omit proper nouns unless they propel news value. Journalists skim. They are not looking for the names of the researchers on the study, or even where the study was conducted. They’re looking for the findings. All that other stuff just gets in the way. Trim down your pitch by taking out every name they’ve never heard of, unless it’s essential to the story angle. If they’re interested in the story, they’ll get those details from you later.
- Cut meaningless modifiers and descriptors. It’s easy to fall into this trap, because it’s how we talk, but
actually, virtually half of the different various words we use generally don’t mean anything in particular. It’s incredible what you can cut when you look closely. And it makes your writing much easier to read and understand.
When your writing is clear and succinct, you are speaking your journalist’s language.
This article was originally published on March 23, 2022