Tools to Make You a Better PR Writer

Being a better writer takes time and practice. It’s elementary to do your very best to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as industry jargon, in press releases, email media pitches and other content.

But to increase the chances of your press release or email pitch getting picked up, it’s vital to tell your client’s story well, and with language that’s both engaging and easy to understand.

Below, we outline some essential tools that can help you improve your PR writing and make your media materials clear, concise and compelling to journalists and other readers.

Read News
The best PR writers are usually the ones who love to read and write. By immersing yourself in the written word, you can quickly improve the way you write. 

Whether you prefer books, magazines, newspapers or online articles, any type of reading is a great way to study different writing styles and enhance your overall writing skills.

Study AP Style
The journalists you pitch write in AP Style – and so should you. In addition to duct-taping your Stylebook to your hip and keeping a spare in the trunk of your car, you can brush up on your AP Style by following @APStylebook on Twitter for daily tips.

Common AP Style mistakes for PR professionals avoid include:

  • Capitalizing job titles
  • Using acronyms before spelling them out
  • Double-spacing after a sentence
  • Using numbers 1-9 incorrectly

Explore New Tools
If you’re stuck in a writing rut, you may find checking out new resources to improve your writing helpful. Examples include:

  • Hemingway App, which encourages you to put down the thesaurus and write in plain English. The tool helps you simplify lengthy, complex sentences and eliminate common errors. It even grades readability and gives you hints on alternative words and phrases to improve your sentences.
  • Quickly improve your writing and communication skills by using Cliché Finder to identify and eliminate words, expressions and phrases that are trite, stale and frankly overused. After you copy/paste your writing, the cliche checker uses a unique algorithm and overused phrases dictionary to find results.
  • Grammarly is a free writing app and browser extension that can make your emails, documents and posts clear, mistake-free and effective. The app can give you corrections on Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter, Word and many other sites.
  • Headline Analyzer can put you on the same level as journalists by scoring your overall headline quality and rating its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic and SEO value. This tool is key for blog post titles, byline headlines and other PR content that lives online.
  • Make every word count with Wordcounter, a free online editor that counts your texts’ words and characters, checks keyword density, corrects writing mistakes and estimates reading and speaking time.
  • Read your writing aloud or use a text-to-speech tool to catch mistakes and clean up lengthy or repetitive sentences. Many computers have built-in text-to-speech tools readily available under accessibility settings.

The last tip to help better your PR writing is an obvious one that’s often forgotten: practice. No matter how much editing feedback you get, repetition and writing a variety of PR materials is the best and most efficient way to improve your copy.

Already an all-star PR writer? We’re always accepting applications for consideration. Click here to inquire about open positions and submit your materials.

How to Successfully Work Remotely

WFH. These three letters allow employees to move from the desk-bound constraints of a 9-to-5 office and give them the freedom to work from the comfort of their own home, a coffee shop, a collaborative working space or anywhere in between.

In recent years, the option to work elsewhere has seen a surge in popularity. According to a survey by AfterCollege, 68% of millennial job seekers say an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in specific employers. Furthermore, a survey from OwlLabs found that employees who work from home at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive at work, resulting in 25% less employee turnover than their non-remote work offering counterparts.

Here at Dittoe PR, we offer the opportunity for our team members to work from home a half-day each week. Whether that’s a morning where getting out of bed just isn’t going to happen, or an afternoon where a change of scenery is crucial, this perk encourages us to take some time and work from wherever makes us happy.

Wherever you choose to set up shop, consider these four tips for the most productive outcome:

Dress for success.
Trust me, I know how incredibly tempting it is to throw on pajamas or sweatpants when you’re working from home. However, when you wear pajama pants to bed and sweatpants to lounge on a Saturday afternoon, you’re not in the right frame of mind to physically work.

Mind follows body! Separate your work outfits from your weekend outfits, and dress for the job you have. If you’re in clothes you’d go to work in, you’ll be less inclined to lay down on the couch or zone out for an hour or two.

Set up a workspace.
Similar to dressing for success, it can be tempting to wake up in bed, open up your work laptop and stay there until night falls. There’s a reason our employers keep us upright facing a screen at the office. Get out of bed (it’s harder than it sounds), situate a new desk space and work in that location. Find a place just uncomfortable enough to keep you focused.

Establish clear boundaries between your workspace and your home life. This separation reduces unintended stress and will provide you with enough energy to not only finish your work but keep you from hating your bed or couch when your day is done. No one wants that! 

Reduce distractions.
Sure, your office has its fair share of distractions. When you’re at home or elsewhere, however, those distractions are heightened. Think about it, if you’re at home, what else is there? Dishes to be cleaned, a comfortable couch with Netflix calling your name, Instagram notifications on your phone, that leaky faucet you swore you’d get fixed…the list goes on.

In short, multitasking doesn’t work. The American Psychological Association found that switching between tasks results in a 40% loss of productivity, especially when those tasks involve combining your actual work with scrolling through your Twitter feed. Treat your home – or wherever you choose to work from – as your own office when working remotely. You wouldn’t turn on Game of Thrones in the middle of a meeting, would you? Okay, don’t answer that.

Make a to-do list.
Even if you’re not a fan of the coveted to-do list, making one for your day at home will ensure you stay on track. Utilize Dittoe PR’s favorite list-making app Todoist, or simply put pen to paper with all the tasks needed for the day. As always with to-do lists, if you aren’t able to cross everything off, that’s okay! It’ll still help to keep you on track and remember what needs to be done the following day.

Schedule a few breaks, too. You don’t want to experience burnout at home of all places. If you plan your to-do list hour-by-hour, incorporate brief 15-minute breaks to allow your mind to recharge. Go outside, take a walk, walk your cat, walk your turtle, follow your hamster in its little ball, anything to boost your energy levels in between tasks.

When you spend your time wisely and efficiently, it’ll be like you never left the office. Now you’re ready to go forth and WFH, WFCS (work from coffee shop) or WFWYLHD (work from wherever your little heart desires)!

Interested in a career that lets you work remotely each week? We’re always accepting applications for consideration. Send your resume, cover letter and three writing samples to Ashley Eggert at ashley@dittoepr.com.