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.

Five Skills to Take PR Pros to the Next Level

There’s no doubt about it – PR is no longer just press releases. While media relations and communication skills cannot be understated, exceptional public relations pros will know how to utilize non-traditional skills to stand out and make an impact for their clients.

 

The way we communicate is constantly changing, which means PR professionals need to adapt quickly and creatively to share their message. If you want to get ahead and pick up a few tips and tricks to add to your toolbox, here are a few great places to start.

 

Invest in some design skills.

Being able to make an eye-catching infographic to wow your client no longer requires years of design school. Graphic design and public relations are often thought of as two separate disciplines, but a good campaign is strategic and cohesive. Being able to create a great design, whether it is for an infographic or a poster, can increase your impact. You can check out some video tutorials online (thanks, YouTube!) or even use free design software such as Canva.

 

Video is the future.

It’s hard not to notice video’s rapid rise in media. If this tactic isn’t part of your efforts this year, you are potentially missing out reaching a huge audience. 147 million Americans watch video on the internet, and that number continues to rise. To reach this audience, check out Instagram stories or IGTV, or plan a Facebook Live. For example, Dittoe PR used IGTV recently when sharing our favorite moments of 2018, and that video received more than 250 views. There are so many ways to engage with video – try some out!

 

Hone your photographic eye.

Whether you are taking photos at an event to send in a pinch or snapping a shot for social media, knowing how to take an eye-catching photo can give you a step up. Want to try it out? Try using different angles, light, and dimensions when taking photos. Practice your skills (even just on your iPhone!) and snap away.

 

Stay social media savvy.

Understanding two-way communication with your audience on social media platforms is key in today’s social media driven world. Social media is not only for sharing, it is also great for engaging and interacting with your followers. Create a social media plan, post consistently, and interact with your followers to build your community. And don’t forget to test out those new photos, videos and graphics you created!

 

Keep up to date.

In a rapidly changing industry, it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and tactics. Some easy ways to stay up-to-date include following PR blogs on Twitter, setting Google alerts and being involved in your local PRSA chapter. We also post more trends and tips on our blog.

 

At Dittoe PR, we are proud to provide results-focused campaigns and custom strategies for our clients. Interested in learning more? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation for your company today!

 

By: Keeley Miller (Dittoe PR intern)