The main reason any brand incorporates public relations into their overall strategy is to increase favorable awareness of their company and their latest offerings to both their target audience and their industry at large. At its core, public relations is a method of strategic communication between a company and the public used to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships. To effectively communicate in the digital age, being able to craft meaningful, effective pitches and press releases is critical to a PR campaign’s success. Did you know that according to a study published by Inc., well-known, well-established, and well-capitalized businesses spend more than $3 billion annually to train their staffs in better writing techniques?
Good PR writing is a publicist’s job requirement, but great PR writing takes training, creativity and practice. Whether you’re new to PR or simply looking to elevate your skills, here are a few tips we’ve gathered that you can use to sharpen your PR writing for your next campaign.
- Be Concise: Don’t use five words when two will do. Everyone is busy and nobody wants to read a 10 paragraph cold e-mail. Use the first paragraph of your email to briefly summarize why you’re writing. Who is your client? What do they do / why is it notable? What’s the call to action you are wanting the media contact you’re writing to take as a result of your email? We’re all busy, so make sure that the recipient can get the gist of what you want in the first few sentences.
- Play Devil’s Advocate: Before you send out any pitch, ask yourself “why would anyone care about this”? “My client wants/needs press” is not a good enough reason for media to cover your client. Doing a bit of research and being able to frame your pitch in a way that is relevant and adds value will set you apart from your competition and make you a valuable media partner, as opposed to an annoyance.
- Be Descriptive, but not Overly Heavy on Technical Jargon: It may seem counterintuitive or even contradictory to being concise, but without being overly wordy, make sure you are providing a helpful description of the brand and/or product(s) you are pitching. Remember, you live and breathe the brands you rep every day, but if a concept is new to market, there may be a learning curve for those who aren’t familiar to understanding. Try not to use too much industry-heavy terminology and explain in a straightforward way that would make sense to someone who doesn’t necessarily understand highly technical industry terms with nuance.
- Proof Read before Sending: Spell check and grammar check are your friends. Make sure your email makes sense and don’t be afraid to read it aloud to yourself or others prior to sending. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so putting in the extra work to make sure your pitch is crisp makes a difference.
- Be Collaborative: Be open to working with media when they have questions or need more information. Don’t get defensive if you receive pushback or requests for additional information, but rather see these instances as opportunities to educate more people on the brands you represent. It’s rare that a pitch leads to a direct placement on the first go (especially for newer brands), so be open to working with the media to provide the necessary tools to get your brand the media you’re aiming to secure.
- Keep Learning: Stay current on industry trends for pitching media. Regularly read the publications in which you’re trying to secure placements to better understand the type of content they publish and how you can meaningfully pitch. Read books and blogs written by other PR pros for inspiration on how to be more creative and strategic with your pitches going forward and, when possible, press releases written by other brands in your area of expertise to learn from your peers.