Public relations is all about effective communication. As PR professionals, it’s our job to communicate clearly with clients, media and, ultimately, our clients’ target market. At the heart of each of these relationships is the written word. From press releases and op-eds, to social media posts, emails and even WhatsApp messages, strong writing skills provide an essential foundation for all aspects of PR.
Traditional PR involves securing coverage in top-tier print, digital and broadcast media. We do this by writing press releases, statements, and op-eds, and then pitching these to the journalists, editors and producers that speak directly to each client’s target market. Our job is to articulate news, ideas and opinions in a clear and concise way – a lot of the time, this means breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand bites of information.
In the case of traditional PR, strong writing directly translates to media results. The goal is to present journalists with a ready-to-go article, saving them both time and effort. In this way, a well-written release, coupled with an attention-grabbing email pitch, is almost guaranteed to be published.
Writing for digital is the modern twist on an age-old skill. It requires short, succinct copy that fits within set character limits, while still communicating all relevant details. Most importantly, digital writing must capture the attention of readers on the go and keep the same brand voice, no matter who is posting.
Digital PR outcomes are measurable thanks to tools like Facebook and Twitter analytics. This has made it possible to track and quantify the impact of a piece of text on a brand’s SEO, web traffic and engagement from the target market. Almost invariably, content that gets to the point and shares interesting or important information in an engaging way, delivers the best results.
Our clients are busy people, so it’s crucial to ensure that our communications with them are succinct, transparent and leave no room for misinterpretation. This is where a PR professional establishes credibility and gains the trust of clients, which is essential to positive working relationship.
Writing to clients also means taking on a specific tone – warm, but direct – and adapting to the style and mode of communication each client prefers. Messages to clients need to include every necessary detail, as well as a clear statement about actions that need to be taken on their side – whether it’s a simple answer, sign-off or acknowledgement.
Good writing means finding the balance between form and content, structure and style. It means understanding your audience and tailoring written content to suit them. This is why it’s so important for PR professionals, because it encompasses all of the important work we have to do anyway in order to be effective.