Like with any skill, writing in the public relations field takes time to master and excel in. Along with time, it takes practice, and a lot of it.
This semester is coming to an end for me. Throughout these last few months, I have had the chance to be a peer reviewer on PR writing pieces, such as News Releases, Feature stories, Newsletters, Media Advisories, and Pitch Letters.
Here are a few PR writing mistakes I have seen come up frequently!
- Overcomplicated writing- If there is one lesson I will take away from this semester, and my PR writing course, it is that less is often more. When reviewing peers PR writing articles, I noticed how important it is to be direct and get to your point. Reader’s want information fast and clearly. Usually, what is being written can be rewritten in a shorter, more condensed form that saves your reader’s time.
- Practicing your style of writing- There are different forms of writing styles in PR. Personally, in my PR course, we wrote using AP style. Whichever style you are writing in, practice and keep up-to-date with the guidelines. Changes are often made and writing with correct grammar and punctuation for your style is important and noticed.
- Write with the correct voice- Different PR writing requires different writing voices. News releases require third person and feature stories allow for second person. Keep consistent with which voice you use and don’t switch back and forth.
- Remember the basics- Often times, the writer is focused on the details in PR writing, that the basic rules of writing are forgot. This is when having multiple sets of eyes looking over your work can be very helpful. While one editor may be great at spotting mistakes in voice usage, another may be great at spotting punctuation and spelling errors.
- Always write for your target audience- When looking at a writing sample, I always think to myself, “Who is their focus audience and if I were them, what would I want to know?” Make sure you are tailoring your writing for those who you are writing for. You are not writing for your organization/company, you are writing for those they are trying to engage with.