7 steps to better PR writing

Follow these seven nuggets of public relations wisdom to tighten and enhance your copy.

Writing is often the linchpin of successful public relations campaigns.

Words can still inspire and influence people and motivate action—but that’s easier said than done. PR writing differs from newspaper copy or novel prose, but basic principles of writing prevail.

Here’s how to improve your PR writing:

1. Open with a strong, compelling lead. When crafting PR content, start with an engaging lead that grabs the reader’s attention. An intriguing lead slingshots the reader into your text.

2. Read your copy aloud. Have you ever spent hours editing and proofreading a piece and still managed to miss mistakes? Reading your copy out loud before hitting publish is a helpful way to prevent editorial disaster.

3. Say more with less. Instead of adding fluff to fulfill a minimum word count, tighten your copy. Cut filler, simplify sentences, and delete jargon. Strive for brevity.

4. Immerse yourself in great writing. Reading other writers helps you improve your craft. Whether you prefer books, magazines, newspapers or online content, absorb elegant prose to expand your vocabulary and enhance your skill.

5. Eliminate passive voice. “The Mets beat the Phillies” will always trump “The Phillies were beaten by the Mets.” Passive voice makes writing weak and bumbling—not unlike the aforementioned Mets and Phillies. Using active voice throughout your copy makes it cleaner, tighter and more authoritative.

6. Let your copy breathe. Reading the same text ad nauseam can cause you to miss mistakes. Step away from your copy for a few hours, or even a day, and come back to it with renewed vigor. Fresh eyes have a better chance of spotting unnecessary words and detecting clunky copy.

7. Keep writing. Practice makes perfect—writing is no exception. No matter how much advice or feedback you get, repetition is the most efficient way to improve your copy.

A version of this post originally appeared on Crenshaw Communications’ blog.

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