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Six Best Public Relations Writing Tips
Make your PR copy sizzle with simple tricks.
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 by Steven R. Van Hook, PhD

Steven R. Van HookThe day of a public relations professional is full of writing -- media releases, memos to colleagues and bosses, critical communications with clients, advertising copy, brochures, reports, social networking, emails, phone messages, ad abundum. 

So much of our success is simply determined by how well we clearly communicate, that we owe it to ourselves and our readers to buff up our abilities, preferably with minimum pain and maximum gain.

Here are six sure-fire ways to liven up your PR copy and keep your reader engaged. Even better, not a single writing suggestion mentions the words grammar, spelling or punctuation

Tip 1) Use resonant flesh-and-blood characters rather than boring old nouns. If I was writing a memo about sales, my characters would be clients and customers, rather than projections and results.

Tip 2) Use action words that propel your readers along. We love to see verbs that power us visually from one place to another, rather than just sit there.

Tip 3)  Perform the 8-word test. Keep your characters and actions within 8 words of each other, so your reader can easily follow who is doing what. The fewer words between the nouns and verbs the better.

Tip 4) Link complex sentences and phrases with connectors to help your reader navigate through the text. Good connecter words, for example, are however, because of this, therefore, thus, and so on.

Tip 5) Lead your readers from old information (first) to new information (second). Establish common ground in your message development, gently nudging your audience from comfortable familiar territory into the strange and new.

Tip 6) Use the Problem-Solution-Action paradigm. One of the most common writing complaints I hear from my students is they don't know where to begin. If you start with a problem statement, followed by a solution proposal, and wrapped it up with an action plan, a memo can write itself!

There you go -- give the tips a try your next time writing an email, and see if your message doesn't come through easier and more effective.

Be sure to watch the video below to see the writing tips at play.

Best Business Writing Tips

Steven Van Hook has taught MBA and undergraduate public relations, marketing, and communications courses for colleges and universities in the 
United States and abroad for more than a decade

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