Strong writing skills can propel a PR pro’s career, but the opposite is also true—weak writing skills can undermine your message and professional growth. Whether it’s a press release seen by thousands or an email seen by one, a PR pro’s goal is to make any piece of writing concise, impactful, polished and clear, said Sid Orlando, managing editor of curation and content at Kickstarter, at PR News’ Writing Workshop.
My take on the new year is different in its emphasis: 2017 will be when we realize that the land rush associated with new channels and platforms is over, and we no longer have excuses for not focusing on the key elements that drove PR for the century before digital media: quality and credibility. Yes, we’re at the tail end of a few years’ window when you could get ahead simply by posting more frequently to your brand journalism site than the laggards. Google rewarded sheer quantity. And you could get a bunch of free followers by jumping onto Facebook before your competitors, and then Twitter, and to some extent Instagram. This channel-hopping seemed like the new normal. But in the grand scheme of the history of marketing, it will be viewed as an outlier on the front end of the digital revolution, where fundamental rules got bent for a while.
It’s become harder to gain media coverage. Likewise, securing coverage in down months like December and January can challenge even the most committed PR pros. Some may have little to no fresh content to pitch. But if you want your brand to remain relevant, you must be active in the public conversation.
It can be challenging to pick and choose when to use humor in communications, especially for well-known brands whose audiences religiously follow social channels and dispatches. In recent years, the White House—a brand unto itself—has used humor to great effect. David Litt, special assistant to the president and a presidential speechwriter from 2011 to 2016—and now head writer and producer at Funny Or Die D.C.—reflects on the uses of humor during the Obama administration.
The news release is not dead. Even in the constantly evolving digital age, a news release is one of the best ways to disseminate a message. It’s also a great vehicle to reach media contacts. A news release for social media and one for traditional news media are different, however. To reach an online audience, releases need to be social. By being so, the release can be shared in various communities by people beyond media contacts. Journalists, bloggers or social media users who work mostly online prefer a news release containing embedded video, audio files, images and links. Links to social news releases can be sent via email to a reporter or tweeted to an audience.
The turkey has been picked apart, the wishbone wished upon, and the rounds of coffee are morphing into a Manhattan or two. With the family finally gathered after a tumultuous year, all seems well with the world. But then cousin Ed is nowhere to be found; same for your stepsister and her teens. They’ve all snuck out the side door, beckoned by the promise of amazing deals, along with throngs of rabid bargain hunters and store hours that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
There are so many ways to send messages, yet email shows few signs of declining. In fact, it’s growing, according to the latest statistics from the Radicati Group, which predicts 3 billion people will be using email by the end of 2019. That’s about one-third of the world’s population.
Remember about five years ago, when everyone in PR became enamored with analytics and how numbers and math would create a Moneyball across the communications landscape? While today no one disputes the fact that analytics has become a standard communications tool, it is clear that a new—and surprising—weakness in our industry has emerged: the written word.
What will the new year mean for PR pros and what skills should they bring with them. We ask 5 communicators what successful PR people will need.
No matter your industry or subject, creating a plan to reach goals that will help you arrive at your destination also can assist you to better understand the scope of your communications and marketing. A plan will help you stay organized and make adjustments in case you run into unforeseen challenges and obstacles. It also can help you reduce processes into small, achievable chunks for accomplishing tasks that you’ll need to do to overcome challenges. Here are five steps to help you write a strategic communications plan.