10 Takeaways from PR News’ Chicago Writing Boot Camp

writing_bootcamp_cupPR News' Nov. 21, 2013, Writing Boot Camp in Chicago featured an experienced group of trainers who shared valuable information on writing shareable press releases, creating email pitches that catch a journalist’s attention, crafting content for social media and telling brand stories.

Here are some of the top takeaways from the Writing Boot Camp—if you were there, please feel free to add your own in the comments section.

 1.    Tweet & post with mobile in mind. Stick to a minimal number of characters. Use closeup images that can be easily viewed on small screens.

 2.    On mobile, less is more. Be clean and concise with copy and graphics. Speak the brand’s language in just a few words.

 3.    Keep press release headlines short and leads concise and informative. Shorter headlines are more easily viewed on mobile devices, and will receive better pickup on Google. Well-written leads seize the reader’s attention and are reflective of the big picture communicated in the story.

 4.    When writing an email pitch, make it as short as you possibly can. Then make it shorter. Reporters don’t have a lot of time to read emails, so make each word count. And don’t tell the whole story. Give enough detail to hook them.

 5.    Email is only part of a pitch strategy. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Your email may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

 6.    When emailing media, pitch the story, not the brand. Reporters will want to read new information, not an advertisement. The only time you pitch the brand is when the brand itself is the story.

 7.    Build an online newsroom for your site. Adding news releases and blog posts raises your profile on Google. The content is viewed not only by journalists, but potential customers as well.

 8.    Use keywords wisely. Search engines will penalize content they consider “over-optimized.”

 9.    Video is becoming the mobile king. Users are sharing and commenting on videos at an increasing rate. 

10. Without links, your news release stinks. Always provide readers with an opportunity to learn more information about your brand by including links. A press release that does not include links to your brand’s website has failed to serve its purpose. 

To learn more about PR writing, join us for the Dec. 6 PR News webinar Press Release Writing 101: How to Write Relevant, Share-Worthy Releases.

Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell

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About Richard Brownell

Richard Brownell is Group Content Manager at PR News. He has several years' experience in developing and producing online events. Richard is a published author with several titles for young audiences to his credit. He has also written political commentary for several popular websites and his stage plays have been produced in New York and other major cities.

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  • Amber Richardson PR

    Excellent PR writing tips, thank you for sharing. I found the tips in regards to news releases were very helpful, I will pass along!