A while ago, my brother gave me the book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. While not a public relations book, I began thinking about its concepts from a public relations perspective. All clients have information and stories they want to share. “Let’s distribute a press release,” they say. Too often though, those press releases begin with the wrong message and clients miss out on opportunities for their audiences to buy-in and support their message. Instead of starting with what is important to their audiences, clients oftentimes want to start with what is important to them. [Read more…]
When someone asks what you or your organization does, are you prepared with an on-message, concise explanation? If somebody asked 10 people in your organization what your company does, would they get similar answers? If not, you may be missing countless opportunities to establish and reinforce brand awareness. To maintain consistency of message across all your audiences, I suggest you develop and share an elevator speech with your organization.
Okay, everyone might now know what an elevator speech is (you can probably figure it out). Simply put, an elevator speech is brief description of your organization—who you are, what you do and why it matters — delivered in the time it would take to move between floors in an elevator (that’s not a long time). [Read more…]
Would you build a house without blueprints? No, probably not. That would be a recipe for disaster. The same could be said for writing without an outline. An outline gives your writing structure and helps you organize your thoughts from start to finish, to ensure you get your point across or tell a good story.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how the inverted pyramid style helps you write better press releases. Part of this approach is getting all the readers’ questions answered upfront (who, what, why, when, where and how), the other part is forcing you to outline before writing.
Do People Still Outline?
A lot of you are writers, so I’m sure you outline your writing from time to time. I’d guess that most people in the business world don’t. There are a couple of reasons I think most people don’t outline their writing anymore: [Read more…]
If you ever sat through Journalism 101, you know all about the Five Ws and one H. For the rest of you, you may find this concept helpful when preparing interview questions or writing factual news stories. This concept may help you write better news releases too, considering they should contain news.
What are the Five Ws and One H? They are Who, What, Why, When, Where and How. Why are the Five Ws and One H important? Journalism purists will argue your story isn’t complete until you answer all six questions. It’s hard to argue this point, since missing any of these questions leaves a hole in your story. Even if you’re not reporting on the news of the day, this concept could be useful in many professional writing scenarios.
In case it’s not obvious what information you would be looking to gather from each of the six questions, let’s look at what information you might want to gather with the Five Ws and One H if you were reporting on The Three Little Pigs: [Read more…]
All writers get writer’s block at one time or another. For some, it last five minutes. In extreme cases, it’s been known to last for years. For me, it’s been on and off for about a month now.
In a desperate attempt to jog myself out of this rut I’m in, I figured I’d ask some readers for come topic suggestions. Guess what the most popular topic suggestion was? You guessed it, “How to Beat Writer’s Block.”
Why not use my writer’s block as the topic of my next post, to see if that gets me back on track? I love the irony, don’t you? [Read more…]
You know what a boilerplate is, right? It’s that one-paragraph, “About Us” chunk of copy you slap at the end of every press release you kick out the door.
If you’re like most organizations, this paragraph often gets reused across all sorts of sales and marketing communications, which makes it the most important paragraph in your company. [Read more…]
If there’s one area where journalists and public relations professionals are in complete agreement, it’s around writing quality. Whether you’re writing articles, blog posts, emails or subject lines, great writing trumps all. If your writing is exceptional, more of your articles will get read – and more of your pitches will be spared from the delete button. Unfortunately, great writing skills are only half the equation today. If you really want to drive results with your content, your writing needs to be engaging, interesting, relevant and compelling, but also linkable.
We’re in a sharing economy today. If you write something great, it should be easy for your readers to share it with their friends. If you’re writing exclusively for print, you significantly limit the reach of your content. In David Meerman Scott’s latest book, World Wide Rave, he stresses the importance of linkable content for driving increadible (often unbelievable) viral marketing results. He urges marketers to remove all barriers for sharing, and to make it easy for anyone to consume and share your content. He also provides some great pointers for making your information compelling and interesting, which is a prerequisite for getting people to share your content in the first place. [Read more…]