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As a very straightforward type of person, I sometimes have trouble writing with emotion.
This has been a struggle for me since I started writing copy for various items for a great nonprofit that helps prevent child abuse.
Here are a few things I try to remember when writing copy that requires emotion:
- Create an impact. There are many different ways to do this. For example, I find the fact that as many as one in every four children will be sexually abused before the age of 18 to be very impactful. It shocks me every time I read it.
- Use descriptive words. I try to write as concisely as possible, especially since people have so little time these days. My motto is “Get to the point.” But, when writing with emotion, I’ve realized I need descriptive words to make my copy more effective. So the statistic isn’t just a statistic. It’s a heartbreaking statistic.
- Give a call to action. If possible, tell people what they can do. You’ve been tugging at their emotions. You have their attention and they are asking how they can help. If you want to donate to the organization I am helping, shoot me an e-mail and I can give you more information. That’s my call to action for this post.
Although I am learning how to be a better writer, this is something that doesn’t come easily to me.
How do you add emotion to your copy?
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I’m always looking for writing opportunities. I’ve written for Central Michigan Life and Grand Central Magazine at CMU. Whenever I can, I try to guest blog. Right now I’m writing for Vision Mid Michigan and I have another possible opportunity in the works.
Working as a journalist will immensely help you succeed in your public relations career. Here are ten reasons why:
- Finding the story
- As a reporter, you are given story assignments. But often enough, you aren’t given clear direction. Or, other times, you are given a possible angle and it will completely flop. So what do you do when the idea you were given just doesn’t pan out? You dig deeper and find the story.
- As a PR professional, you are pitching the story. You want the editor to assign it to the reporter. If you win that battle, then you must work with the reporter. If you have ever been a reporter, you will know that they want a great story. Helping them find the story will make you more successful and their job easier.
- Working on deadline
- Reporters have incredibly tight deadlines. I can’t even imagine how it must be at a daily newspaper. I have a professor and an acquaintance who do though. But, I do remember getting last-minute story assignments at midnight. I’m guessing the reporter prefers PR professionals who return calls quickly, but don’t bug them with too many follow-ups.
- PR professionals have deadlines. I know from experience that agency life is incredibly demanding. One of my mentors, Lara, is a complete social media nut like myself and we have had discussions about how hard it can be to find time to blog (let alone take care of other priorities). My suggestion to new PR professionals is to get back with the reporter ASAP. If you are waiting on some key information, let them know. And as much as some reporters hate it, follow up on pitches. There have been many times when I have called a reporter and they told me to resend the pitch because they hadn’t seen it, but were possibly interested.
- Clear, concise writing is key
- One of my mentors, Dan, always told me to “write tight.” Basically, get rid of the unnecessary. The key to improving any skill is to practice. A lot. When you are a reporter, you spend a decent amount of time writing and editing. You learn how to sum the story up in the first few paragraphs and improve your AP Style skills.
- Once you become a PR professional, you will already know how a reporter thinks and writes if you have worked as one. So when you’re writing a pitch or press release, you will know what the reporter expects to see in the area of writing.
- Interviewing skills
- Whenever I do an interview, I always prepare as many questions as I can beforehand. Interviews don’t always go in the direction you think they will, but it’s always handy to have questions ready. Reporters do countless interviews to find their story.
- When working with clients, you might be their spokesperson or you may have to help prepare them to answer interview questions. If you have worked as a reporter, you might be able to quickly draft answers to potential questions to prepare for the interview ahead of time.
What experiences have you had that have helped you succeed in public relations?
Here are a few links to things I’ve found interesting recently: