With the ever-changing world of internet trends and new technologies emerging almost every day, it’s not enough anymore for public relations professionals to know how to write a press release, compose a pitch letter and consult with the media.
Today one of the best ways for public relations professionals to drive targeted traffic, build relationships with consumers and get their client’s messages out to gain positive reception is through the internet and its varying social media platforms.
The evolution toward digital has prompted PR professionals to do some introspection and find circus talents they never knew existed. One of these talents in particular is shifting their writing styles from traditional news writing to writing for the internet so that the content is still transmitted and received in the most effective way.
When writing for the internet and social media, PR writers are constantly hurdling through hoops and juggling knives, as they are met with the challenge of appealing to a targeted audience, conveying a specific message and sparking conversation, while keeping the content short, relevant and factual — and most importantly–engaging.
These writers walk as tightrope walkers do, toeing the line between being clever without being corny or clichè, impactful without being obnoxiously flashy, and making messages relevant, important and urgent without using too many words. They must find the balance between too simple and just simple enough.
Using the flexibility and contortion of an acrobat, PR writers must find the perfect message: one that fits all of the parameters, aligns with client objectives and can be transmitted in a way that is in tune with the layout of the social media platform.
Writers are in a constant cycle of asking and answering the question, “What makes people stop scrolling?”
As the PR writing intern for Bravo Group, I wanted some advice on how to smoothly switch gears when writing for social media instead of traditional news writing.
I decided to sit down with Bravo Group’s Managing Editor Jeanette Krebs. Her distinguished background in journalism and extensive experience in developing creative content provided me with several valuable tips on writing for social media, which I’ve shared below.
Know your audience. Start by asking yourself, “Who exactly am I trying to reach?” What is the best way to reach my audience? What will appeal to them?
Know your voice. Is it light-hearted or authoritative? Jeanette emphasized that knowing your voice and knowing which tone to use is critical.
Make every word count. With social media being a source of information overload and instant gratification, it’ is important to be concise in order to get and keep the audience’s attention.
Be engaging. Use powerful words and images to appeal to your audience’s emotions.
Explain things to your audience the way you’d explain them to your mom. Jeanette said in journalism people would often say to write “how you would explain it to your mom.” Writing social posts as if you were talking to a friend helps to condense and simplify the message you are trying to send, so that the average person can understand what you’re trying to say.
Think in a headline mentality. In journalism, headlines catch the reader’s attention and tells a story in the least amount of words possible. Using a headline mentality to write social media posts can help to cut down the length of your post and grab the audience’s attention.
Use analytics to see if you’re doing it right. Analytics can tell you what is sticking with your audience and what is not. When you know the data behind your content, you can alter and tailor your posts to be more effective.
Lauren Koppenhaver || Harrisburg Office