23 Feb Writing, The Most Important PR Skill in Digital Era
They hold the gadget, then type something. Some people frowned seriously and grumble, the others are smiling and laughing, while still looking at the screen. No voice, just the sound of finges that typing.
The world nowadays is all about texting. People prefer to communicate using text rather than talking with each other. Information that appears in that magical little box burst through various text messages on Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Line and online media. Equipped with attractive photos, videos, as if our eyes weren’t allowed to take off from the screen.
Digital Platform and Public Relations
With different media platform, the current style of PR writing also has changed. It is no longer just a press release full of jargon and other boring stuff. Twitter, Blog, Facebook, Instagram,and Linkedin posts are also count as PR writing.
So, learn the character of each platform. The current challenge in this digital era, we only have shorter time and limited space. Writing a 140 characters on twitter is certainly different from writing on facebook status or even press release, which at present time are still the main task of PR that must be mastered. When we write on twitter, every word must be precisely calculated and effective at the same time. The message we make must be captured within 10 seconds of soundbite, the reason is because our current viewers are easily distracted. Our writing must attract enough attention to compete with ongoing media noise.
Then, be careful when writing, because you can sink into the jungle of words. As a result, our writing is unclear, full of innefective and wordy language. The key message to be delivered become evaporated. The point is, if our writing makes us confused to digest it, it means that we are lost in the jungle of words that we make by ourselves.
A press release, for example, must have the same quality as a journalist’s writing. That is the reason why writing is very important and have to be mastered by PR. Press release that does not have interesting angle and unclear purpose will end up in a trash bin. As a PR, we need to understand that journalists have a very tight deadline, so do not waste their time.
Two Most Important Things In Writing a Press Release
The first thing a PR must do before making a press release is “Understanding the Issue”. You must understand very well what you are going to write. If we don’t have enough understanding of what we are going to write, how can we make sure other people understand the release that we write?
Second, knowing the standard of writing news. 5W+1H formula is obligatory in writing a good news. Keep your writing short and full of solid information, 2.000 characters is the most ideal length in writing a press release. Always try to use active sentences.
When finished, don’t be easily satisfied. Ask friends to read the articles you have made. Ask them to explain again the contents of the press release in their own language. They must understand and be able to explain correctly the meaning behind your writings.
My team often says “Yes, it’s nice for an ex-journalist like you, we only know the theory and never had a chance to sharpen our skills”. Don’t be sad, as people said “Practice Makes Perfect”. Train our right brain to be creative in stringing words. Start with a small habit, put a small memo and pen beside your matress. When you wake up everyday, do no take the gadget, but take the memo instead and start writing one or two paraghraph about whatever comes to mind at that time. Start writing, dont mind about style. Just write.
There is another cool formula for writers to have excellent writing skills, it’s called reading. Read a lot of stuff like blog, website, magazine, and books. I would like to recommend good books called “Seandainya Saya Wartawan Tempo”. This book teaches you how to arrange words into sentences that are readable.
Maybe we have learned to make straight news or news written with the method of “inverted pyramid” which all must contain elements of 5-W and 1-H, or referred to as basic journalism. In this book they teach writing TEMPO style news features namely writing news in a descriptive manner, a combination of journalism skills and literary expertise. This book also presents practical examples, making it easier for us to practice writing news and features. Literair journalism is useful for writing blog articles and press releases. For the other book, read Stephen King’s “On Writing”. You will read the art of storytelling. That is also at once the art of PR. Well, what are you waiting for? Write now.
written by : Jojo S. Nugroho