Tips for better writing, telling stories via online video, more

What new writing styles should PR pros incorporate into their work?

PR writing
What new writing styles should PR pros incorporate into their work?

Americans tend to consume food and information the same way: in small, easily consumed, well-wrapped packages, notes Steve Bryant, EVP at Publicis Consultants. "Satisfying this appetite requires an abbreviated communications approach to better capture consumer attention," he adds.

Consumer magazines often use a style where stories consist of small groups of images, captions, and quips. "We coined the word 'InfoSnacks' to describe this news-writing style," Bryant notes.

Most PR writing should follow this lead, he says. Media kits can be recast as photographic catalogues of news and quotes. Tip sheets can feature bite-sized blocks of information and graphics. "Whole PR campaigns can be presented in a slide format with vivid imagery and concise text," Bryant suggests.

Just as classic press release style once emulated newspaper stories, PR writing today will succeed by satisfying the desire for small information packages.

Online videos
How do I tell an effective story using online video?

According to Doug Simon, president and CEO of D S Simon Productions, the first step is to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end. "It's very important to develop a consistent format so viewers know what to expect when they tune in," he says.

Simon adds that people often make mistakes involving audio. He suggests using professional quality microphones that are not mounted on the camera. "Provide calls to action within the content so viewers participate to increase engagement," he says.

Simon also suggests featuring interesting guests as a way to increase the credibility of your message and to attract new viewers.

In addition, he advises, to tell a good story online, make sure to inform and entertain, not sell.

What is the best way to communicate with radio hosts and producers?

Hosts and producers switch stations and cities frequently, so PR pros need to do some homework before making contact.

Kelley Walhof, client services/operations manager at Win Win Radio, recommends searching the station Web site for contact information, or tracking personnel changes via radio industry sites like All Access.

Don't rely on annually distributed contact lists, because many contain incorrect information, she adds.

Walhof also emphasizes that station executives rarely want to bother weeding through pitches for particular shows. "Your pitch can easily get tossed in the garbage without even being read," she warns.

This is also true with mass e-mails. "Try to personalize your message and briefly explain why you think your story will resonate with the particular show's audience," Walhof says.

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