School’s in for Summer: PR Club Summer Writing Workshop Series

Greg Amaral

If you told me six months ago that I’d be at Boston University, in the middle of summer, listening to lectures about content writing for public relations (PR), I’d have probably avoided you like you were a crazy person on the train. At that time, I was sitting in the office of a financial advisory firm, gearing up (read: bracing myself) for tax season while wondering, “Is this the path for me?”

To make a long story short, it wasn’t. And I soon found myself in a new office, at a new company (Matter), in a new industry, with a lot to learn.

Eager to do my best Spongebob impression and absorb my surroundings, I signed up for the PR Club of New England’s Summer Writing Workshop Series to kickstart my journey as a content writer for Matter. While summers are especially precious here in New England, taking advantage of the season’s slower pace by feeding your head can be just what you need to gain that upper edge.

The sessions I attended covered the fundamentals of PR writing, content strategy for news making and social media content. Below are my key takeaways to serve as a refresher for PR veterans — and a springboard for those looking to make the jump!

 

PR Writing 101: Fundamentals

Being a strong writer is essential in PR. Getting reacquainted with what may feel like grade school’s greatest hits – punctuation, grammar, spelling and diction – is the best way to immediately start writing more effectively, while increasing reader confidence in your content. Here are some other great nuggets mined from the class:

  • Our job is to convey the most information in the fewest words with the greatest clarity– shorter is better!
  • All forms of media writing are arguably about persuasion – we want to spark action.
  • Immerse yourself in the topic – become a subject matter expert.

 

Content Strategy for News Making

The second session focused on developing key messages, crafting press releases and perfecting the pitch. These are the staples of a healthy PR diet, resulting in on-brand content, strong media relations and satisfied clients. Other notables:

  • Key Messages– What? So what? What now? These are your three key messages and should be the format for every communication you have.
  • Press Releases –Use the inverted pyramid method – most important info at the top, least at the bottom.
  • Pitching –Analysis, not paralysis – it’s not going to be perfect.

 

Social Media Content

The final session explored some best practices for the major social media channels we all know and love (and sometimes hate), as well as how to craft succinct, deliberate and actionable content to garner the most desirable responses. Here are some tips by platform:

TWITTER

  • Character limit: 280
  • Best practice: 100
    • There’s always a way to cut language
  • Hashtag Use
    • Best when integrated into content rather placed at the end
    • Limit to 3 max

FACEBOOK

  • Character limit: 63,206
  • Best practice: 1-2 lines
    • Shorten to get people to take the click bait
  • Hashtag Use
    • Use sparingly; Limit to 1-2

LINKEDIN

  • Character Limits: 600
  • Best practice: 1-2 lines
  • Hashtag Use
    • Limit to 5 max

INSTAGRAM

  • Character Limits: 2,200
  • Best Practice: 2,200
    • Nothing beats a Story – most used feature
  • Hashtag Use
    • Go crazy – Average 7-30

 

Looking to break into the PR world? Interested in learning more about my career pivot, or Matter in general? Give us a shout!

Greg Amaral

Greg Amaral

Content Writing Coordinator

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