PR Writing Tips & Tools

PR writing tips & tools

Here’s a kit bag of PR and communication writing tips and resources to help you write faster, smarter and more effectively. You’ll find helpful hints on media advisories, op eds, letters to the editor, AP and Reuters style guides, grammar tips and more. Everything for the public relations writer.  No batteries required!

Other PR Coach resources you may find useful include Blog Writing, Journalism Writing & Resources, News Release Writing Tips, Newsletter Writing Tips, and  Web Writing Tips. Sites with a W are PR Coach “winners.”

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PR TRAINING
Take a look at Marcia Yudkin’s terrific news release writing self-study course. Highly recommended!
Marcia’s Makeovers: 24 Press Releases Transformed from So-So to Sizzling

3 Successful Headline Secrets from NY Times
Headline secrets? Be brief, be complete and be enticing.  W

5 Times as Many People Read Headline as Body Copy
PR bloggers and writers note and write accordingly.

7 Ways to Improve Your Writing … Right Now
Tips to sharpen your writing pointedly.

10 Amazing Free Online Writing Courses
Worth exploring.

10 Big Myths About Copyright Explained
Brad Templeton explains 10 copyright myths and several key terms you should know.

16 Bad Words, & Phrases to Banish from PR
Here are 16 words and phrases that don’t belong in public relations.

20 Hi-Tech Tools and Resources for Writers
A fine list of essential tech tools for writers from Karen Schweitzer.

20 Interview Tips for Writers
Valuable PR writing and blogging tips.

26 Great Tools for Copywriters
If you’re a writer, you’ll appreciate Glenn Murray’s 26 tools. A great list.

30 Copywriting Blogs That Are Actually Worth Reading
Dean Rieck shares 30 excellent blogs for copywriter.   W

40 Freelance Writing Blogs
Here’s a great list of blogs for freelance writers from oDesk.   W

50 Useful Twitter Tools for Writers and Researchers
Very useful Twitter tools and resources for writers.   W

100 Best First Lines from Novels
Attention PR writers. Lots of inspiration here.

100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English
A useful list for writer’s reference. Don’t get caught using some of these turkeys.

100 Most Often Misspelled Words in English
Another useful reference guide for writers because spellcheck doesn’t get them all.

119 Journal Prompts for Your Journal Jar
Marelisa Fabrega shares 119 idea starters for every writer.  W

2010 List of Banished Words
Lakehead University’s annual list of banished words this year includes transparency, czar, tweet, app, sexting, friend (as a verb), in these economic times, stimulus, toxic assets and anything Obama with a hyphen.   W

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A to Z of Alternative Words

Handy, dandy writer’s handbook to help you get an alternative word when you need it.

A to Z of Financial Words
This A to Z will help you get your head around financial words.

A Spelling Test
Try Mindy MacAdams’ spelling test. You may be surprised at your score.

Acronym Finder
Need to find out the meaning of an acronym? You’ll likely find it here as well as abbreviations and initialisms. Come on in PDQ, ASAP.

All Freelance Writing
Lots of freelance writing resources from Jennifer Mattern.

Angela Booth’s Writing Blog
A topical and helpful blog for writers.

AP Style Quiz
Take this AP style quiz to tune up your writing.   W

AP Style Tips for PR Writers
A very quick, useful guide to AP style from Nancy Edmonds Hanson.

Arts & Letters Daily
A&L is a great resource for writers who want to read other quality writers. It serves up daily links to thoughtful, insightful, literate writing worth reading and has many links to magazines, columnists and more culture and ideas.   W

Bad Language
Matthew Stibbe writes about writing for PR, blogging, freelancing and more.

Bill Sweetland on Bad Leads [Video 4:24]
Ragan.com reporter Bill Sweetland explains what makes a bad lead – and what kind of leads will get your readers engaged.   W

Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo…
Learn the meaning of the famous sentence that uses nothing but the word “buffalo.”

Business Writing
Lynn Gaerttner-Johnston’s blog is perfect for business writers looking for fundamentals.

Citation Style Guidelines for Internet and Electronic Sources
Wondering how to cite new media sources correctly? It’s all here from U of Alberta.

Clear Writing with Mr Clarity
Joe Roy shares practical tips on how to write clearly, simply.   W

Clearer, Stronger Writing
Seven excellent tips to stronger writing from Poynter Online.

Common Errors in English
This is Paul Brians’ extensive, A-Z list of common English errors. Wow!   W

Communicating With Elected Officials, Policy Makers and the Media
2020 Vision provides tips on communicating with strategic officials as well as practical media tips like letters to the editor, op-eds and media interviews.

Communicating With the Media: Writing a Letter to the Editor
The Union of Concerned Scientists shares letter-writing tips and tactics.

Conducting Interviews
Here’s what to do before, during and after the interview as well as Moira Allen’s tips on conducting email interviews and surveys.

Copyblogger
Copyblogger is Brian Clark’s superb blog on web writing.   W W

Copywriters, Use More Contractions
Writing conversationally usually works better, don’t it?

Copywriting First Aid: How to Revive Near-Death Content
Writing tips for better copy results.

Dad, What Do You Do at Work? I’m a Leader in Active Safety
Entertaining WSJ article looks at corporatese. For all PR pros charged with writing clearly.  W

Dear Gracie: How to Write Catchy Headlines
Listen up to these PR writing tips.

Dictionary.com
Bookmark this handy, all-in-one, online dictionary, thesaurus, translation and reference tool.

Ditch Lazy Verbs and Punch Up Your Writing [Video 1:16]
Video IconUtilize, facilitate and other lazy verbs are driving Mark Ragan crazy. He says choose powerful verbs to liven up your copy.   W

Do you make this mistake in your PR materials?
Very useful writing tip: Write as long as is needed.  W

Do You Suffer From Grammar Obsessive Disorder? [Video 4:15]
Help on how to cope with the virulent grammar obsessive disorder from MyRaganTV.   W

Editor Unleashed
Maria Schneider’s blog is loaded with writing, editing, publishing and social media tips and resources.

Effective Writing Skills for Public Relations
This online book by John Foster is excellent. Produced by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in the UK, it is a grammar, style and reference guide for any PR writer from beginner to advanced.   W

Email Your Way to Success
Marketing Hackz has tips to sharpen your emails and generate better response.

First Draft Secrets: Five Simple Steps
Marla Beck shows to get past the first draft deadlock and shares her “Swiss cheese” approach.

Four Ways to Reduce Writing Time
Kelle Campbell offers four tips to cut down on writing time.

Freelance Writing Jobs
This is an active online network and resource for freelance writers with job leads, writing tips, articles and much more.   W

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Grammar Girl

Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, offers quick and dirty tips for better writing.   W

Gunning Fog Index
Copy and paste in your text and this online tool automatically calculates your Gunning Fox Index – a measure of the grade level required to comprehend your copy.

Head Hints
Here’s some great headline writing hints for editors.

Headlines from Writer Hell
PR writers take note of these headline classics.

Headlines That Pop [Video 5:56]
Video IconMark Ragan and Jim Ylisela show you how to write compelling headlines readers can’t ignore.   W

Headline Analyzer
This little tool will analyze the emotional value content of your headline. Fun.   W

“Hey, Think Outside Your Own Damn Box”: Business Jargon We Hate
Here’s all the jargon you love to hate.

How a Few Measly Words Can Dramatically Improve Your Article Headlines
Excellent PR writing tips.

How to Write a Letter to the Editor
The Opinion page is one of the most influential and best-read sections of a newspaper. Learn how to craft an effective letter to the editor.

How to Write Good
Yep. Good web writin’ tips and reminders

How to Write Great Case Studies
Case studies can help you win business if you know how.

How to Write Headlines that Repel Readers 
There’s an art to crafting a mundane headline, but think of the rewards: Being ignored, getting your pitch immediately deleted, maybe even permanent relegation to the elite Blocked Senders List!

How to Write in Plain English
Very useful guide to writing in plain English.   W

How to Write Reports in Plain English
Very useful guide to plain English report writing.   W

Imagination Prompt Generator
This ingenious little tool automatically delivers a random starting sentence. Great when you’re stuck.   W

Impertinent Remarks
Laura Hale Brockway writes impertinently and entertainingly in her blog about writing.

Inverted Pyramid vs Storytelling – Which Copywriting Approach Do You Use?
Nice piece on both copywriting styles by Glenn Murray.

Journalist’s Toolbox
This is a useful site with tools, resources and tips for writers of all stripes.   W

Language Corner
Columbia Journalism Review’s Language Corner is a great place for wordsmiths to hang out.   W

Media Alerts and Advisories
Michael Turney provides tips on writing effective media alerts and media advisories.

On Language
New York Times‘ weekly magazine column is enjoyable reading for wordsmiths.

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Online Copyright Myths
As content creators, these seven tips will help you know your rights.

Outlining Your Novel: Why and How
You may not be planning a novel, but Joanna Penn’s tips on outlining are superb advice for any writer.   W

Play Bullshit Bingo to Eradicate Jargon [Video 1:57]
Video IconMark Ragan says it’s easy to cut out jargon from your writing in this video from MyRaganTV.

Poynter Online
A terrific resource for journalism news, tips, resources and training.   W

Printing Specification Form
Does anybody print things any more? Of course, and you’ll like this dandy spec form to help you compare competitive printing quotes.

Proofreading Symbols
Get this handy list of proofreading symbols from EditPros. Impress your boss.

Publication Coach
Daphne Gray-Grant’s blog is essential reading.   W

Public Relations Writing Tips
PR writing tips that can make the difference from the Network for Good Learning Center.

Quick Tips to Improve Your PR and Marketing Writing
Some excellent PR writing tips and resources from Jeremy Porter.   W

Quips and Tips for Successful Writers
Lawrie Pawlik-Kienlan writes quips and tips for writers seeking success.

Radio News Writing Tips
Solid radio writing tips from Tamara Keith of NPR.

Regret the Error
Columbia Journalism Review’s column by Craig Silverman keeps an eye on journalism missteps.   W

Reporter’s Desktop
Duff Wilson’s handy toolkit includes search tools, dictionary, thesaurus, reporting links and more.

Reuters Handbook of Journalism
Reuters handbook is invaluable for journalists and web and PR writers of all kinds.   W

Roy Peter Clark on the Chicken Dance & “the power of the parts” for Storytelling
Seven words which describe Clark’s valuable version of the writing process. W

Should good writing be a core skill for professional communicators?
Shel Holtz asks leading communicators a provocative question.

Six Reasons Why a Report Is a More Powerful Selling Tool Than a Brochure
A report takes away the “ales” and replaces it with value, information, expertise and trust.   W

Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography – Language 
Wonderful video for PR writers and word geeks.  W

Story Outline
Don’t know where to begin writing? How about a 3-step outline from News College? Lots more resources.   W

Text Content Analyzer
Free tool analyzes any content to give you word and sentence counts, number of unique words, words per sentence, lexical density and Gunning Fog readability.

The Case Against Upper Case
Here’s an article to help you choose the proper style.

The Copybot
Demian Farnworth writes this superb, insightful blog. A must-read for any writer!  W

The Copywriter’s Crucible
Matt Ambrose blogs about copywriting for websites, articles and news releases.

The Easy Way to Plan a Perfect White Paper
Angie Haggstrom highlights how to plan a white paper and the potential marketing and reputation benefits.

The Elements of Style
This the online version of William Strunk Jr’s classic book on correct language usage and composition.   W

The Rise and Rise of Article PR
Though growing in popularity, article PR offers some challenges.

The Story Starter
This little tool will randomly spit out a new story or idea starter every time. Perfect for those days when the coffee isn’t working.

Time Management for Writers: One Simple Strategy Which Helps You to Find Time
Learn how to be a more efficient writer.

Tips for Clear Websites
Simple guidelines for more effective websites.

Torn Limn from Limn
Word lovers alert.

What PR Writers REALLY Need to Know About AP Style, Revisited
Is AP style important for PR? Yes and Barbara Nixon talks about why.

When is it Okay to Use the F Word?
So when is it ever okay to use the F word?

WhitePaperSource
This a great site for info about writing and marketing white papers.   W

Write to Done
Leo Babauta produces one of the best, most valuable writer’s’ blogs. A must read!  

Writing Better Web Content: Ask What? Who? Why?
Keep an eye on writing basics for best results.

Writing eBooks
If you’re planning to write an eBook, Dustin Wax has a helpful how-to eBook available.

Writing Feature Stories [Video 8:24]
Video Icon Mark Ragan explains how to write a quality feature story.   W

Writing Stronger Leads: Six Variations for Story Openers
An excellent primer in writing strong leads from Rich Becker.  W

Writing Tools
Roy Peter Clark writes this insightful blog about words and writing at Poynter Online.   W

Photo credit: Athena

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