Concise writing is a vital part of public relations, especially in the digital age. While this practice in PR and journalism comes from a history of saving space on newsprint, it continues to serve us well to communicate in a way that engages the reader and clearly communicates our message. Concise writing also challenges us to think and write more creatively, growing our skills.
Social media’s prevalence has increased the demand for instant gratification when it comes to content. Readers want to know who, what, when, where and why in 280 characters or fewer. This means that not only do brands have to know how to get their message across on different social media platforms, but they also have to know how to engage with their audience via longer-form content off social media. A brand must know its message and its audience and be sure to eliminate any extraneous information wherever it can. Overly verbose, long-winded sentences can be overwhelming, confusing or — worst of all — boring.
The Importance of Concise Writing in PR
As PR professionals, being sure to not share too much information also helps us write persuasively. Sharing the most crucial information while inviting others to reach out for more helps us build relationships on behalf of our clients. Think of a pitch as a teaser trailer for a story — grab the reporter’s or editor’s attention right away with a quick, to-the-point message but don’t give away the ending!
Writing concisely can be a challenge even for the most seasoned writers. The famous quote “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead,” is often attributed to Mark Twain. Writing concisely not only demands time but skill. This includes language and style skills as well as a thorough understanding of the subject matter. Developing these skills will not only help you become a better writer, but it will also help you become a better communicator overall. From a pitch to a press release, your writing is often your chance at a first impression. Whether it be in person or in print, command of your communication skills will improve every aspect of your PR career.
Concise Writing Skills
So, how do you write concisely? It might seem silly to simply say, use fewer words. But it’s true. When you write in short sentences, that can help! Another way to attack this challenge is to start with an outline. Developing an outline to organize your thoughts helps you focus on the crucial information and organize the content so that you can communicate your message effectively.
You can also create a rough draft with every piece of information you’d like to share, step away, then come back ready to cut it down. Sometimes taking a break and looking at it again with fresh eyes really helps weed out the content that isn’t important. Having a colleague take a look can help as well. A second set of eyes never hurts!
If after all this you still decide writing isn’t your thing, reach out to Comprise! Our team has the expertise to concisely communicate your message — and make it stick.