Part of any public relations job is writing. Some people dread that part of the job
and instead prefer to be on the phone with reporters.
But I enjoy the strategy and creativity involved in
developing various documents to support my clients. These can include messaging platforms, white papers, byline
articles, news releases, position papers, bios, fact sheets and other
When writing, I have come to rely on a number of resources
to make my documents interesting, grammatically correct and in a style
acceptable by news organizations.
Here are my top writing tools:
— This website, which also has an iPhone App, is an easy way to look up correct
word spellings. When I’m at a loss for just the right word, I type a similar
word into the Thesaurus and it will provide both the definition and scads of
synonyms. Also included on this
site are an Encyclopedia and a helpful language translator.
— On this website you can read or listen to podcasts of “quick and dirty” tips
for better writing. The best thing
about these tips, besides being very entertaining, is that Grammar Girl
explains WHY something is done a certain way, so the rule sticks with me.
— While I haven’t used the ProofreadNOW.com proofreading service, I think it’s
a great idea for organizations. I
do get their newsletter, which I love.
The newsletter gives a grammar tip and also includes a fun word
challenge that helps to increase my vocabulary.
— Every college journalism student must memorize the AP Stylebook at some
point. It is the language of
reporters, and therefore should be the language of the public relations
professional. Yes, I get push back
from clients on style. Titles are
not capitalized in most cases.
Texas is not abbreviated, ever.
I still use my spiral bound copy of the book, but now there is an online
— I read a lot and often come across online documents that I know I’ll need
later. Knowing that webpage links
often go dead, I could print the articles out and try to come up with some kind
of filing system for them, or I can save them permanently with iCyte.com’s permanent
book marking system. The service
is free and allows me to organize my saved web articles any way I want. I can even annotate them.
These are my favorite writing tools. Let me know yours!