Being dyslexic can be frustrating because you have a larger vocabulary than you can spell. When speaking out loud I think I sound intelligent and I understand the meaning of large words, but ask me how to spell them and I will just laugh. If you’ve read any of my previous columns you would know that spelling isn’t my strong suit, but I definitely have a lot of ideas. In college I would try to beef up my papers with bigger words browsing thesaurus.com for assistance.
As a PR professional I think it’s very important to understand the language of your field and the fields your clients work in. However, when speaking to journalists I find it is best to use plain language. Just tell them what you want right away and don’t leave them guessing. When I first started in PR I tried to fill my pitches with a lot of grand words and explanations, all with no responses. I’ve learned that if you speak “plainly” and get straight to the point in a short pitch you are way more likely to get a response. I will take a “no thank you” email over being ghosted any day!
So why is it that when I’m communicating with a journalist, who probably have a larger vocabulary and literary understanding than I do, I keep it simple? Well, because nobody has time for that! I know I don’t want to take five minutes to read an email that could have been explained in two. Neither does a busy journalist. Just keep it simple and everything will be easier.
Lots of love,
Working in the field of PR you get used to emails, typing out thought leadership, and spreading social media. For a dyslexic PR professional like myself, it can be intimidating to think of all the writing and all the opportunities to screw up. Nothing is more embarrassing than talking to a journalist about your client and misspelling something in an email. I mean these people are born grammar Nazis right? Maybe not, but all the same I’ve had to learn some tips and tricks of which I will share below.
- REOL (read-EVERYTHING-out-loud). Reading out loud helps you spot grammatical errors and will help you cut down a wordy pitch. Read it to yourself or a friendly colleague because 4 ears are always better than 2.
- Use your tools. Spellcheck is there to help you! Write your emails out in a word doc before sending anything out. Those red and green lines will save your butt.
- Google. Research what you are talking about. My clients are tech companies with a jargon of their own. I went to art school, so tech talk is neither my first nor my second language. If I’m talking to journalists about my clients they expect me to have an understanding of the field. I Google all the time! Tech jargon, abbreviation meanings and trending topics. Ignorance is not bliss my friend.
Good luck and lots of love,
The cardinal rules for writing an effective pitch that will appeal to journalists and is destined for the headlines rather than the trash.
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Humbert Luna, our very own media strategist, recently penned a piece that appeared in Entrepreneur magazine that details how readers can lay out a PR plan that sets them up for success. Having landed media placements in outlets like Variety and USA Today, Luna’s words of advice have proven effective in the past.
Having an effective plan in place before pitching anything – news, events, announcements – means the difference between seeing the pitch in lights or having it wallow in deep, dark corners of the internet where only bots lurk.
Read his full thoughts over at Entrepreneur.