Good Writing Remains a Core PR Skill

This was originally posted on

by Sally Falkow

I read a post in today about 5 trends for 2012 that will  affect your PR resume. A statement in the first point absolutely floored me:

While a press release does not necessarily need to be well-written.

What could possibly lead anyone to the conclusion that a press release doesn’t have to be well-written?

The purpose of a press release has changed; that I am the first  to acknowledge.  I started telling PR people that back in 2005.  But that doesn’t mean there is no value in a press release today and one should not bother with how they are written.

There’s tremendous value in press releases today – it is just different value.

In 1906, when the first press release was issued, the purpose was to give information about a company (and an incident that occurred) to the press.   Over the next 100 years changes in mass communication media and advances in technology created changes in the format and purpose of the press release.  It became a news release, since it was no longer only for the press.  We saw the rise (and fall) of video news releases for TV.

Now we have the Internet and social media.

We know that very few journalists or bloggers get their news from the news wire anymore.  So we have to expand our media relations activity – agreed.   Replacing the journalists, we have new audiences for news releases: search engines and news engines index and publish news releases. And, as a result, the public reads them. Yahoo! News has the largest news audience in the world.  When you place a news release on the wire, it will appear in Yahoo! News, Google News and many other news websites listed in the Nielsen top ten.

If you want to be listed high in the search rankings when someone interested in the subject searches either Google or Yahoo! News, and you want the public who find them to read them, your releases had best be well-written.  It must also be optimized for search and news and have visual assets attached.

Digital Journalists are requesting that we present our news releases in a new format:  the social media news release.  But, believe me, they still expect them to be well-written.

In the era of Online PR and social media there is a lot more to media relations than most PR people are aware of.  There are new skills you should have in your 2012 PR resume:

  1. The ability to write well in many different styles – press releases, articles, blog  posts. tweets
  2. Understanding the criteria that gets good ranking in web search and news search.( yes, Virginia they are different)
  3. What makes a good news image
  4. How to optimize an image for web search and news search
  5. What makes an interesting online news video people will watch longer than 10 seconds
  6. How to optimize video for web search and news search
  7. Why video is currently the biggest PR opportunity
  8. How to create and provide embed codes with your videos, so they are quick and easy to republish
  9. The concept of newsjacking – and how to use this in a news release
  10. How to craft a well-written social media news release with all the elements a digital journalist or blogger demands today


  1. Love this article. I recently had to create a press release for my marketing class. Although it was similar to an article, we also touched on the fact that companies are using things such as social media and videos to get the word out about their product/event. Aced that one!

    I book marked your site so I can keep reading more. I am interested in a PR career and possibly opening a business in the future. I love what you have on your site & it will be very useful for me!

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