As a former journalist, I underwent lots of training to ensure we knew how to grasp the essence of a news story and convey it to the reader. Since becoming a freelance PR and copywriter, I’ve noticed how many people find it hard to write a news story, whether that’s for a press release or for their own blog.
Take a look at my top five tips to help you write your own press releases and blog posts and actually make them interesting!
1. Make it interesting
Always start at the most interesting point of your story. Think of what the unique point it, or the most exciting part and jump right into it. It’s always tempting to start a story at the beginning, but this could make for a rather long-winded and boring account.
Always think which parts would you tell your friends – try and think of any interesting points that could be developed.
2. Keep it simple
Don’t write sentences that are six lines long, with loads of commas. Write bite-sized sentences, keeping it short and snappy. If you have a tendency to write really long sentences, just go back and try breaking it into smaller sentences. Read it back out loud to see how it sounds.
3. Don’t repeat yourself
People tend to repeat the most important points throughout text, because they want to get across how valuable it is. However, this will just sound boring to the reader. If you want to reiterate how important something is, then go on to explain why it’s so essential and give more information.
4. Don’t use big words just because they sound clever
If you don’t know what a word means, then definitely don’t use it! Don’t try to think up long words because you think they make you sound clever. The best prose always keeps it simple.
5. Start in the middle
In news writing, the first line is always the hardest to write. So to get started, remember you don’t need to start at the beginning. Just get all your thoughts down and decide on the most important facts. The beauty of typing on a computer is that you can constantly cut and paste to move sentences around.
Carolyn Hughes is a PR and communications consultant in Manchester, and was a journalise for eight years.