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Good Writing Will Never Go Out Style

One of our clients shared a new and exciting technology development with us the other day. Following some brainstorming and strategy discussion with my internal agency account team, I was eagerly ready to hit the ground running and pitch our target media.

Good_Writing_0501.jpg“I just need to pick up the phone, call this editor, and he will love it right off the bat. No problem,” I thought to myself.  My internal, impatient dialogue with myself dictated that a phone pitch would be best. In this digital world, everyone always talks about the art of picking up the phone to connect. Yes, definitely.

I had to slow myself down and carefully reconsider. Most PR industry best practices dictate that media most often prefer pitches and press releases via email. Unless one has an enormously huge and exclusive bit of news (nota bene: major industry titan filing for bankruptcy, doctor finds cure for cancer, the President of the United States is delivering the State of the Union), have an established form of communication over the phone with a specific journalist, or a writer has explicitly asked you to call them, I personally usually go the route of the email to start with.

Despite my excitement to just take this current bit of client news right to the media as fast as possible via phone, I knew it would be best to organize my thoughts and this client news into written format in an email.

Why?

  • You have to be organized: Email pitches offer you the opportunity to organize your thoughts and ideas. You can clearly delineate the ‘who, what, why, where and how’ when you can review and edit as much as needed, which is particularly important in our complex world of health IT and B2B.
  • You can get creative: You can get creative with email pitching. You can tell a story. A well written, creative pitch read aloud can come off as too “sales-y” when spoken. When read in an email, it translates more naturally. It’s obvious that you have taken the time to craft a good pitch and it makes sense in email form.
  • You must be prepared: Email also grants you confidence. We’ve all had that pitch that flusters us once we have the ear of a journalist. Perhaps it’s a confusing bit of medical technology, or there are a lot of last names involved that can be easily mispronounced. Email gives you the platform to get straight to the point, no flustering or embarrassment needed if you accidentally misspeak (remember, we are human and it does happen, and it seems we’re always “on the record”).
  • Be of help to the media: Well written email pitches enable media to digest the news or idea and understand. Then they can ask questions and be ready to further discuss via a phone call.

My point in all of this is that the written word and the skill of effectively communicating via writing will never go out of style in the practice of public relations. We are first and foremost communicators, and skillful writing is an undeniable necessity for us to be successful in landing our clients in the media. Don’t get me wrong, verbal communication skills are paramount as well, but written skills will forever reign supreme as a basic foundation skill that will help you your entire career in this business.