The ability to consistently write a high quality, compelling, attention grabbing press release is vital in the world of PR – as is having the capacity to pull this off day in, day out. There are many pitfalls to putting together a press release, and even the most seasoned writer will know how difficult it is to avoid these every single time. From pulling an inspirational tag line out of the air to ensuring that your press release is, grammatically, error free, to getting the message across clearly, succinctly, whilst avoiding cliché or industry insider speak, content is crucial. But help is at hand for the press release writer: these seven tools will help you deliver every time.
Answer The Public
A fantastic, fun and free way to help you ensure your press release is going to hit the right note with your intended audience, Answer The Public is an easy to use tool that allows you to tap into the type of things your target consumers are searching for in relation to your subject. All you need to do is type in a word, such as ‘washing machine’ and you’ll be provided with a free report detailing the search phrases that people have used in connection with this – so you might see things like, ‘quietest washing machine,’ or ‘washing machine with best customer reviews.’
This information can be used to powerful effect in your press release: by incorporating keywords and concepts, your writing will have a greater capacity to connect with the public in exactly the way that will resonate. Easy.
Another free resource, Hemingway Editor is a web app that’s all about making your writing as readable and easy on the eye as possible, ensuring that your press release is accessible, with a clearly delivered message. Hemingway Editor allows you to enter your content into the app, and will then highlight, using color coding, any grammatical issues or unwieldy sentences or phrasing. The app also suggests words in a sentence that are superfluous or could serve to weaken communication. The structure of your writing, such as paragraph and sentence length, is key to keeping your reader engaged with the information you want to get across.
‘Hemingway Editor is a powerful tool to have in your writing arsenal,’ says Calvin Carroll, PR expert at Writinity and Draftbeyond. ‘As well as suggesting readability fixes, it also provides an overall readability grade, so that you can see at a glance how strong your content is in terms of clarity of message.’
Clichè Finder is a tool that does exactly what it says on the tin! Cliches have their place, but deploying over-used phrases could undermine your writing and, by extension, the product, service, or company you’re promoting.
Simple to use, all you need to do is enter your content into the app and it will highlight any cliches hiding in the writing. This will ensure that your press release is full of high value content, with no wasted words or phrases which can dilute your message.
OneLook Reverse Dictionary
The OneLook Reverse Dictionary tool allows you to quickly and easily improve and invigorate your writing to ensure your message stays fresh and on target. All you need to do is enter a phrase into the search bar – for example, I entered ‘quiet noise’ and my results included ‘hush’ and ‘lull.’ The phrases and words returned are ranked in order of relevance, and can be filtered into lists of nouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs if required. You can also use this web-based app to explore words that can be grouped together categorically or to consider synonyms, and OneLook can easily be added to your browser’s search bar for greater convenience.
Slick Write is a comprehensive tool that offers an array of features designed to maximize the power of your press release by offering an in-depth analysis of your writing and multiple suggestions for edits to improve the readability and quality of the content.
This resource quickly checks grammar and performs a highly reliable proofread, as well as having an inbuilt dictionary and thesaurus feature. This tool has the benefit of being customizable to your needs so that only the features you wish to use need to be activated. Slick Write also has the ability to summarise word, phrase, and link usage in your piece to help you avoid overuse, and is a fantastic resource for press release writers wishing to ensure that their content is as polished as possible every time, to inspire the confidence of, and promote engagement with, their audience.
This innovative and formidable resource offers spell checking, grammar analysis, and the facility to translate your press release into over 40 different languages. Ginger can check your content for repetition, and make suggestions regarding vocabulary and rephrasing, and also offers the option for customization so that, for example, certain words or phrases will not be marked up if repeated in your writing. Ginger can be used with Windows, Microsoft Word, iOS, Android, and a free extension for Chrome can be downloaded from their website.
Laura Hibbert, freelance writer at Last Minute Writing suggests, “as a potential first impression, the quality of your press release is paramount. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or clunky phrasing can seriously undermine how your potential customers or service users judge you.”
With the facility to apply different writing styles to the manner in which it checks and edits your content, this tool can apply numerous analyses of your press release to ensure it is error free and readable, including a test for plagiarism and suggestions for alterations to sentence structure.
ProWritingAid is versatile and easy to use and includes fun features such as quizzes and videos, to make the process an interactive one. The tool can help customize and standardize writing, so that your press releases all maintain a recognizable tone and style, helping to improve client recognition and strengthen your branding message.
Releasing regular press releases is a fundamental part of most PR departments. However, to ensure they are successful in imparting the message and the impression you need them to, drafting in a web-based or online tool such as the ones listed above can be a great idea. From in depth proofreading to comprehensive textual analysis, being confident in your content has never been so easy.
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