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Beyond the Bling: Writing still matters, especially in PR

Aug 3, 2017

Ask any <ahem> seasoned public relations professional the most valuable thing they look for in an employee, and writing will always come up somewhere in the top.

There’s a reason we look for the writers, the people who are storytellers at heart. Those stories are what make public relations different than advertising or marketing. At P&G, our brand of PR – government and public affairs PR, nonprofit communication and corporate social responsibility – is rarely about driving a transaction or centered around a product. It’s about building relationships, shaping opinions and influencing behaviors. There are actions that lead to this, or actions that happen as a result of it, but the actions are the outputs, not the outcomes.

Which is why story is the heart of what we do, and writing is one of the most important public relations tactics to tell those stories. Writing still matters very much in PR.

So for this Beyond the Bling post, celebrating and sharing our awards and the accolades we’ve received as an agency, we’re breaking down for you our award-winning feature stories, and why this kind of PR matters:

  • Practicing what we preach: Exploring physician wellness and burnout, Michigan Osteopathic Association TRIAD (article begins on page 16-17).
  • Winner: Feature Story Tactic, Public Relations Society of America 2015 PACE Awards.
    • Why this matters: As PR people, we can relate to the notion of wellness and burnout. To get this right, we tried to imagine the stress and the strain of physicians facing life, death, grief and more, to capture their struggles and speak to their experiences. And through powerful storytelling, hopefully we helped them connect with one another and the resources that will help them take care of their most overlooked patients – themselves.
  • Why teacher diversity matters in Michigan, Metromode and Beyond evaluation: How Michigan supports its teachers, Second Wave Michigan.
  • Winners: Feature Story Tactic, Public Relations Society of America 2016 PACE Awards.
    • Why this matters: These stories were a part of a series looking at teaching in Michigan, underwritten by the brilliant minds at Public Sector Consultants, and the topic is near and dear to our hearts and critical to the success of our state. Telling the stories of these teachers in human terms, and emphasizing the strength diversity brings as well as the need for data-driven decision-making, can help influence policy and education leadership decisions while creating a stronger system for all Michigan students.
  • The evolution of online learning in policy and the classroom, Second Wave Michigan.
  • Winner: Feature Story Tactic, Public Relations Society of America 2017 PACE Awards.
    • Why this matters: Taking complicated messages and making them easier to understand is kinda our thing. By partnering with Michigan Virtual to author an entire series about online learning. In this piece, we explored the complicated policy decisions behind online education – Is online learning good for students? Should it be required in a 21st century education? Who succeeds and who fails in an online environment? – and married them with the stories behind the policy, including one rural district now able to offer everything from Arabic to veterinary medicine, to help students, parents and leaders in our state to better understand this nuanced subject.

Writing is a daily fact of life in PR, and it’s easy to churn it out without really putting the effort in to research and truly tell the story. But good PR writing needs to shine to make a real impact. And it doesn’t hurt if we get to pick up a little PR bling along the way.

Tags: Writing, #BeyondtheBling, tactics, storytelling, Digital media, #awards, PACE Awards

Kate Snyder, APR

Kate Snyder, APR

Kate believes words have power, and uses that power to help P&G's clients make an impact in their communities.

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