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#PR: Road to Hellish Writing Paved with Good Intentions
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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If you are like me, you’ve sometimes come smack dab against trying to clearly and succinctly write a press release that gets noticed, only to have your upper management review and insist the release isn’t “sexy” enough. So, what’s a flack to do?
Right on Halloween, Brian Kelly wrote an interesting little post on PR News titled 8 Quotes to Scare You Away From Hellish Writing.
At the top of his piece, he noted that for us flacks, “the last thing you want to do is scare anyone with sloppy copy, or misguided musings.” He then went on to comment that Don Bates, who is the founding director of the Master’s degree program in Strategic Public Relations at George Washington University, put together some quotes for us to keep in mind as we all sit down to compose and craft our releases.
Bates offered the following:
  1. The road to hell is paved with adverbs. Stephen King
  2. He that uses many words for the explaining any subject doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink. John Ray.
  3. I do not like to write—I like to have written. Gloria Steinem.
  4. Having imagination, it takes you an hour to write a paragraph that, if you were unimaginative, would take you only a minute. Franklin P. Adams.
  5. Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. Colette.
  6. A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. Thomas Mann.
  7. As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out. Mark Twain.
  8. Writing comes more easily if you have something to say. Sholem Asch.
Good points. Bates will offer more quotes and tips at the upcoming one day boot camp for PR writers (sponsored by PR News) on December 11 of this year at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
I would like to add one more tip: If it’s too flowery, take it out; you'll avoid the B.S. stink.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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