Most modern computers have an in-house program to spellcheck posts you make online. However, they don’t always improve your writing. They may be great for typos, but as PR professionals our job depends on using eloquent sentences and syntax when contacting journalists. Below we’ve outlined the top 3 programs you can install to take your pitches to the next level.
This is the easiest plug-in to use and to install. They have two versions: a free version and a paid version. I currently have the free version downloaded on my laptop and it has been a lifesaver. Grammarly has helped me with basic syntax like knowing where to put commas in complex sentences as well as correcting words I’ve misspelled while trying to type out emails and documents. The paid version goes a more in-depth about syntax errors, allows you to customize what checks you run on a document and checks for plagiarism while you type. They have several payment plans. You can either pay $29.95/month, $59.95/quarter, or in one yearly payment for $139.95.
This application is what it would be like if a copy editor lived in your computer. It highlights different problems in a document with color coordinated highlights. Yellow, for instance, highlights sentences that are too long. This is so you can see if you should shorten the sentence or split it into two. Red highlights a sentence that is too complex for your readers to follow. This will allow you to edit until the highlight disappears. Each highlight uses a separate color so that your writing is direct and easy for journalists to read. Hemingway has two versions of their program. If you want to have the program installed on your computer for use within programs like Microsoft Word or as a web-browser plugin, you can purchase the app for $19.99. However, they do offer a free, albeit less convenient, version on their web page. To use the free version, you simply copy your document and replace the text that appears on the homepage of their website (In fact, we edited this blog post with it!)
One of the important parts about pitching to journalists is understanding how they write their stories. All journalists use AP Style as their official handbook to writing news stories. The simpler we make the lives of journalists, the better chance we have to get news coverage for our client. That’s why AP Styleguard is so helpful. The program is available through the official AP Stylebook website and will scan your document as you type it and underline a word as incorrect if it is not written in AP Style. A column will then appear (like ClipArt does in Microsoft Word) explaining why it is in incorrect with an excerpt from the stylebook with a detailed description of how to format the word or sentence.The cost is $55.99 per year per person if you choose to auto-renew and $69.99 if you do not. This cost covers downloads for both Microsoft Word and your web browser.
About The Author
Hey there! My name is Anaïsa, I was born and raised in Austin but have been adventuring around Denton, Texas for the past four years. I'm currently a student at the University of North Texas where I'm studying Public Relations and French. My hobbies include traveling, photography, and going to music festivals (how can I not be an Austinite, right?). One day I hope to combine all of that into a career. Learn more about my experience here.