We’re all pressed for time as we seek PR opportunities. That’s why we found financial writer Susan Weiner’s fast and easy 5-step writing process intriguing. We asked Susan to discuss how to apply her process to PR pitches.

Guest Author: Susan B. Weiner, CFA

You can never have enough PR pitches, but you can generate more pitches in less time if you follow my 5-step process.

The basic idea, as I discussed with SunStar, is to keep your eyes and ears open as you review old news stories or participate in meetings internally, with clients, or at conferences. Look for content that evokes a strong response, and then follow the steps below.

Step 1: Find a topic that evokes strong feelings. If you have a strong gut reaction or think, “I never thought of this before,” then you have the kernel of a PR pitch.

Step 2: Identify the points that explain your reaction. You’ll use this information in the next steps. I make this a separate step because I think of it as data collection, rather than writing.

For example, if I’m at a conference, I’ll often record these nuggets on a separate steno pad reserved for information I plan to write about later. This spares me combing through voluminous notes.

Step 3: Write an introduction that summarizes your opinion. Say the following in a few sentences:

  • The author (or conference presenter, blogger, or other source) says X in his article, “NAME of ARTICLE with LINK TO IT ONLINE.”
  • The author makes some good points, but I disagree–or strongly agree–with a certain part of his argument.

Step 4: Summarize the parts of the author’s piece that are relevant to your argument. You don’t have to discuss the whole thing. Be selective. The nice thing about summaries is they’re relatively easy to write. After all, an author has already tried to organize thoughts logically for you. It’s fine to quote the author, but don’t copy too much or you’ll bore your reader and be vulnerable to accusations of copyright violation.

Step 5: Inject more of your opinion into the piece. You hinted at your opinion in your introduction. At some point, you’ve got to explain why you feel that way. Where you place your opinions depends on the flow of the blog post. For example, in “ ‘CFA credential implies a standard of care not always upheld,’ says Forbes opinion piece,” I spent three paragraphs summarizing the article before elaborating on the opinion I’d briefly expressed in my introduction.

Follow these five steps, and you can write compelling pitches more quickly than your colleagues who begin by staring at a blank monitor or pad of paper.

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Susan Weiner, CFA, is the author of Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients, which is tailored to financial planners, wealth managers, investment managers, and the marketing and communications staff that supports them. Read her blog or follow her onTwitterGoogle+ or the Investment Writing Facebook page.