How to Keep Readers Interested

How many times have you started reading something and then, before you were even finished with the first paragraph, became disinterested and stopped? I will throw my guilty hand in the air, and I know I’m not the only one. Something made us interested enough to look at it in the first place, so why were we turned off by the content as soon as we started reading, and how do we stop ourselves from writing articles that do the same?

    • Make sure you are interested in your subject. If you don’t care about the subject you are writing about, it will show. There needs to be some passion or spark behind the words on the page or a reader will be just as bored reading it as you were when you wrote it.
    • Approach the topic from a different perspective. Think outside the box and come up with something that doesn’t sound like every other article covering the same topic. People will always be more interested in reading something from a perspective they have never heard before, even if the topic is being written about often.
    • Make it relevant. If no one can relate to your topic, chances are that they won’t continue reading. To keep the reader engaged, it should feel like you are talking directly to them.
    • Think of your audience. What group of people you are trying to reach? When you try to make an audience too diverse, you lose relevance and the ability to relate to what you are trying to say. Narrow your audience and you are more likely to have a better turn out.
    • Make them laugh. Humor is always risky however, when used correctly it can make all the difference. People like to read something that makes them smile and if you are able to manage that, your reader should definitely make it to the end of your piece.
    • Keep it short and sweet. Try not to ramble. Have you ever closed out of an article because it looked like a long read? People are increasingly multi-tasking, and they typically only browse articles online. The fewer words it takes you to prove your point, the better.
    • Stay on task. Don’t write about several different topics all at once. If you get to the end of what you were writing and you see that the end result has nothing to do with the title of the article, go back and see where you started to stray. If you can pinpoint the moment you started to get off topic, it will be easier to go through and take out the unnecessary information.

Any additional ideas on how to keep your readers interested? Tell us in the comments below!

Meet The Team: Carley Kelly

My name is Carley Kelly and I am the newest member at Yearick-Millea. I’m joining the team as the Account Coordinator Intern. I have lived in the suburbs of Pittsburgh my entire life and have always loved the atmosphere of the city.


Some fun facts about me are:

  • I love to go on adventures, even if they’re small! Driving around and finding somewhere new to explore is one of my favorite pastimes.
  • I have been in over 20 plays and musicals since high school. Through theater, I have gotten to know myself better and meet some really incredible people in the process!
  • I can always be found with a book on hand. Reading is always how I pass the time.
  • I also love to draw and create things. I‘m working on so many DIY projects that I have officially run out of space for them at my house.

I want to travel more than just about anything else in life! I want to go to different places—like Thailand, Cappadocia and everywhere in between— and see things that I never would have thought possible. My family and friends mean the world to me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of their support.

I just recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown this past April with a degree in communications and writing, and I am beyond excited to learn everything I can during my time at Yearick-Millea. I cannot wait to get to get started!

Celebrate America—And Be Grammatically Correct

We’re almost two weeks into the summer season, and that means the Fourth of July festivities are kicking off! We shared some spring- and summer-related grammar tips in an earlier post, so this time, we’re focusing on tips to help you celebrate America (while being grammatically correct):

  • The holiday can be written as Independence Day, Fourth of July, July 4 or July Fourth. “July 4th” and “4th of July” are not correct. “July 4” is OK if you’re using it as the date and not the holiday, for example: Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
  • Some people choose to celebrate the holiday with firecrackers and fireworks—both one word—while others like to make s’mores over the firewood (one word).
  • The Fourth of July occurs in the summertime, not summer time.
  • The dog days (two words, not capitalized) of summer—the most sultry days of the season—are July 3 to Aug. 11.
  • If you’re heading to the beach, you might be planning to lie—not lay—on the sand to sunbathe (one word).

Do you have any other tips to share with us? Tell us in the comments!


Choosing a Profile or Cover Photo for Your Brand on Social Media

Your profile and cover photo represent your company or brand on social media so it’s important to pick out the best possible one to attract fans and followers. Here are a few tips to pick out the best photos:

  • Size – Size requirements vary for each social media platform. Tailor your profile picture to fit these size requirements for the highest quality and best looking photo. Keep in mind that your profile picture will appear smaller in news feeds and when you comment, but it can also be viewed as a large image, so it’s important to account for recognition and photo quality.
  • Text – Keep profile pictures and cover photos as visual as possible. Too much text can be confusing and distracting for users. As mentioned in the previous tip, text can also be hard to decipher in the small scale of a profile picture in a news feed.
  • Up-to-Date – Make sure your profile picture represents your company as it is currently known. Update your profile and cover photos for important campaigns, product releases or news. Just don’t change them too often or you risk confusing people.
  • Consistency – Keep your profile and cover photos consistent across all social media platforms to help people know they are looking at the right brand. Consistent images will also help build brand recognition on social media, which is hugely important to building an audience on social.
  • Complementary – While there’s no need to go as far as making your cover and profile photo appear to be one photo—even though it looks great—they should complement each other; meaning similar color schemes, font and feel.

Corona’s Facebook profile shows an example where a profile photo and a cover photo appear to be one.

Do you have any additional advice for brands picking out profile or cover photos? Let us know in the comments!

Contact Yearick-Millea to learn more about how we can help with your social media strategy. 

Face-to-Face Time with Clients Still Matters

It’s no secret that our world is technologically-driven. Long gone are the days where face-to-face—and even telephone—interaction was the preferred way to communicate with others. Now we email, text, tweet or send Facebook messages to coworkers (even if they’re sitting a few feet away), clients, reporters and other contacts we might need to speak to.

Communicating this way is convenient; it makes it easier for you to keep written records or to refer back to older messages; and a lot of times, it’s the best way to get a hold of someone who has a really busy schedule or isn’t in town.

The public relations industry is based on communication, engagement and relationship building. While emailing or texting have become more popular, face-to-face communication is still crucial in the industry for quite a few reasons:

  • You make deeper connections: Having a face-to-face meeting allows you to connect with clients or reporters on a more personal level because you’re taking the time to have a conversation outside of a superficial email setting. It gives you the opportunity to get to know the people you are working with, and on the flip side, they get to know you. Meetings like these have the potential to create lasting relationships with clients or other contacts because you’re working with someone beyond the computer/phone screen.
  • You come to quicker solutions: While it’s true that sending an email/text is convenient and fast, that’s often not the case when you’re dealing with a complex issue that needs a solution. There’s a bit of disconnect when you’re communicating via email. Nonverbal cues and tone are absent, so there’s more room for miscommunication or misinterpretation. Going back and forth to explain an issue or a solution to that issue in an email chain often is more difficult and more time consuming than talking about it in person. If speaking face-to-face isn’t possible, talk on the phone or have a FaceTime session! You’ll be on your way to a solution in no time.
  • You stay focused: If your client is going to work with you on a big project, invite them to an in-person meeting. In this instance, email would be fine for sending important documents and information that are essential to the project, but go over those documents in person to make sure that everything is covered and all of your questions are answered before you begin working on it. Email and telephone follow-ups are inevitable, but the initial communication about an important project should be more focused and personal.

Meeting with someone in person is definitely worth the effort. To make the process a little easier, talk with your clients about getting together in person once a month or every few weeks. Try to schedule the next meeting at the end of each one. Other plans and projects come up, of course, but penciling in that face time is a step in the right direction.

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Summer 2015 Events

Memorial Day weekend is almost here! Can you believe it? While you may have picnics and family gatherings in the plans for the weekend—which many consider as a kickoff to summer—we’ve gathered a list of local outdoor activities to keep you busy all season.


  • The Three Rivers Arts Festival remains a great celebration of the arts throughout the city, featuring performing and visual arts exhibits from June 5-14.
  • The Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta is back again this year, July 3-5, with the addition of Formula One Power Boat races and the Wheel of Lights, a nine-story tall Ferris Wheel that is sure to give a fantastic view of the city. The event will of course include a fireworks display for the Fourth of July.
  • New to the city in 2015 is Picklesburgh – a free festival surrounding all foods pickled taking place July 17-18 on the Rachel Carson Bridge. The giant flying Heinz pickle balloon is sure to be an extra highlight, though.


  • Heinz Field plays hosts to some major concerts this summer, including Kenny Chesney (May 30), Taylor Swift (June 6), The Rolling Stones (June 20), Luke Bryan (July 31), and One Direction (August 2).
  • Other outdoor venues like Stage AE and First Niagara Pavilion continue to host a variety of old and new acts.
  • Don’t forget the free concerts taking place throughout the Three Rivers Arts Festival, too.

Movies in the Park:

  • Free movies are offered in the city’s parks throughout June, July and August.

Summer Food:

  • Farmers’ Markets are already in full swing and typically last throughout the fall months. Check out the local neighborhood markets for anything from produce to flowers, all at great prices.
  • During Oakland Restaurant Week, June 22-27, participating restaurants feature $6 lunches.
  • Pittsburgh Restaurant Week comes up on August 10-16, highlighting deals on summer menus of local city and suburban restaurants.

What are some of your favorite summer activities and traditions throughout the city? We hope you have a summer full of fun in the sun!

Should it be Capitalized?

Proper capitalization is an important component of well-written content, but are you confident you’re capitalizing words correctly? For the most part, we all know to capitalize proper nouns, such as names, cities, and titles, but as always, there are rules to follow. Here are some quick tips:

The First Word of a Sentence

This is a simple one, but there are some instances where you may be questioning if the first word should be capitalized. For example, capitalize the first word of a quotation that is a complete sentence, but not a sentence fragment.

The football coach said, “We need to go out there and compete.” At times, he said the team “took plays off.”

Family Relationships

Words that designate family relationships should be capitalized when they are used as proper nouns.

I’m taking Dad to a baseball game this weekend. You should bring your dad.

Professional Titles

Professional titles should be capitalized when they precede an individual’s name or when referring to the person without mentioning his or her name. Titles should always be lowercase if they follow a name.

Tom Wolf, governor of Pennsylvania, held a Twitter town hall last month. During the session, people could tweet questions to the Governor. One user asked if a hot dog is a sandwich, to which Governor Wolf replied, “Yes, and a good one, too.”

Days, Months, and Holidays, but not Always Seasons

Days of the week, months, and holidays should always be capitalized because they are proper nouns. However, seasons should remain lowercase, unless they are part of a proper name or title.

Do you have any plans on Memorial Day? It’s on a Monday, right?

It’s going to be summer soon, which makes me wonder, when is the next Summer Olympics?


Directions can be tricky. Compass directions—north, south, east, and west—aren’t capitalized. Regions, such as Western Pennsylvania, are capitalized.

I drove west for a few hours, but still haven’t reached the Midwest.


Do you have any other questions for us to explore that’ll help improve your writing?

Spring & Summer Grammar Tips

We’re a full week into May and right in between the spring and summer. Seasonal press releases, ads, blogs, etc. are being published, so here are a few spring- and summer-related grammar tips to help you while you write your content:

  • This Sunday, we will be celebrating Mother’s Day (not Mothers Day or Mothers’ Day).
  • All seasons—spring, summer, fall and winter—are lowercase. Equinox or spring equinox also are lowercase.
  • Memorial Day is a holiday, so the first letter in both words should be capitalized. If you have the day off, you might go to a barbecue (not barbeque, Bar-B-Q or BBQ).
  • Daylight saving time already has passed for the season, but when it comes again in the fall, the written style remains the same—no capitalization, no hyphens and no plurals (it’s “saving,” not “savings”).
  • Graduation season is here, so remember to use apostrophes in the general terms bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc. (no capitalization). However, the proper form is capitalized and does not have an apostrophe. For example, Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science.
  • If you’re going on a vacation, you’re a traveler who is traveling (one L, not two).

What are some other good seasonal writing tips! Share them with us in the comments!

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend

The 2015 Dick’s Sporting Good Pittsburgh Marathon weekend is here!

Runners and walkers will be celebrating as they cross the race’s finish line, just two blocks from the Yearick-Millea office.

About 30,000 people are participating in the weekend’s different events—5K, kid races, and a pet walk on Saturday, May 2, and the marathon, half marathon, and marathon relay on Sunday, May 3. Race participants get to experience Pittsburgh in an amazing way—running across the city’s numerous bridges and diverse neighborhoods.

Runners take the opportunity to give it all they have and achieve their goals after months of training, while the streets will come alive with thousands of spectators and volunteers cheering on their loved ones and strangers alike. The family-friendly Eat’n Park Finish Line Festival at Point State Park also is a great way to unwind after the races.

The GNC Live Well Pittsburgh Health and Fitness Expo, held Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, is another event that everyone can enjoy. Focusing on all aspects of health and wellness for people of all ages, the expo offers Pittsburgh-themed gear and apparel for those who want to show off their Pittsburgh pride.

Are you participating in any of the marathon weekend events? Tell us in the comments!

2014 Pittsburgh Marathon

2014 Pittsburgh Marathon

Generate Ideas With These Brainstorming Techniques

Public relations, marketing and advertising professionals do quite a bit of brainstorming to generate ideas for content, campaigns, events and media pitches. Some ideas come easier than others, so here are a few tips to help you brainstorm when you get stuck (or even just as general practice):

  1. Think Like Someone Else—Put yourself in someone else’s shoes when you’re trying to come up with ideas. Whether you’re working on a project that would appeal to someone who is from a different generation than you are, or someone in a different profession, take the time to think like someone else. For example, if you’re brainstorming ideas for a media pitch, outline what you think a reporter would want to know about your client and frame your story idea/pitch around that. Or if you have a product that you need to market to a specific audience, talk to someone within that audience to get some informal thoughts.
  1. Brain Writing—Just as with writer’s block, writing freely about whatever comes to mind can help you generate ideas. Set aside 10 minutes and write down every idea you have, whether or not you like it. Take a step back and revisit your list after a few minutes. Looking at it with a fresh set of eyes might help you expand on some of the ideas.
  1. Reverse Thinking—Rather than trying to come up with solutions for your clients, thinking about potential problems could be a good way to brainstorm. For example, instead of asking, “How can I make my client’s website more user-friendly?” ask “How can I create a horrible user experience?” and make a list. Once you have your list of ways to create a bad client website, generate solutions for all the items.
  1. Group Sessions—As they say, “Two heads are better than one.” Sometimes, individual brainstorming leads to a dead end, so it’s a good idea to enlist some help from your colleagues and coworkers. Bounce ideas off of each other and don’t be afraid to vocalize your thoughts. A little bit of teamwork can take an incomplete thought and turn it into something great.

What techniques do you try when you’re brainstorming? Let us know in the comments!