There are a couple of things you need to decide before you start writing, regardless of the type of piece you’re looking to produce. Whether you’re composing the next great American novel or a sales brochure, the first thing you need is to figure out who your reader is. This is called your target audience.
Once you figure that out, you can move on to step two—what style should you write in for the piece? The style dictates the direction of the piece. Conversely, the piece itself should dictate the style in which you write. Such is the case when you’re writing something for PR.
So, Is There a Certain Style You Should Be Using, Or Not?
There absolutely is a style to use in good PR. However, there’s not necessarily a name to sum it all up. But there are certainly some specific traits of the style you need to adhere to. Here are some tips to help you hone your PR writing style.
- Stick to the facts—When writing for PR, you don’t want to come off like you’re trying to sell something to the reader, even though you probably really are. The primary goal is to get them interested in your company, and connect with you emotionally. You want to be their friend, or maybe their protector. Not the annoying used car salesman that they dread dealing with.
- Get to the point—Good PR is direct and to the point. There’s no room for BS and wordiness. Extra verbiage tends to not sit well with customers. It can make you seem like you’re trying to hide the truth within the text—or like you don’t really know what you are talking about.
- Break it up—Whether it’s a newsletter going out to your clients or a press release targeting reporters, the more scannable you make your text, the better. People are in a rush and they like to be able to skim if necessary. Even if they plan on reading the entire thing, chunking information into short paragraphs and using bullet points will go a long way with the reader, even if they don’t realize it. Subconsciously, they will thank you.
- Be specific—It’s human nature to stick to generalities. However, when speaking about your business and attempting to develop goodwill, you need to stick to the specifics. For example, if you’re discussing how you made more satisfied customers this past year, you might consider writing, “Last year we produced more satisfied customers than ever before!” However, solid, specific date goes a lot further in building goodwill. Instead, maybe state a percentage like, “We increased our customer satisfaction rate by 15 percent.” It also comes across with much less hype. Just the facts and nothing but the facts.
- As always, keep it active—Since we mostly speak in the passive voice, it may feel natural to do the same in your writing. However, writing in the passive voice produces wordy, hard to follow, boring pieces. So, instead of saying things such as, “The product was developed with great detail by a team of skilled scientists and researchers,” you’d want to write something like, “Our team of skilled scientists and researchers developed the product with great detail.” Make the subject of the sentence perform the action as opposed to receiving it.
Notice, much of the stylistic advice applies to all business marketing writing. Pay careful attention to each of the stylistic tips and connect with your customers!
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/beginnersguide.html