As promised, here’s part two of our Seven deadly PR sins series…
Sin 2: Indulging yourself
It’s hard to write this one. Mainly because we’ve all been guilty of it in the past at TeamRev. So many occasions, we have to slap our wrists. What do we mean by indulging yourself? Allow us to explain…
As copywriters, we’re prone to long, descriptive sentences – reminiscent of the novellas we so loved as children – which are designed to bring to life an idea so vividly that our readers cannot help but be immersed in the beautifully-constructed imagery we create though our words. See?
All well and good if you’re writing a romantic novel. The trouble is that when it comes to PR, your message gets lost in the (albeit quite lovely) flowery verbiage.
Here are three tips to help keep you on the straight and narrow:
- Keep it simple – great PR isn’t about using the biggest, most complex words you can think of. It’s about communicating a story or idea in the clearest way possible. In order to make your writing more accessible, you need to keep it simple. As soon as you overcomplicate things you’re going to lose your readers’ attention.
- Avoid jargon – unless you’ve been asked to write something very specific for an audience in the know – leave jargon at the door. People these days lead busy lives. They don’t want to read something that looks like a page from a text book. You know yourself that when you read something, what matters most is that you can read it easily, quickly and don’t need a degree in a particular field of study to find it useful.
- Break the rules – sometimes you have to unlearn the basics. Strictly speaking, we were taught not to start a sentence with ‘but’ or ‘and’. But it can give your writing some punch. Short, snappy sentences beat long drawn-out ones every time. You’re competing for attention. Grab it. Start at the end; tell your story out of sync. It can be surprisingly engaging. And that’s just what you want.
We love writing and that’s good because it’s a huge part of our daily tasks at TeamRev. But if, like us, you have a tendency to get carried away, don’t despair. There’s hope! Before you start writing, ask yourself three things:
- Who am I writing for? (audience)
- Why am I writing it? (goal)
- What am I trying to say? (storyline).
Then let your words coming spilling out on the screen or paper. Once they are down, you can then go back and unpick any waffle.
The skill here is to recognise that you do it and be able to put it right before you release your copy into the wild. It takes a bit of practice but when you recognise that your self-indulgent writing may not be what your audience likes or needs, it’s one of the most valuable writing tools you can master. Happy writing!
Stay tuned for next week’s Sin reveal.