Why are we talking about business writing in media relations class?• Public Relations is about telling stories that preserve or improve brands.• The better a brand, the more likely is survives.• A surviving brand means you still have a job. Good business writing helps you eliminate clutter, workplace drama and other annoyances that prevent you from doing the PR work you want to do.
Writing Basics Before You Ever Start Typing• You will write internal copy for two groups. – Client statement of work. – Memo to bosses and coworkers.
Writing Basics: Before You Ever Start Typing• Research the client• Research the client’s competitors• Research your company• Research your company’s competitors• Research the target audience• Context Matters!!
Writing Basics Before You Ever Start Typing• Outline the purpose –What outcome to you want? • Inform • Entertain • Persuade
Writing Basics Before You Ever Start Typing• Outline The Purpose – Who is the specific target audience? – What concerns or needs does the audience have? – What communication channel will you use? – Who is the best source of this information? • CEO • PR Person • Human Resources
The Main Theme of Good Writing (Yes, remember this for the final)• The key to good writing is brevity.• Be concise and thorough.
Universal Truths to Achieve That Theme• Commitment Statement – How can you explain everything you are talking about in one sentence? – That sentence should have emotional impact. – Everything you write needs to revolve around that commitment statement.
Universal Truths to Achieve That Theme• SVO Writing – Subject – Verb – Object
Universal Truths to Achieve That Theme• Avoid passive voice at all costs• Passive voice is confusing.• Passive voice is cumbersome.• Passive voice is not conversational. Passive voice writing will hurt your grade. Don’t use it.
What is passive voice?• The man was bitten by the dog. The dog bit the manSVO writing shortens your sentences.SVO writing is more clear.SVO writing is better.
Universal Truths to Achieve That Theme• Every word should have a purpose. • Write your copy • Diet Coke break • Review your copy • Read it aloud
Laundry List of Writing Tips I Hope You Know By Now• Do use active voice verbs create immediacy. Use them.• Don’t use jargon. It’s confusing.• Do vary sentence structure and length.• Don’t overly hype something.• Do think about tone.
Ways To Clarify Writing• Example – We all played show and tell in elementary school.• Definition – If you use a complex term, assume people don’t know what it means• Comparison – We know about apples to apples
Ways To Clarify Writing• Restatement – Tell them what you’re going to tell them. – Tell them. – Tell them what you told them.
Let’s Talk Writing
Memo Format• Bosses gloss over stuff.• You need to keep them updated on client progress.• Memos make that happen.• They also cover you when something goes wrong.
Memo Format The Beginning• Why are you writing? – Mention this in the subject line – Mention this in the first or second sentence – Be nice Tell Them What You’re Going To Tell Them
Memo Format The Middle• All those slides I just went over….use them. – Bullet Points – Outline – Vary Copy – Visual Aids Tell Them
Memo Format The End• What is the next step?• When will that step be delivered?• Be nice. Tell Them What You Told Them
Statement of Work• Defines your work to the client. • Overview • Objectives • Audience • Tone • Deliverable Product • How many copies of said product? • Timeline to create those deliverables.
Your Statement of Work• Offers scope and scale – In this case, your client can use the work as they see fit. – Some choose to use the releases. – Others never touch them. – None of the material you produce this quarter will be published without the client’s written permission.
Your Statement of Work• Offers scope and scale – What are the campaign’s objectives? – How will you translate to them the work you’re doing? • Chances are, many people you work with have never heard of a media kit. • Chances are, many people you work with are terrified of social media. • Help clarify what you’re doing and why it matters and how it will help.
What’s Next• Wednesday by 3:10, you will send me a memo about your client this quarter.• If you have a client, I need to know the basic who, what, where, when and why.• If you don’t have a client, I want to know what attempts you’ve made to get one and when you’ll have a client in place.• Remember formatting.
What’s Now?• In class writing assignment.• You’re the PIO for the local police department that is handling this investigation. Write a release with the information you have on the piece of paper I’m handing out.• Feel free to look back at my writing notes from today.