Best-Practice Writing Tips for Corporate Communicators

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This presentation unpacks how to write with more power, polity, persuasiveness, clarity, cleanliness, conciseness and credibility, especially in the corporate world. If you're a PR person, media officer or corporate comms specialist, you need to look at this presentation. Today. [Created for the 2014 STC Strategic Media & PR Conference, 30 Jan 2014.]

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Best-Practice Writing Tips for Corporate Communicators

  1. 1. Strategic Public Relations & Media Strategy Conference Spectacular Training & Conferences January 2014
  2. 2. Best-Practice Writing Tips for PR Practitioners & Corporate Communicators
  3. 3. 5
  4. 4. 3500
  5. 5. Everybody is tapped out.
  6. 6. Everybody is time-poor.
  7. 7. Everybody wants to run away and hide.
  8. 8. I’m Tiffany Markman Business Writer Columnist & Author Writing Trainer
  9. 9. @tiffanymarkman #writingtips
  10. 10. Writing with POWER, polity & PERSUASIVENESS
  11. 11. MATCHING clarity with cleanliness, conciseness & CREDIBILITY
  12. 12. To repeat: 1.Power 2.Polity 3.Persuasiveness 4.Clarity 5.Cleanliness 6.Conciseness 7.Credibility
  13. 13. 1. Writing with POWER
  14. 14. ABANDON: waffle, archaic language, empty flattery, and pseudo-apology
  15. 15. Herewith please find attached  I’ve attached
  16. 16. In light of the fact that  because
  17. 17. Kindly peruse  Please review
  18. 18. Should you have any enquiries, please do not hesitate…  Please feel free to contact me…
  19. 19. 2. Writing with POLITY
  20. 20. “ If you are going to tell a lie, don’t tell a little one - it will be recognised as a lie. Tell the biggest, most unthinkable lie. Keep telling it. People will think it must be the truth and believe it. The greater the lie, the more effective it is as a weapon. “
  21. 21. What’s POLITY? Diplomacy. Tact. Honesty.
  22. 22. Here’s how to do it WRONG.
  23. 23. We regret to inform you that  We’re sorry to advise
  24. 24. There have been negative implications  The bad news is that
  25. 25. With regards to issues of disability, we’ve directed all departments to ensure that we meet the target we set several years ago, of having 2% of our people be disabled persons. *
  26. 26. WHAT?
  27. 27.  WE’VE NOT MET OUR 2% employee disability target and we’re taking real steps to change that…
  28. 28. 3. Writing with PERSUASIVENESS
  29. 29. NOTE: THIS IS NOT HARD SELL. It is compelling, real & filled with REASONS to act.
  30. 30. Sign up for our newsletter NOW & be the first to know
  31. 31. We understand how important it is for you to receive regular and proficient communication from us. Accordingly we are pleased to introduce…
  32. 32. Sign up. Know stuff. Share stuff. Win stuff. Yes, the whole world wants to send you newsletters, but ours has really good content in it, every single month…
  33. 33. We pride ourselves on quality content, thought leadership and the early adoption of good ideas, so this is what you will find in our monthly newsletter…
  34. 34. 4. Writing with CLARITY
  35. 35. HOW ABOUT just saying what you mean?
  36. 36. Our offices never open late.  Our offices always open on time.
  37. 37. High-quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the learning process.  Children need good schools if they are to learn properly.
  38. 38. We want to develop an efficient, integrated global business by leading the market in our focus areas. *  We want to become widely known as the very best at what we do.
  39. 39. We want to become widely known as the very best at what we do: banking.
  40. 40. 5. Writing with CLEANLINESS
  41. 41. 1. Adjectives 2. Adverbs 3. Repetition
  42. 42. The company has actively decided…  The company has resolved
  43. 43. We have segmented our target audience into niche groups…  We have segmented our market...
  44. 44. Our golf day kicked off on a beautiful summer morning under blue skies.  Weather: Johannesburg summer. Tee time: 9am. Call to arms: the XYZ Client Golf Day.
  45. 45. Our values require that our directors and employees behave with integrity and display consistent and uncompromising moral strength… *
  46. 46. At our company, integrity and ethics are non-negotiable.
  47. 47. 6. Writing with CONCISENESS
  48. 48. Ensure that the facts are strong enough to S T A N D A L O N E.
  49. 49. We are very proud to present a brand new and innovative development in internal company communication: the cutting-edge XYZ forum.  Introducing our new employee chat forum: XYZ. You can message colleagues, share calendars and integrate projects…
  50. 50. 80% 20%
  51. 51. Some jargon can make your brand look wonky.
  52. 52. 7. Writing with CREDIBILITY
  53. 53. 1. WATCH YOUR SENTENCE L E N G T H.
  54. 54. THIS IS TOO LONG: The home comprises large, integrated reception areas, upstairs and downstairs, with wood-burning fireplace and veranda and balconies that embrace incredible garden vistas and take your breath away. 29 words
  55. 55. THIS IS BETTER: This home has large, integrated reception areas, upstairs and downstairs. Expect woodburning fireplaces and balconies with garden views that take your breath away. 10 words; 13 words
  56. 56. Rules for SENTENCE LENGTH? 14 words max. Use fragments. Keep it simple.
  57. 57. 2. AVOID AWFUL WORDS & PHRASES.
  58. 58. ‘boasts’
  59. 59. ‘well-known’
  60. 60. ‘innovative’
  61. 61. ‘unique’
  62. 62. 3. SPELLING. SPELLING. SPELLING.
  63. 63. seperate
  64. 64. invester
  65. 65. intergrated
  66. 66. PLEASE go beyond spell-check.
  67. 67. Public Holidays
  68. 68. Pubic Holidays
  69. 69. 4. APOSTROPHES ARE IMPORTANT.
  70. 70. THE wrong way
  71. 71. visitor’s parking
  72. 72. Ladies & Gent’s visitor’s parking
  73. 73. it’s vs its
  74. 74. Don’t judge the book by it’s cover.
  75. 75. Its all about location.
  76. 76. Rules for APOSTROPHES: contraction & possession; NOT PLURAL
  77. 77. 5. CHOOSE STRONG VERBS.
  78. 78. A small space in which to make a large impact
  79. 79. Don’t rely on ADJECTIVES
  80. 80. DESCRIBE THE ACTION: Stroll Sit back Entertain Experience Relax
  81. 81. WIIFM?
  82. 82. 6. USE GOOD STYLE.
  83. 83. Avoid “INVERTED COMMAS”.
  84. 84. Just a “stone’s throw” away
  85. 85. Put spacing after full stops.Please.
  86. 86. 18 m
  87. 87. Don’t do this!!!
  88. 88. Don’t USE caps for EMPHASIS.
  89. 89. Let’s talk technique.
  90. 90. In order: Who? WHAT & WHERE? Why? HOW & WHEN?
  91. 91. AIDA
  92. 92. ATT ENT ION
  93. 93. interest
  94. 94. DESIRE
  95. 95. action
  96. 96. The end.
  97. 97. THANK YOU. ANY QUESTIONS? www.tiffanymarkman.co.za
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