Clarity in PR is critical. From interacting with journalists to creating content for clients, sticking to a consistent message and communicating it clearly is key.
Maintaining clarity sounds straightforward. But it’s easy to get lost in jargon that gets in the way of a clear and coherent message.
So how can we strive for clarity in a world that is anything but simple and straightforward? Here are some tips to help.
Understand your client
Understanding your client is a given. It’s an essential part of providing excellent service and meeting your client’s needs. To deliver valuable PR, it’s especially important to understand a client’s core purpose as this underpins their key messages. Those key messages are central to all PR activity.
To centre a client’s key messages in your work, ensure your team has access to an up-to-date description of the client and its core purpose. Keep this information in an easily accessible place, along with other key information such as the names of the people working on the account and their respective responsibilities. Your team can refer use this information as a basic guide for work on the account.
Including key messaging in individual pieces of content, such as a blog or a press release, is also important. Use a checklist or briefing document to pin down the purpose of the content and the key messages to be included. This should be done ahead of drafting to ensure the writing meets its purpose from the start. Putting purpose front and centre makes it easier to create content that is clear and meaningful.
Adjust your writing style
Adaptable writing is an essential skill in PR. For those new to the sector or fresh out of university, it’s tempting to continue writing as you always have. But the range of mediums we write for in PR (short comment, opinion articles, press releases) all have different styles. Many of these require short, snappy sentences to keep an audience’s attention.
Having recently made the transition into PR from academia, I’ve had to adjust my own writing style. I find it helpful to question the purpose of each word in a sentence. If a word isn’t ‘doing’ anything, it doesn’t need to be there. Simple language goes a long way.
Adjusting your writing style can be arduous, but there are tools to point you in the right direction. Applications such as Grammarly and Hemingway check readability, as well as grammar and spelling. By highlighting long sentences or use of the passive voice, they nudge you towards creating clearly written content. These small changes mean your audience stays interested and you get the desired message across.
Maintain clarity across the board
Keeping things simple and clear is helpful in all contexts. Ultimately, clarity makes everyone’s lives easier.
From a demand-generation point of view, clear content is user-friendly. A potential customer is more likely to enjoy an easy-to-read blog. They’re also more likely to get the information they need from it. Similarly, communicating clearly with a journalist ensures they get the information needed to produce a great story. Better communication secures better coverage.
Importantly, clarity need not come at the expense of nuance or technicality. You can still communicate complex concepts using simple language. Technical terms do have their place. It’s just important to avoid overusing technical terms and complex language that aren’t accessible to the reader.
Back to basics
We could all use more clarity in our busy lives. Going back to basics and focusing on key messages and simple language is a great starting point. The benefits of making this small shift can be significant. After all, in a world full of noise, simple and straightforward communication stands out.