Whether you are tweeting, blogging, writing a speech or writing a news release –the written words that come from your business represent you. Communications that contain poor grammar, scattered ideas, or are full of jargon, reflect on you no differently than if you were wearing swimming trunks to a black-tie affair.
It seems that over time the basic lessons from The Elements Style and the Little Brown Handbook seem to have been lost on many people.
What you say and how you say it are among the ways people evaluate you. Are you trustworthy? Intelligent? Should I do business with you? Buy your product? By the time someone has finished the first paragraph of something you have sent them, they have formed an opinion of you and your company.
Recently, The Perry Group hosted a series of webinars for communications experts with the New England Society of Healthcare Communicators to sharpen their writing skills. Here are some easy to remember tips that can help you too.
• The most important part of every communication your company sends out is the idea. Make sure you have one main idea and it is clear and compelling. Otherwise you are just a wordsmith.
• The best length for a news release is 250 words.
• Sixty-five to seventy characters is the best headline length if you want your press release to be picked up by Google News.
• Don’t fall victim to grammatical or mechanical mistakes – have a colleague proof it!
• Understand your audience.
• And finally, remember, to persuade your audience you must be compelling!