Writing styles

Have writing styles changed and how are we updating them?


Dear public relations subjects,

With your column, I learn more about public relations and why good writers often do good public relations.

This is because writing is essential in communication, and we are responsible for communicating when we are selling, building a brand or just letting people know what is new with us.

Have writing styles changed with the rise of new media? How do we improve and update our writing skills to make our writing more interesting?

Will appreciate your thoughts on this.


Nora G.

Dear Nora,

Thank you for your letter. Although you didn’t mention your profession, I’m sure it matches communications. I am also impressed with your understanding and insightful thoughts on the importance of writing, which my colleagues and I believe is a skill that is often taken for granted.

Yes, writing styles have changed over the years, especially with the advent of the web 20 years ago. In the article “Five Ways to Make Your Marketing Copy Much More Attractive” in MarketingProfs.com, Nick Usborne said that in the past, copywriting – or marketing copy – “was a one-sided distribution business. simply put their promotional messages through the mass media, and their audiences had no way of reacting. “

Because the web is a two-way or a multi-way medium, “it’s a place where you can really listen and engage in conversation with your prospects and customers.”

Engagement is key, and even when writing for traditional media, it pays to make an effort to make your writing more engaging. Even in our day to day life, we do our best to make our conversations more interesting. And we should certainly make an effort when we’re in the communications business.

Usborne shares with us five easy ways to step up our efforts to create truly engaging messages:

  • Don’t be that arrogant salesman. Usborne considers the “inflexible and contradictory approach to selling and persuading” a holdover from the early days of broadcast media. This is because “back then, just to be heard, you had to create strong, insistent messages… because commercials and commercials interrupted your favorite TV and radio shows. When a message is not welcome, it will only be heard if it is strong.

Going online has changed all that and “we can tone down both the volume and the tone of our messages.” This means avoiding selfish and obviously intended to impress communications, because it no longer works. Instead, communicate something that will be of interest to those you communicate with.

  • Use simple, conversational language. Usborne gives us an example of writing from then and now, asking writers to “drop this weird style of business writing that so many writers have chosen at some point in their careers.”

Then: “Frakbar Cost Management enables organizations to monitor cloud spending, drive organizational responsibilities, and optimize cloud efficiency so they can confidently accelerate future cloud investments.

Now: Looking for smarter ways to manage your cloud expenses? At Frakbar, we can help you.

He also advises reading your communications, such as the About page on your corporate website, aloud to your close colleagues. “If reading this page aloud makes you sound like a complete idiot, then it’s time to do a rewrite.”

  • Get the right language by listening first. Remember how political candidates first went on “listening” tours of their constituencies before announcing their candidacies? Or how do retailers and restaurants ask their customers for feedback on their service? It’s a good way, as we say in Wretched, hearing how people sing.

Usborne said there is unfortunately a “disconnect between many businesses and their prospects and customers, simply because businesses never bother to listen carefully and understand the vocabulary, concerns and priorities of the public.”

If you are a communicator, talk to those around you, research writing styles, and you will be surprised that there are a lot of words that are really dating you.

“Collect, collate and study all the data,” Usborne said, “and you’ll be in a much better position to really engage with your audience. You will speak their language.

  • Leave room for your readers with questions and stories. Usborne said that “the old-fashioned way was to write both editorial and marketing material in conference mode: Write for the public. Writing in this way is a terrible way to engage anyone.

You can leave room for engagement by asking more questions in your headlines and in the body of the text, which “signals inclusion and leaves room for the reader, their feelings and opinions.”

Another way is to tell more stories that are relevant to your audience, making them feel included and more engaged. No stories, please, of things that only interest you and your little circle.

  • Be imperfect, accessible, authentic. You can make “your business more user-friendly if you stop trying to be perfect,” Usborne said.

In addition to having an accessible tone in your writing, “if you make mistakes, admit them. Customers will almost forgive you if you admit to an honest mistake. It’s good to be imperfect. People connect with it. They will feel closer to you.

PR Matters is a roundtable written by members of the local chapter of the UK-based International Public Relations Association (Ipra), the world’s premier association for senior professionals around the world. Millie Dizon, senior vice president of marketing and communications at SM, is the past local president.

Each month we have a special column to answer readers’ questions about public relations. Please send your comments and questions to [email protected].

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