Part 2: How to unlock the PR linguist in you
In the last part of my blog I explored why I believe that we all need to think more about the language we use and how we use it. While we don’t need to be linguistic experts, we do need to be experts at communicating, and this mainly depends on our use of language.
Linguistic analysis happens almost subconsciously in the mind of a professional copywriter or editor, but I believe that it is equally important that every PR person in the agency develops and enhances their language, as well as their communication and writing skills. As we are constantly in contact with the media, we are the ones who define how our client’s messages are perceived, and we are also responsible for communicating engagingly, honestly and always with integrity to gain our audience’s trust.
In order to improve the language we use today, we need to take the time to think about what we are saying. There are many simple things we can do to make our words our greatest assets, and ultimately ensure that our audience understands and engages with our content:
- STICK TO THE FACTS: Good PR language focuses on the facts. You should avoid using emotional, effusive language, whether positive or negative, and also try to use real facts, figures and data to support your writing wherever possible. Say it like it is and you will reduce the risk of being misunderstood.
- TELL THE STORY: Lead your readers through a logical structure and don’t be afraid to remind them of key points throughout your content. It’s best to write the story as if you are saying it – this is the human way to engage your audience.
- BE SENSITIVE: In the UAE, and indeed anywhere in the world, it is important to be sensitive to the local culture and use appropriate language. Remember who your audience is and write to them in a language that speaks to them and their values.
- CHOOSE YOUR WORDS: Simple and definitely correct is better than complicated and misleading. Use words you are confident with and that you understand – then it’s likely your readers will understand them too.
- SENTENCE STRUCTURE: Avoid long, unintelligible sentences. Remain short and to the point where possible, and make sure to vary any longer sentences with shorter ones to break up your writing and keep the audience interested.
- BE CRITICAL: This applies to everything. Whether it’s drafting an email, fact checking a feature article or proofreading a press release, always think twice about exactly what is being said and the language you are using to say it. You never know when a better word might be round the corner.
Above all, remember that language can be the most powerful of PR tools when you give it proper thought. Decide to make an effort and unlock the PR linguist in you today.
Antoine Boghos is the Account Executive of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA. | www.cbpr.me