As public relations and marketing professionals, we write a lot… and that is an understatement. No matter what we write, we make sure to follow writing processes to help us develop creative, compelling copy that reaches our target audience effectively. These processes may be different depending on the writer, but following are a few key considerations to help you develop your own personal writing process.
Prepare before you type. Spend time with your good ol’ pen and paper. Create a simple outline or organize your information in a logical way. Short and sweet, this outline should include the purpose/intent, main message, as well as a few supporting examples/outlying thoughts. Consider it a framework.
Primary vs. Secondary. Determine what information is primary and what is secondary. Develop your main message and then expand. Always remember who your audience is and why you are writing. If you feel yourself going off base on tangents, look back at your outline to help keep you focused.
Write with precision. Do not lose your audience by rambling one-off thoughts that do not tie into your main message. Details are picturesque, but remember that too much fluff can result in mixed messages.
Don’t rely on spelling and grammar checks. In the age of mighty word processing software that underlines every grammar faux pas, it is easy to begin typing and hope thoughts translate accurately to the written word. Make sure your writing makes sense to humans – not just the computer.
Step far away. After you have finished writing – close the document and, literally or figuratively, step away. Focus on something else for a bit. Share it with a co-worker or friend to get another pair of eyes on it. When you return to edit, you will notice any imperfections or oddly worded sentence/ideas.
Do you have any tips for the writing process? Share them here or tweet @RachelKaylor.
[Jan 5, 2012 Editorial Note: This story was originally posted last week but has been updated]
I am so flipping tired of my industry being maligned by idiots who crown themselves “Public Relations Professionals” or “Marketing Professionals” or “Social Media Experts”.
Seriously. This guy – Paul Christoforo – has ticked off half the electronics gaming community by ignoring every fundamental rule of good and effective communication. If he is a PR pro, Dr. Jekyll was a physician extraordinaire.
In a day and age where everyone knows everyone else’s business – because of PR and marketing and social media – how can anyone be so ignorant as to think you can treat customers like yesterday’s trash and get away with it? And then beg for forgiveness when you get caught. Not because you are truly sorry or that you even recognize the error of your ways, but because you got caught and it is killing your business.
Shame on Paul Christoforo; you are not a PR professional. Shame on Ocean Marketing; you are not a professional PR operation. And shame on N-Control; not only for hiring this marketing firm, but for retaining them after they pulled this kind of nonsense in the past. You get what you deserve.
Unfortunately, customers do NOT deserve this kind of nonsense. And since it is apparent they may have missed some of these lessons during their marketing/PR/social media training, I wanted to offer a couple of tenets to Ocean Marketing and N-Control for future consideration:
1. Be honest with your customers – even when it is bad news.
2. Own up to your mistakes just like you take credit for your achievements.
3. Make good on your promises, and if you fall short, make up for them with humility and rewards.
4. Treat customers with the respect they deserve for giving you their money and loyalty.
5. If you are incapable of relating to the public, do not call yourself a public relations professional.
As cautionary tales go, this one seems to have a good ending. N-Control fired Christoforo and Ocean Marketing, which has changed its name to Ocean Strategy (yeah, that will work), and someone (no names please) has effectively shut down N-Control’s website.
The following video (definitely R-rated for rough language) offers a quick and only slightly exaggerated summary of the basic story. Please view at your own risk with the volume set at low.
Bloggers Gush About Cleaning Products
Household cleaning products don’t seem to be the kinds of things
that would get the blogging community all excited, especially
during the holidays, right?
But if bloggers happen to be stay-at-home moms who spend a good
part of the day cleaning up after their toddlers, or bloggers who
care about environmentally friendly products, offering a product
sample to them can bring hundreds more moms to your website.
That’s what happened just before the Christmas holidays when
Sweeney public relations launched a publicity campaign for Weiman
Products, a cleaning products manufacturer.
Publicity Hound Jennifer Manocchio, a Sweeney VP, said the
campaign invited bloggers to review products that help keep the
home clean. Sweeney offered each participating blogger
samples of products such as stainless steel wipes that can be
used to make kitchen faucets shiny, and Weiman E-tronic Wipes
that can be used to remove fingerprints from computer screens.
The campaign resulted in a whopping 44 positive reviews from
bloggers, like this one from the My Trendy Tykes blog:
“Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes shine, polish and protect all
stainless steel surfaces. They leave NO streaks, and the strong
odor?? Well, it’s not there. It’s actually a pleasant smell for
my nose. Oh, and get this…It actually repels fingerprints,
water marks and dirt. Now that’s what I’m talking about!”
Blogger Rockin’ Mama gushed about how the floor polish made her
laminate floors super-shiny. And at the Chocolate Fingerprints
blog, Andrea McMann said she could tell the e-tronic wipes are “a
high-quality product” and my screens still aren’t dusty or
The campaign also resulted in 172 clips, 196 direct links to the
Weiman website, and 772 website visitors who stayed an average of
two minutes and five seconds.
Reprinted from “The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week,” an ezine
featuring tips, tricks and tools for generating free publicity.
Subscribe at http://www.publicityhound.com/ and receive by email
the handy cheat sheet “89 Reasons to Send a News Release.”