by Jim Haynes, APR, Fellow PRSA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Make your copy clear and concise.
Write with the audience in mind.
Know your purpose:
Write short sentences.
Use active verbs.
Use simple words.
Get to the point quickly.
Check your facts.
Proof. Proof. Proof. (Spell checker results are not reliable. Check this: “Its letter perfect awl the weigh; my checker tolled me sew.”)
Know your audience.
* Write what they know and understand.
* Don’t assume that they know the meaning of acronyms and jargon.
* Use terms they use.
* Ask one of them to check your work.
If you use an abbreviation or acronym, explain it.
Use the style appropriate for the medium.
Use the styles prescribed by the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook for print media and the AP Broadcast News Handbook for broadcast media.
Play the hand you’re dealt
Be sure your writing advances the organization’s objectives.
Get the level of management’s approval that’s needed.iWriting:
Write in “chunks”—headline, then a “brief” or lead, then text (More).
Understand that the user gets to decide how deep to read or scan.
Make each “chunk” useful.
iButtons and iLinks:
Limit each to 1-3 words.
Make them clear and precise.
Break your text into chunks.
Limit paragraphs to 2-3 short sentences.
Provide a link option for the full-text version.
Writing the effective iHeadline:
Make it short, and stand-alone.
Include both a subject and a verb.
Make the tense present or future.
Limit it to 10 words.
Finally: Let it rest!
Leave it overnight.
Take another look the next day.
You’ll probably find ways to improve it.
Mr Haynes is a partner and director for QuickSilver Interactive Group, Inc. of Dallas, and is a member of PRSA’s national Board of Directors. He has taught PR at four universities and served as assistant dean at The University of Texas at Austin. He also is the co-author of the textbook Public Relations Writing: Form & Style.