Here at HRB, our staff loves catchy phrases and quips as much as the next person. But there is a fine line between catchy and cliché, and for PR professionals, this is a “slippery slope” (pun intended).
Technique gets noticed
We revisit the age old question, “What components embody strong PR writing?” PRSA highlights clear, concise, and strategic writing as essential components. Clearly the list goes on, and of course, every situation varies. The structure and tone may seem obvious, yet clichés and jargon phrases continue to creep into many forms of public relations writing.
Communicators can quickly catch clichés, but how easily can you spot them in your own writing? We hear them all the time, so naturally they become the first words that come to mind. Consequently, the more familiar a phrase is, the more likely readers skip through it and skim your content. “Easy come easy go” right?
Avoid the cliché trap
You’re on a tight deadline… I know the last thing on your mind is revising a press release for the hundredth time. However, I give you a few points worth considering before hitting that distribute button.
- Cut down sentences. Why use 20 words when 10 will suffice?
- Avoid industry jargon. Your audience often lacks the insider knowledge about the business or product. Remember who you’re trying to reach.
- Keep it relevant. While you may be “delighted” or “thrilled” to deliver the news, your job is guide the reader to this feeling, not tell them.
- Audiences are people too. Keep your writing simple, interesting, and understandable. Your audience is not a robot, (though it may occasionally seem that way).
- Know your client. Some clients and executives may look for a more complex and wordy message to build credibility. Be on the same page to best fulfill their needs, but also explain the value of simpler content.
If your audience is looking for a laugh, let them breeze through the comics or surf YouTube. Remember your key objective is to deliver clear and concise content that your audience can engage with. Giving them a novel of clichés and/or a book of company jargon will only distract from your key message.
Ultimately “time is money” and public relations writing is “neither the time nor place” for endless clichés.