PR - Get to the Point !

A key element of PR is getting your message across, and that means talking to people in a way that can be easily understood. Press releases and web content need to be written in the same way that people talk - not, of course, with all the 'umms' and 'errs' that accompany normal speech - but in a simple and easy to digest style that avoids jargon, hyperbole and buzz words.

Getting the message right is a difficult balance - not wanting to assume too much knowledge, but also to avoid making the reader think they are being treated like a simpleton. The job of the PR professional is to take a seemingly complex product or problem and create a communication that explains it in an accessible way. Clients often worry that not enough information has been included in a press release, or that layers of intricate detail have been missed out. This is a normal concern for someone closely attached to a project. The PR professional should be distant enough to see what the story actually is, but still be well enough briefed to answer a wide range of questions that could be asked by journalists. 

This is why developing a relationship with a PR professional can help your business. If messages are delivered to a hassled journalist in the form of a usable story, then there's much more of a chance of them getting in touch and your news being published or broadcast. Surely that is the most important thing?

It’s not that the detail isn’t important. It is. However, unless you are writing for a highly specific niche audience, perhaps targeting a specialist trade publication, you don’t want to scare people with science or frighten them with too many facts. Once a journalist has expressed an interest in a story, and a dialogue has begun, it’s then the time to start introducing the complexities that lie behind the story. If you’re writing web content you should allow the fine detail to develop later in the piece, or provide links for those interested enough to find out more.

By concentrating on what the story is, and only including the most important facts, you are helping to reduce the wall of words that confronts your target audience. With journalists receiving dozens (and in some cases hundreds) of press releases and news event notifications every day, there’s little time for them to plough through pages of solid text. Simple stories, well told and presented will always win through.

So stay sharp and to the point.  It’s a battle out there, but with a PR professional as part of your team you’ll definitely have an advantage as you march towards the frontline.

Emma Gaisford  
Getting the right PR message in the right place is Emma Gaisford's skill. She can help with the good news you want to shout about or any bad news you need to deal with. She ensures that the right messages are communicated at the right time and in the right place. 

She has looked after brands such as Fuji, L'Oreal, Seven Seas and Weight Watchers while working for top London agencies. As a key part of Heathrow Airport's PR team she gained an in-depth knowledge of crisis management – planning for the worst. So, if and when a crisis happens, any negative impact can be limited. 
Married to Richard Gaisford, ITV Daybreak chief reporter, Emma has her nose in the news both at work and at home.