Good writing makes reading easy

By Nicky Rudd
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In our last few of posts, I have been looking at the press release. In this post, I wanted to cover some of the language mistakes that are common if you are new to writing a press release.

When I first started working in PR, my degree was in English Literature. It took me a while to get used to the fact that when you are writing a press release, you don’t use the colourful, scintillating and expressive language you might find in a novel. You should aim to use the simplest words you can to convey your message in as few a words as possible. Also, don’t use jargon and acronyms.

There are also a few words to watch out for when writing a release. These are:

  • Revolutionary and unique – something rarely is!
  • Whilst – you probably mean while It’s and its (check our previous post on how to use an apostrophe for this one)
  • CDs not CD’s and DVDs not DVD’s (again check the apostrophe post)

I named this post after one of Padua Communication’s core beliefs: that good writing makes reading easy. In this respect, try and use common words that are easy to understand rather than complicated ones to show how clever you are. So,

  • don’t utilise, use
  • don’t request, ask
  • don’t relinquish, give up
  • don’t terminate, end or finish

My last point on using relevant language for your audience comes from a story a games designing client told me. The MD was working away when his mum phoned with a technical question. She was a 65-year old who had spent ages filling in a questionnaire online. She phoned her son to complain that having spent all of this time working on the questionnaire, the company now wanted her to give up. It turned out that the enter button at the end of the page had ‘submit’ on it. Make sure the language you use is relevant to the people you are writing for. Submit as a word has a very different meaning to a 65-year old than to a teenager.

If you have any examples, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at [email protected] or leave a message in the comments below.

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