The public relations writer doesn’t always communicate with a large, impersonal audience. He or she also communicates on a more personal level through e-mail, memos, letters, phone calls, and face-to-face communications. But in many cases, public relation writers are major contributors to information clutter, because their jobs involved the writing and dissemination of so many messages. The problem is writers waste too much time producing texts that waste even more time for readers. And the solution, is to write smart, simple, and short. Some basic guidelines in all your writings should be:
1. Completeness. You must be certain that the writing contains information needed to serve its purpose. As the writer, ask yourself why you are writing and what your reader wants or needs to know. If more information will aid the reader’s understanding, provide it- but don’t give your reader a mass irrelevant material. An outline will help to ensure that your message is on target and complete.
2. Conciseness. Conciseness means brevity and less is better. The objective is to be as brief as possible because people don’t have the time or patience to read through long messages. Which means you need to carefully select words that convey ideas and thoughts in a concise manner.
3. Correctness. You must be accurate in every single thing you write. If an item in the mass media contains an error, the blame may be spread among many people. An error in a personalized communication, however, reflects solely and you and your abilities. Be accurate and you will get credit for being a professional.
4. Courtesy. Personal names are used extensively, and both senders and receivers have considerable interest in the material. You might think it advisable to make the messages as personal as possible, but don’t go overboard. The writing should be polite, but no effusive, personal, but not familiar.
5. Responsibility. Think about how your communication will be perceived by the recipient. A letter or e-mail is a highly visible record of what you say, so be careful about setting the right tone. You are representing your employer or client, so your communication must be in accordance with the organization’s policies and procedures.