This post is an excerpt from the PR Account Manager's Handbook. Click here to download the entire series as an ebook. By @TopLineFounder.
Business writing is a core part of any PR role. To master the art takes time and practice. However, to get reasonably good at it is much easier. In fact, it’s so easy that if a piece of writing that falls anywhere below average lands in my inbox for proofing I throw a cup of coffee over my laptop just to prove a point.
If you don’t want to be responsible for the demise of another Dell, then follow these seven steps for any piece of business writing, and I can (almost) guarantee that the results will be better than average.
Before you start, you need to know who you are writing for. If you haven’t been provided with guidelines, you should insist on answers to the following questions.
Once you have your brief, research the publication and read through examples of similar articles. This will give you a basic idea at least of what is expected of you and will make sure you don’t go off on a tangent.
The biggest mistake people make when writing for business is a failure to develop a proper grasp of the subject matter. No matter how good your style, your piece will be meaningless if you don’t personally understand what you are writing about – and it’s very easy to spot (usually signalled by gratuitous use of big words like pedagogical). In business communications you will often be required to write about subjects that are new or unfamiliar to you, and the best way to approach these is:
Whether it’s a byliner, a feature, a blog post or a media release, planning is essential to getting it right. This is particularly true in a support role – and as an AM you should ask team members to try to put themselves in your shoes: you are relying on them to do this piece of work to save you time. If it is properly planned, but poorly written, you can edit it into something usable in half an hour. If it is poorly planned and written in beautiful English then you have to redo it from scratch. To plan:
If you’ve done Steps 1-4 properly, then this should be the easy bit. Your first draft should take the following format:
Editing your own copy is good practice (and shows consideration for your colleagues). It means that the next pair of eyes required to proof it, can do so without having to waste their own time on your trivial admin. To edit:
Hungry for more? Download the Account Manager's Handbook in its entirety by clicking here.
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing, B2B content marketing agency and proud HubSpot partner agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact the B2B PR Blog editorial team via email on [email protected].
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