Communication with clarity
How to ensure your campaign cuts through the crowd
One challenge businesses tell us they face is finding the time to create clear messaging and content to support their work.
Whether you’re working on a campaign, press release or tweet, clarity of messaging is crucial.
But it’s not always straightforward to achieve.
It’s all too easy to get bogged down with industry-centric phrasing or fall into the trap of using internal phrases in a public spectrum. If your content isn’t clear enough, it’s not connecting – and you’ll be wasting time on activity that isn’t working.
Here are a few simple ways to ensure what you’re trying to say is what is actually heard.
Pick one point - and make it early
It’s common knowledge that attention spans are shrinking, at the same time as organisations are bombarding people with information.
It is therefore important to cut to the quick and say what you want to say as swiftly as possible.
Using key phrases in headlines is always best practice, and also help make your content more visible on search engines.
Setting the scene and further context should follow this. You can then repeat your key point again, at the end, to ensure it’s really hitting home.
Whilst story telling is important, and something we embrace as an agency in campaigns, it’s vital to focus on the main aim of the piece.
Keep returning to the question ‘what is the most important thing I’m trying to say?’.
Stand out from the crowd
This doesn’t mean organisations need to be over the top or provocative, unless you want to be, of course!
Social, print and online media are crowded spaces, so to ensure your message lands and has an impact, it’s important to be a distinguished, reputable source.
Does your organisation know who they are?
Every organisation has a personality, and it’s worth defining yours. It will help set a consistent tone that your audience will become familiar with – and make you more memorable. Make sure it represents who you really are and what you do – an inauthentic voice will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.
This works visually and verbally.
Tone of voice elevates your brand and further defines who you are, whether it’s professional, personal, casual or formal. But don’t let this get in the way of what you really want to say.
Visual branding is important to establish your identity. Pick strong colours and make sure your logo and images are up-to-date and reflect who you really are.
Ensure your social media feeds and social assets follow this branding, so that your message can be easily identified by a wider online audience.
If you need help with branding guidelines and tone of voice establishment, our team can help.
Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes don’t just look unprofessional, they can distract and even distort your key message.
The best content writer in the world is only human, and, of course, Chat GPT cannot be fully relied upon, either.
Therefore, checking your copy, whether it’s a tweet, press release, or a 30-page brochure, is crucial.
Step away for 10 minutes to make a tea. Ask a colleague to cast an eye. Print the piece out so you’re not glued to the screen. However you do it, make sure the piece is read again. You’ll be surprised at what can get missed.
This can also be useful if you feel like you’re not making ground. In the course of writing this article, I have stepped away many times to come back with a renewed focus. You could try methods such as the Pomodoro technique to structure breaks and ensure focus remains sharp.
Less is more
Shorter sentences are usually better than long. If a sentence is running over a couple of lines or more, take a look and see whether it can be broken up. The rhythm of reading will be more natural, and information will flow better.
Apps such as Hemmingway are great to get a quick check-up on your writing style.
Whilst some may feel that using lots of industry specific language makes a brand or message more professional, this isn’t always the case. Even if your audience is assumed to be well-versed in industry specific or internal language, it’s always best to use the simplest language that is universally understood.
Some industry language can even provoke a negative emotive response, particularly to an audience unfamiliar with terms. ‘Decanting residents’, for example, dehumanises the real people affected. More universal terms such as ‘rehousing residents’ makes what is happening clearer and has less of a negative connotation.
You don’t need to shy away from using acronyms, just make sure that what they mean are clearly outlined. The aim is to connect with your reader, not to exclude those who aren’t already clued up with the vocabulary.
You can read more on the perils of jargon on Ben’s blog.
Take the time to plan
Our director, Ben, recently asked his network ‘What is the biggest PR challenge facing your organisation?’.
Unsurprisingly, over 50% of respondents highlighted that not having enough time to do or think was their biggest struggle.
Lack of time is a major challenge, but cutting corners on comms isn’t the way to remedy this. Shorter messaging can be harder to find the appropriate amount of time to do properly, but these are usually those most picked up on.
Consider how your audience could react.
Think about how the conversation is already shaping up – we use a social listening tool to get the full picture.
Get in touch
We love working with teams to make their content shine. Get in touch to see how we can help.
Photo by Daniel Thomas, Unsplash
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