Read these 12 Business Communication Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Press Release tips and hundreds of other topics.
Beware of bragging in your press release. State the facts in the body of the release. The quote gives you a little room to "toot your own horn," but try to appear humble. If your company wins a national award or a coveted contract, by all means announce it. But keep it factual, and avoid appearing arrogant or boastful. Try having an unbiased friend or colleague read your release to be sure you haven't crossed the line.
Probably the single most important thing to understand about a press release is that it is not an advertisement. Avoid superlatives like "best" and "unique." Don't use exclamation points. Concentrate on the features of your product or service and on the benefit to the customer without using hyperbole.
Avoid using a press release to rant. Always take the high road in a press release by being factual, polite, and professional. If you need to respond to negative publicity about you or your company, or you need to respond publicly to a lawsuit, state your case objectively. Ranting will make you look desperate, unprofessional, and--possibly--guilty.
Don't feel you need to put out releases on a certain schedule. Wait until you have something newsworthy to announce. Don't be like the boy who cried wolf. If your releases aren't substantive, they'll be ignored. Conversely, if you have two newsworthy announcements in the same week, don't be afraid to put out two releases.
Every release you issue needs to provide real news value. All it takes is a little creativity to turn up something newsworthy. New products, new applications for existing products, a client win, mergers and acquisitions, awards, and personnel changes can all help keep your company's name in the press. If none of these applies, you might want to reevaluate why your company appears to be running idle. Consider an initiative to increase your visibility in the community and the industry.
Like many things, business communication has changed with the advent of the information age. Our attention span is shorter than ever, so we need to get to the point using fewer words. This can be a challenge for some writers, but it's important to practice effective and efficient business communication, particularly if you're using email. Leave out anything that's extraneous, particularly buzzwords and jargon. And be sure to lead with your best shot - write a clear, succinct headline (or subject line) that grabs the readers attention.
Try to keep your expectations in check when putting out a press release. It's not a magic bullet. It's true that once in a while, a company will score big with their first release, but it's rather like winning the lottery or a sweepstakes: Many will enter, few will win. However, if your company issues a steady stream of newsworthy releases to the media, over time your company and products will get the attention they deserve.
Business communication includes public relations communications such as press releases and bylined articles. The basic rules of business communication remains the same across all these types of documents: know your audience, be factual, avoid unsubstantiated claims, and limit industry jargon and buzzwords. If you don't think you can describe your product or service in an unbiased way that is easily understandable to the uneducated consumer, it might be worth your while to hire someone who can.
If you don't have a new product or a new customer to talk about, dig a little deeper to find something newsworthy. Personnel changes, a new office location, an industry award, or a trend that favors your product are all newsworthy events. Do any of your employees volunteer time to community service on behalf of your company? If it's been more than six months since your last press release, look hard for newsworthy items to publicize.
While some people are naturally effective communicators, it is possible to teach effective business communication strategy. Understanding the audience is the most important factor. Know whether your press release or article is going to the average consumer, or to technology executives. Describe the product or service in a way that the reader (or listener) can understand, but don't be overly simplistic or you'll come off as condescending.
Issue a press release when you have news to announce. Microsoft issues hundreds of press releases every year because it has a lot of products and services across many divisions worldwide. A small company may send out only two or three releases a year to announce a new product or a big customer win. Don't put out a release just for the sake of doing so, but look carefully to see what opportunities you may have to make news.
Comedy has no place in a press release. Stick to the facts. Newspapers often use funny headlines or plays on words, but you should leave that to the editors. Even if you are announcing a publicity stunt, the announcement itself should be straightforward and factual. Leave the shock and humor for the stunt itself. Many publicity stunts never get off the ground because the media ignore the announcement.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|