Articles Tagged with corporate

Is vague the new grey in PR?

Is it the hot weather or is there another reason for a plague of vague press releases?

Lately, as part of my journalist role, I’ve been receiving a lot of press releases that not only miss the occasional detail but sometimes the entire story: awards to companies for something or other, presentations to an individual who worked for a couple of organisations, a financial services provider supplying . . . financial services.

Now, every journalist has specific interests and what’s interesting about the role is discovering a nugget about the topic or area you cover. I enjoy picking up the phone to find out more about a story, but not to dig out the basic details so I can figure out whether it’s interesting or not.

These press releases have come from press offices of UK government agencies and business organisations as well as from private companies. Does it matter?

Well, clients are paying fees to PR agencies and employers paying staff to produce and distribute these press releases when a lot businesses now promote themselves very effectively. Last week, I suggested an idea for a photo to accompany a company’s press release and the next morning I received a high quality image from them by email. There was no PR agency involved and I didn’t receive a tiny 72dpi, badly posed image, like the government agency sent.

If that’s the case, why use a PR agency or corporate marketing professional? Why not do it yourself?

I see it as a warning to anyone in PR, marketing and communications to sharpen up and provide the value that clients and employers expect . . . or perhaps they won’t want to pay for us any more.

Posted via web from z2zine

Choosing communications providers

Whatever supermarkets say, each one has different strengths and weaknesses and not one of them ever offers precisely what we want. It’s the same with communications and marketing providers.

When you want a specific communications job done, it’s best to select someone who either has existing expertise in that field or can demonstrate the capability to do that type of work. Just like the supermarkets, some providers are better at some things than they are at others.

When you’re selecting a copywriter, look at what type of work they specialise in: advertising, online content, print magazines, public relations, corporate communications or consumer material. Each one requires a specific approach and not all copywriters will be capable of handling them all, although some will.

It’s useful to see samples of the work that a copywriter has produced to help decide whether you want them to write your copy. It’s not the most important thing, as you also need to develop a good working relationship with a writer. Also, just because they have no experience of a particular type of work, doesn’t mean that they won’t be good at it. If you want a versatile writer who can write for different media, the relationship and overall ability could be more important.

On the other hand, if a writer feels out of their depth or is not confident about a certain type of work, they shouldn’t take it on.

All this applies to other providers, including graphic designers and web site developers.

The best result is to find communications providers you can trust to come up with effective material that will meet your objectives.

After our last blog, have you checked your communications to see if everything is up to date?

z2zine tomorrow: Understanding the numbers game

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Use a style guide for consistency when writing for print or web sites

We’ve been doing a lot of proofreading lately, which brings to mind just how useful a corporate style guide for writers can be.

It’s quite common for businesses and other organisations to have visual style guides, but the actual content is often forgotten until a proofreader points out all the inconsistencies.

A style guide can be as simple or as complex as you want: covering basics from always writing brand names in capitals – or not – to whether specific words are hyphenated.

Once simple rules are written down, it’s much easier to remember them when you come to write a word and think “company policy is to hyphenate this word” or “we write that with a capital”.

The result is greater consistency, more effective communication and less time spent ironing out inconsistencies every time you want to publish a brochure or web site content.

Action can make writing more interesting

When proofreading a number of large corporate documents recently, I realised how dull the writing can be. Just because someone is a specialist in a subject, it doesn’t always follow that they are good at communicating enthusiasm about this to other people.

One of the main problems is when the writing style is ‘passive’; by this I mean the practice of saying “something was done” rather than “something happened”. The opposite style is ‘active’, e.g. “I run”, “they started”. This style is far more energetic and gives vitality to writing.

It is remarkable what a difference this can make to a document, especially if it is a long one. Look out for this next time you read a long corporate report, especially if you find your eyes drooping in boredom. Also, bear it in mind when you write such documents – your readers will thank you and your writing will probably be more effective.

Robert Zarywacz

The remote revolution

Ilfracombe is a beautiful town.

Whichever way you look, you see marvellous views: the harbour, the sea, Hillsborough, the Torrs.

10 years ago I probably would not have imagined moving my office 200 miles from Berkshire to North Devon, 50 miles from the nearest motorway and even further from the nearest international airport. How could I continue working with corporate clients?

But all that has changed and here I am, writing this article in Ilfracombe.

Broadband internet access and advanced telecommunications make this possible. Now Simon and I work as a virtual partnership, collaborating with each other on client projects by phone and email. We work this way with many clients too, and some we never meet.

Does this really work?

The answer is: yes.

While there are benefits to face-to-face meetings, they do waste time in travel. Travelling from Windsor into London could add three or more hours to a 45-minute meeting and, of course, the distances between towns in the West Country add to travel times too.

So the ability to develop effective relationships remotely is very beneficial, especially when a client rings up with an urgent request for work that needs to be completed at the last minute.

Efficiency and cost savings

The capability to receive a fully designed document as a PDF file emailed from a client in the City of London, to proofread and annotate it with amendments in Devon, and to email it back to the client within hours is truly revolutionary and very efficient. There’s no travel, no courier, no time delay and no travel expenses.

It suits both large corporate clients and small businesses, and it enables us to respond more flexibly.

Maintaining satisfied clients

Clients are happy because they know that we are on the end of a phone or at a computer, ready to work on their projects.

The reality is that the distance between us – 2, 20 or 200 miles – no longer matters. The client relationship is the same as if we were in the same room together.

As well as providing cost savings for clients, we can use the travel time saved more productively.

So is there a place for face-to-face meetings in modern business? Yes, of course, and we enjoy balancing both methods of doing business.

Robert Zarywacz

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