It is an obvious truth, but a constantly fascinating and inspiring one, that every highly regarded book, play or poem is simply a skilful arrangement of a series of words. We all have access to the same vocabulary, but only the chosen few have the ability to knit the words together to create the texture, colour and genius of a great work of literature.
Those of us who write for a living in journalism, PR and advertising can rarely claim to climb these dizzy heights, but we are engaged in the same process, the careful arrangement of words to pique the interest of the reader.
Some 550 years since the invention of the printing press and despite all the technology now available to us, the heart of communication still comes down to the written word. However, today we have the luxury of using our words in a myriad of different ways to instantly reach huge audiences across this country and the world.
Where once the printed word was considered valuable beyond price and treasured in vellum volumes, now billions of words are squandered every second. This written tsunami means that our chosen words must be precise arrows, accurately timed and targeted to pierce through the superficial noise of online chatter and commercial puff.
Our words must count as they tell the stories of our clients and their businesses. The tales of passion and dedication that have created successful companies, delivered products to be proud of and provided livelihoods for employers and employees.
We can direct our words through channels far too numerous to list, but here are a few of the most useful means of communication relevant to us at Rawlingson Lane. All of them need a different tone, a variation of style, a change of focus. All require us to pick our words thoughtfully, using precision, balance and imagination to get our messages across.
The starting block. A true classic which still packs a punch.
The job of a press release is to deliver NEWS. This is not the place to tell a lengthy story or try to promote existing products. A press release needs to clearly and concisely inform journalists about NEW information.
Journalists often approach us for comments from our clients to be included in features on particular issues from the latest trends to the newest products.
This is an opportunity to talk about wider issues and for us to present you as a knowledgeable spokesperson in your area of expertise. Sometimes this will include mentioning a product or two, but not always.
The reward in contributing to these features comes in being represented alongside competitors and experts in the same field and in the credibility gained from inclusion in an editorial feature, as opposed to an ad.
Social media has its uses and its benefits, but a blog offers the writer an opportunity like no other format. A good blog is an easy, entertaining read. It may present difficult or unusual issues, or silly, impertinent ones, but it tackles them all in an informal and approachable way that makes it feel like the writer and reader are in direct communication.
Many blogs inspire online conversations and are a great way to create an online community.
Pictures, both still and moving, are king on social media. However, the written word still has a vital part to play. A well written caption can bring an image to life – adding context and scope to otherwise random images.
It goes without saying that where words are used so sparingly, each and every one counts. As Blaise Pascal noted in 1657 (see the quote above) writing briefly is often more time consuming than writing in length.
There is a place for the longer format, and this is it.
Marketing today is less about the product itself than it is about the story behind it. Bringing life to those stories through the people who produce, make, use or sell them helps to make the products credible and desirable.
In a future blog we will look at the varying structures of different forms of written communication and how we craft them so that they do their job elegantly and effectively. Like what you read? Give us a call to talk words.