How to save yourself from ‘PR speak’

Writing everything in your own voice is detrimental to your clients and you. A little comic book characterization can open your mind to new voices.

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This story originally ran on PR Daily in March, 2015. If you work in corporate communications, in-house PR or agency-side PR, chances are you’re already something of a speechwriter. If your normal duties include drafting quotes for CEOs in press releases, PowerPoint talking points for executives, internal company messages to all employees and remarks for keynotes/presentations, then yes, you are most definitely speechwriting.

The problem here is that writing speeches doesn’t mean you’re actually an effective speechwriter. Most of us can acknowledge that “PR-speak” is a real issue across our industry (PR-speak is just another way of saying “empty” writing and jargon). It’s hard enough to break out of it in press releases and email pitches, especially when you’re on a deadline and multiple clients are on your case. PR professionals can too easily autopilot right into over- or under-communicating, resulting in the thousands of terribly written press releases studded with banal cut-and-paste quotes from CEOs. I could die happy if I never had to see another press release quoting a CEO saying, “We’re very excited to announce….”

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