Continuing into July, two dozen countries are competing for the championship title in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Throughout France, the teams join thousands of attendees and millions of fans speaking over fifteen different languages. It could seem daunting to the players to focus on the forthcoming championship without being distracted by their new, fascinating surroundings.
With Team USA pegged as the heavy favorites for victory, they seem to have found their footing. However, it’s easy to misstep, especially when juggling many roles like athlete, influencer, champion, team and individual – similar to how a public relations professional handles varying clients and industries with completely different audiences and writing styles.
Let’s explore ways to maintain a steady voice on and off the pitch.
To win the day, you must understand your opponent or challenge. Before attempting to write a press release or blog post for your client, familiarize yourself with the readership and nuances of the outlet. Reporters and social media followers require very different writing styles and information. While a reporter requires an in-depth overview of an announcement, an Instagram follower wants a brief clever summary of the product or event and an accompanying photo which provides “a thousand words.”
Just as the first rule of soccer is to use your feet not your hands, the first rule of writing is to do your research. To stay consistent with your brand’s voice, it’s helpful to review previous documents to identify typical vocabulary and phrases and create a list of common verbs, adjectives and nouns. This list will provide a map and word bank to keep you aligned with the brand’s voice, style and tone.
Sometimes, you have to mix it up just as you would if your star player was completely covered. There are numerous writing styles, but some are more appropriate than others depending on the type of media. Match what you’re writing to the medium; one size does not fit all. For example, the realm of social media is more ‘laxed in areas like punctuation and grammar, whereas press releases and media advisories require more traditional and formal styles of writing. An email to a reporter might include punchier sentences than an announcement on a newswire, and copy for a website would highlight quick, familiar words. Meanwhile, a Facebook post can feature an overuse of exclamation points and certainly an emoji or two to convey the message, but a byline needs descriptive language which projects the personality or purpose of a person.
With the correct research, a list of desired language and a strong reason for each sentence, your writing style should project a strong and authentic voice for your clients’ range of deliverables.
Are you staying on brand and matching your client’s unique voice? Take a step back and walk- or run – a mile in the shoes of your clients – whether they’re formal and traditional like dress shoes or more action-packed and direct like cleats.