As a professional communicator I’ve come to realize that every word counts. No matter who you are talking to or where you have selected to make your thoughts known, what you say and how you say it will probably matter to someone.
I recently posted to Twitter that the microblogging site has helped me learn to be more concise in my writing, and I believe it has. Communicating via Facebook, and even this blog, has also helped me become a more conversational writer. These styles are relatively new to the world of public relations – a world that was once ruled by the iron fist of the AP Stylebook, where the formal press release sat high in its throne.
Times, they are a-changin’ as the saying goes, but that is no reason to lose sight of what you say, regardless of how you say it. In everything you do as a communications professional, one thing is certain: what you say (and write) should be clear and accurate – everything from a simple tweet to a full annual report. You’re representing yourself, your agency and your clients, and each communication, verbal or written, reflects upon those entities, even when you least expect it.
For example: I recently pitched a story idea to a reporter. Next thing I know, my casual email is live online for every reader of this regional news site to see. The outlet tweeted a link to the “story”, and wouldn’t you know it, at least five others retweeted that very post.
What I thought of as a simple conversation of sorts to get a story written turned into a hard news story in itself. Call it a result of the shrinking newsroom or the way information is making its way to the masses these days, but even when you may not be counting your every word…every word counts.