Her master’s voice?

2 Jun

Style_guideI need help. I stress the importance of writing in public relations at the start of our course.

On the upside, this leads to some spectacular early ‘hits’: letters in national newspapers, feature articles in Behind the Spin, blogs etc.

On the downside, it often makes me feel like an alien visitor from planet grammar struggling to explain myself to generation text. That’s why I need help.

I most often receive it from employers. Now here’s support from a graduate student Stacey Dickens, who’s in her first job – as a public relations copywriter.

She’s updated a style guide for her employer, North Lincolnshire Council. It’s an impressive piece of work. Fun, too: she advises against using ‘stakeholder’ as this could be assumed to mean ‘someone who is nervous around vampires’. But it’s not just about words and grammar: it’s about the importance of clear communications to an organisation’s mission.

4 Responses to “Her master’s voice?”

  1. Simon Collister 05/06/2006 at 12:56 pm #

    I like the term ‘stakeholder’ for internal /industry documents….. probably not for external audiences. But what does Stacey suggest replacing it with??

  2. Stacey Dickens 05/06/2006 at 4:08 pm #

    Simon,
    That’s a good point you raise. In the style guide i advise against council officers using ‘stakeholder’ in communications with external audiences. It’s not everyday language used by an audience as diverse as ours. As an alternative i suggest ‘people’. If the communication is specifically targeted at the ‘stakeholder’ It’s always better to write ‘you’ or ‘we’ instead of the formality of calling them a stakeholder.

  3. Rodger D. Johnson 07/06/2006 at 3:16 am #

    Interesting post. I’m a newly minted Communication Manager for an Indianapolis-based financial advisory group. The company has no former public relations department. I’m their first foray into that.
    Having been a journalist, I understand how important style guides are to controlling consistency, and even a brand.
    What advice can you offer to a me, if any?
    By the way, check out my new blog. Thought I should join the blogging community finally.

  4. Richard Bailey 07/06/2006 at 9:16 am #

    Welcome to the PR blogging community, Rodger. You’re still a rarity – an in-house PR manager who blogs (most come from consultants).
    It’s hard to give advice at this remove, but here are some pointers. Your internal PR should be as much a priority as your external PR; you will want to develop your in-house resources, but could benefit now from the use of some consultancy resource (to help develop strategies and with the early implementation of programs).

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