Top tips

You can't become a communications professional just by reading our top tips, but they will give you food for thought.

Top tips to improve your communications

 The basics


  1. Don't rush into communications. Take the time to establish who your audiences are and what their needs and interests are.
  2. Be clear. Don't just dump information on your audience and expect them to work out what you mean and what's relevant to them. So, if you're talking to potential customers, tell them what you can offer and how they can access it. If you're talking to your stakeholders, tell them how your organisation is performing against its objectives.
  3. Make a plan. It's easy to be enthusiastic about starting a newsletter or starting up a website. It's a lot harder to keep it going, particularly when there are so many other things to do. A plan which sets out clearly what you are going to do; when you are going to do it; and who will be responsible for each element will make it much easier.
  4. Evaluate and review. You may love your newsletter but if it's not working, it's a waste of time.


  Top tips when dealing with the media

  1. Give them a story. It might be important to you but that doesn't mean it's newsworthy. Ask yourself if your story would interest someone reading a paper or watching the news. Look for the human angle.
  2. Tell them what they need to know. Journalists don't have the time or inclination to ring you for information you should have given them. Always cover who, what, when, where, why and how in your media release.
  3. Give them notice. Yes, lots of news happens unexpectedly. But the media still plans ahead so they can allocate staff to the best stories on the day. So if you want them to cover your fete or fun day, tell them the week before not the day before.


  Top tips to make your writing easier to understand                                                

Planning

  1. Write with the reader in mind. Think about what they want and need to know.
  2. Organise your material in a way that makes it easiest to understand.
  3. Use lists or bullet points to break up complicated text.

Writing

  1. Make your average sentence length 15 to 20 words. Use no more than two or three sentences in each paragraph.
  2. Use words your readers are likely to understand. Stay away from jargon if they won't understand it.
  3. Use You and We. For example 'We can help you' is direct and clear.
  4. Use only as many words as you really need.

Top tips for clear design

  1. Use a clear layout to present your plain words in an easily accessible way.
  2. Use a clear font like Arial, and as much as possible use dark text on a light background. Don't put text over photographs or images, as it is very difficult to read.
  3. Show your work to colleagues for them to check it is as clear as it should be. It can also help to read it out loud as this highlights any difficult or unclear writing.
  4. Make sure you include contact details for people to find out more.


For more information on how The Communications Co-operative can help you, get in touch with Jane, Helen or Rebecca. See the contact us page for details.

 
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