We are in an age, where the buzzwords for the PR masses revolve around “storytelling” and “content creation” and by this we mean, PRs must use different content about the same content on different content platforms to attract different people to the same thing.
The subject is diverse, with McDonalds’ social media recently raising eye-brows by using the word, “bae”, in some posts. The acceleration of language evolution is awake and at full speed, and one must take into account that this new wild west-esque media landscape is variable and new; when the brand guidelines and even good grammar rules are being questioned in favour of interaction with the right audience. Brands need to be on their consumer’s wavelength…..and it’s all the master act of selling isn’t it? And talking to your customer? Not to mention talking to your customer better than your competitor talks to your customer!
One day in the not too distant future, there will be software metrics to show social media handlers and those writing direct in the form of newsletters etc, what exact words and syntax light the fire of specific audiences, lol, but until then we are just gamely joining in. Lol.
However, do we do have a certain responsibility not to dumb down our language for want of fitting in? Is it weak? Messages should be conveyed with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and if the writing is good enough – and when the writing is good enough, pictures are good enough, surely there is no benefit of babying your language? Isn’t it obvious and pathetic to those who know better; and patronising and irresponsible to those who don’t?
Of course, we need creative content and new ideas to cut-though the haystack that is social media, however, this needn’t be at the expense of proper English is it?
On the basis that correct spelling, punctuation & grammar is still king, here are my top tips for writing creative content, within a correct framework, for beginners:
· Don’t write, on the 10th Sept. Write Sept 10 2015.
· Don’t write Lol, haha, psmlf or any such nonsense abbreviation. If you are interacting socially, use a picture of someone/thing in hysterics. Or simply write, “That’s hilarious.”
· The first time you email someone, address them as Dear Mr/Miss. Surname. Not, “Hi Nancy”. No. Informalities can be sorted out down the line.
· If you are writing to someone, use the Cambridge comma! For example “Happy Birthday, Nancy” and “Let’s eat, Grandma”
· Use semi colons, they’re useful
· Don’t say I will “inbox you”…. or make up verbs
· Don’t have sentences more than 3 lines long
In France, they have an organisation called Académie française which originally was designed to document the correct language, and people know what is right. Perhaps it is time for a UK version?