As public relations and marketing professionals, we are often tasked with writing in our clients’ voice. Whether delivering a byline or composing a quote for a press release, mastering this skill can be tricky. Each thought-leader / CEO has a specific style and the onus is on us as PR professionals to figure out the cadence of their speech, the type of words they typically use, and the message they want to convey.
While this can seem overwhelming, there are three steps you can take to help improve your writing on their behalf.
Do your homework
Just because you’ve read your clients emails does not mean you have a firm understanding of their voice and tone. I’ve witnessed clients ham it up over email and then deliver incredibly buttoned up bylines on the same chain. Instead of rolling the dice, check out their LinkedIn profile, research videos or audio of past speaking events and/or media interviews, look at past bylines they’ve written, and sift through the company blog. When it comes to understanding your clients voice, you can never be too thorough.
Hop on a call
Don’t rely on past conversations to understand your client’s point of view. While independence is important, bylines are a team effort and require constant feedback from both sides. Rather than sending over a byline that may require several rewrites, schedule a quick 15 minute call to understand the written personality of your client and the key messages they want to convey about the topic.
Keep their target audience in mind
After securing a byline or finding a trending topic for your client to comment on, it is important to keep in mind who you’re writing for. Clients often consider their messages to be universally appealing, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Research the publications content style and typical audience. This can help shape your messaging and provide direction on what will be most impactful to the readers.
Writing on behalf of your client doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can serve as an excellent opportunity to build report with a thought leader/ CEO who might be on the fence about outsourcing their voice. By conducting simple research and keeping the lines of communication open, you’ll be well on your way towards nailing that next big piece of client content.