Chapter 2: Becoming a Persuasive Writer

Reading chapter 2 actually made me chuckle. Last semester, I took an upper-division communication studies course called Persuasion. Talk about deja vu! We discussed everything from the SMCR Model to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Credibility and Semantics were major topics we explored in the class. I also took Advertising last semester, which chapter 2 covered as well. Essentially, this chapter was review for me. However, the tips for success sections were very helpful.

For example, how to write persuasive messages included the following tips that are necessary to remember: communicate with people, not at them; localize the message; use a number of communication channels; maintain consistency in basic content; don’t propagandize; and maintain credibility (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques).

The ethics test for public relations writers, called TARES, is something  I have never seen before. TARES is an acronym, which stands for truthfulness, authenticity, respect, equity, and social responsibility (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques). Writers should test their persuasive communication against these five basic moral principles. Truthfulness pertains to whether or not you are just telling the literal truth and not the whole story. Authenticity asks if you are intentionally deceiving or manipulating others for the practitioner’s or client’s self-interest. Respect questions if you are giving respect to your audience as persons of dignity and intelligence. Equity addresses whether or not you are taking advantage of the public’s lack of knowledge or information about a product, topic, or idea. Lastly, social responsibility asks if your persuasive efforts are serving the broader public interest (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques).

The chapter covered aspects of writing that cause written works to fail in effectively persuading its audience. These tips serve as guidelines for what not to do when writing, which I found helpful. They include: emphasis on the company instead of the customer; all features, no benefits; copy that fails to say, “What’s in it for me?”; too much jargon; redundancies; no call to action; copy not addressed to target audience; failure to nail down messaging; and, my personal pet peeves, poor grammar and failure to edit or proofread (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques).


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