Smart Publicity Hounds know about the Associated Press Stylebook, “the journalist’s bible.”
It’s the 427-page, spiral-bound book, organized liked a dictionary, that journalists throughout the world consult when they need to know the correct acronym for a government agency. They check the stylebook when they needto know if it’s re-election or reelection, or whether the American Automobile Association is AAA or Triple A on second reference.
If you follow AP style in your news releases, pitch letters and other communication with the media, you’ll show the media that you talk in the same language they do, and follow the same rules. Every good PR department should have an AP Stylebook. If you don’t, you can buy one online.
Then start thinking about creating your own corporate style guide.
Why? Because, as PR pro Yvonne Buchanan says, PR is all about identity–creating one, improving one and sustaining one. And the best way to establish your company’s identity is through repetition and consistency of your key messages.
But if people throughout your organization are permitted, for example, to use any colors they want when reproducing your two-color logo, confusion among your customers can result. Does everyone know which product names have trademarks, and whether the trademark symbol should be used in letters or in copy at your website? When referring to employees, should you always use their formal name with middle initial? What about job titles? Should you capitalize them?
Creating a style guide isn’t as difficult as you might think. And it doesn’t have to be a major project that takes months. In the January/February 2005 issue of The Publicity Hound newsletter, Yvonne offers tips on how to create a corporate style guide to ensure a consistent message.
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