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Writing techniques for public communications

Find more about how you can make your writing engaging to a public audience.
© University of Hull

To make your writing more engaging and appealing to readers there are many writing techniques and literary devices you can use.

Techniques for stronger writing

These will help strengthen your writing and help you achieve the highest possible grade.

  • Read! Yes, read. Reading teaches us grammar and punctuation, common writing techniques and increases our vocabulary. If you are writing in a certain format, such as an opinion piece, reading examples will teach you how to structure your own. You will also become familiar with the language being used.
  • Create an outline. In any form of writing, you want to have an outline of what you wish to say. Know your main points and how you’re going to structure your work. The Format section of this guide goes into more detail about the unique structures of each type of Public Communication.
  • Have a strong opening. An engaging introduction makes the reader more likely to continue reading. Your opening could include an intriguing fact/anecdote, or information about your connection to the topic. A useful technique can be writing the introduction last making it fit better with the overall style of the piece.
  • Be concise. Public Communications aren’t usually lengthy; therefore, you want to be weary of your word count. Cut out any redundant language whilst making sure it still makes sense.
  • Declutter your sentences by using less adjectives and adverbs. Sometimes they help clarify your points, but excessive use of them can distract your reader. Ask yourself if your point is clearer without them.
  • Edit and proofread your work thoroughly before submission. When reading our own work, we are less likely to notice mistakes, so having a peer read it can be helpful. Reading it out aloud will also help you find mistakes.

Language in Public Communications

Writing for the public means you must think about the language you use and the style in which you write. For example, a blog post will be written in an informal, conversational way whereas a Letter to the Editor will be formal. For information on each format of Public Communications check out the Formats section of this guide.

No matter which format you produce, it needs to be readable and accessible to appeal to a wider audience.

Accessible doesn’t mean dumbed down.

  • Making it readable. This means making it easy to follow. Academic papers are written with academic readers in mind, whereas public communications are written for the general public. Therefore, you need to make sure people from a non-academic background, who may have less knowledge on your topic find your work easy to understand.
  • Make it accessible. There are many things to consider when making your work accessible: fonts, text size, colours to name a few. You want to engage with as wide an audience as possible, but if your work isn’t fully accessible you are excluding certain groups.
  • Use purposeful language. Be careful to not discriminate. For example, using the right terminology for groups of people – refugee, immigrant, asylum seeker. These are all different but can be easy to mix up.
© University of Hull
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