This is a guest post from Mariana Ashley.
Freshman composition class may seem like a blur if you’ve been out of school for several years. You may remember learning about things like the rhetorical triangle and rhetorical appeals, but you may not have a clear idea of what those concepts are anymore or how they relate to what you do in the marketing and PR world. Marketing and PR professionals communicate for a living, and many of the basic rhetorical concepts taught in freshman composition classes are actually quite relevant to what they do. If you’re having some difficulty accomplishing your goals on the job, you might want to consider these four reminders from freshman composition class:
1. Targeting your audience well is critical
As someone working in marketing or public relations, you should constantly be thinking about your audience. Your clients depend on you to attract people to them. If people don’t connect with what you’re trying to communicate to them about your clients, you simply aren’t doing the best that you can at your job. One of the first things freshman college students are taught in their composition classes is to think about their audience when they’re writing. If you’re having trouble making the impact you want to make on the job, think about ways you could better reach your audience.
2. Your audience values pathos, ethos, and logos
In case you’ve forgotten, pathos is the rhetorical technique of appealing to people’s emotions, and ethos is the rhetorical tool you use to establish credibility. Logos is what you use when you want to appeal to people’s logical sides. All three of these rhetorical strategies are important for marketing and PR professionals to use. When you’re trying to motivate your audience to do something, you have to earn their trust by establishing that you’re credible. Then you have to logically explain why they should do something. Finally, stirring up their emotions in a way that makes them believe they should do something is ultimately what’s going to help you accomplish your goals.
3. Revision is a good thing
Not all ideas are good, and there are often better ways of communicating ideas. If you come up with a message or slogan that isn’t achieving the results you want it to or that just isn’t quite right, take the time to think of a new way of saying what you’re trying to say. When you’re on a time crunch, it can be tempting to stick with whatever idea pops into your head. Remember, however, that you’re a professional communicator, and you’ll achieve the most success if you communicate well. Sometimes this means a little bit of revision is necessary.
4. Style matters
Think about the messages that compel you to take action. They’re probably original and thoughtful, and they probably have recognizable style. Just as your writing style matters in freshman composition class, your style of communicating matters in the marketing and public relations field. “Branding” is essentially developing a uniform and appealing style in terms of representing yourself or your clients to the public. Without style, people won’t pay much attention to what you’re saying. So, develop an interesting and compelling voice and use it as you communicate with the public.
Communication is difficult sometimes, even for skilled communicators like you. Targeting your audience well, appealing to their heads and hearts, rethinking your messages, and using style to your advantage will help you reach your professional goals more effectively.
Mariana Ashley is a guest blogger, freelance writer, and marketing enthusiast who helps students of online colleges in Arizona and around the world meet their academic and professional goals. When Mariana’s not writing for various sites around the blogosphere, she’s painting, singing, and studying positive psychology. Please leave your comments and questions for Mariana below!
Photo: Ektor on Flickr