Over the last few years we’ve created a few tools that I thought might be useful for writers, other PR professionals or small businesses.  They’re all about how to create good stories, avoid the pitfalls of poor communication and how to kill cliches and buzzwords.

So here are five of our home-grown resources to get you going:

1. Our automated jargon removal tool.  Just paste your draft announcement into the box, press the button at the bottom and PR Buzzsaw will strike a line through all the words and phrases that journalists don’t like.  How can we be sure?  We write out to journalists, correspondents and editors in the UK and the US on a quarterly basis asking them for their submissions.  In other words, we’ve done all the hard work of working out what annoys journalists so you don’t have to.  Top tip: if you have an internal debate about whether a phrase is annoying or not, the Buzzsaw can act as an independent ‘voice’.

2. Our Periodic Table of Story Elements.  This is based on analysis of thousands of stories and stunts.  Essentially this is your litmus test.  If you want to be as sure as possible that something will work, you really need to have one or two of these elements AT LEAST – or start again.

Periodic Story (extended)

We have a bigger version that I’d be glad to send you a copy of (more elements).  Just drop me a line at hthompson@houstonpr.co.uk or Tweet me at @HamishMThompson.

3. The ‘How Not To’ Guide to PR.  This is (modest cough) the definitive guide to the pitfalls of poor PR.  It runs, last time I counted, to more than 30,000 words, almost all of them from editors and correspondents at national newspapers, broadcasters, international titles, trade titles and more.  This is our most-visited resource.  Google Analytics tells me that it has become a central training resource for many of the world’s largest PR consultancies.  We update the How Not To Guide quarterly. [Note: scroll down on the page]

4. Pretweet.co.uk.  Thinking about Tweeting?  This tool will hack out all the annoying, cutesy, cloying phrases from your tweets.

5. Polifiller.com.  This one’s for public affairs types and politicians.  It is supported by a database of political cliches submitted by political editors and political correspondents – as well as opinion formers.  It is also based on our extensive desk research.  Run your speech through this and see if it passes the cliche test.

That’s it for now.  If you’ve found this helpful, please share the page using the buttons above.  Thanks.

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