PR Tips | Avoid Beercan Prose

PR Tips | Avoid Beercan Prose

Avoid beercan prose, especially if you’re writing content intended for publication in the news.

Do you know what beercan prose is? Of course not. That’s because the word “beercan” tells you nothing. It’s an ambiguous description that doesn’t convey any real meaning. So an easy way to make your writing more clear — and newspaper-worthy — is to avoid littering it with beercans.

Let’s look at some beercan sentences and how they might be cleaned up.

Beercan Sentence #1: “Jane seemed sad throughout her presentation.”

At first, this might seem like a relatively informative sentence. But, in fact, it’s just the journalist’s perception. It tells us nothing about what Jane was actually feeling or doing. What does it mean to “seem sad?” Maybe Jane was angry or distracted, and the reporter perceived it as sadness. Maybe other people in the room thought Jane was nervous.

Here’s a better way to put it. “Throughout her presentation, Jane sweated profusely and fingered her worry beads.” This is a statement of fact. Readers can decide for themselves what emotions Jane was feeling.

Beercan Sentence #2: “Aaron spent the night at a posh hotel.”

Again, this sentence seems to convey accurate information because we have an image in our own heads of what constitutes a “posh hotel.” But a fancy hotel for Aaron might be a flophouse for someone else.

Here’s a more informative sentence: “Aaron spent Tuesday night at the $8-per-hour Trucker’s Inn.” Readers can decide for themselves whether Aaron spent the night at a “posh” hotel.

Sam Ryan