Say what you mean and mean what you say!

Posted on May 23rd, 2012   |   Written by: Catherine   |  Post Categories: BusinessWriting

A few years ago while working in a busy government office, I often wrote press releases. A former journalist, I knew sending them never guaranteed a media story – they were suggestions for an article, TV news story or other media coverage. However to increase my odds of media interest, I always included one compelling reason why the public would want to know my news. More often than not, my story was picked up.

Say it quickly

For business people today looking to garner media attention, getting ones’ point across immediately is more critical than ever. In addition to reporting through conventional media channels such as print and broadcast, journalists now have the added layer of having to engage in social media. With tireless energy they report over multiple communication streams! As such they’re just too busy to wade through pages of incoming public press release text.

So if you don’t want your proposed story to end up in “the round file,” give reporters a quick, meaningful reason to print it. Also, because they’re on tight deadlines if you send them a well-written press release they may even print it verbatim.

Focus on the benefits

Copywriters know describing the benefits of a product or service attracts far more potential customers than simply making a list of its features. For example, a house’s features might include weatherproof siding, storm windows, and a chimney. But its benefits are your home will be energy efficient, you’ll save money, maintenance will be easy, and you’ll be warm when the electricity goes out. Show your reader why they need to know about your product or service.

Write it Right

According to a recent InfoWorld article, readers’ attentions spans are shrinking and visuals are preferred over text. Consider the recent surge of interest in the social platform Pinterest which is currently referring more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. As one user said, “It’s super visual and beautiful – it’s much easier to find pretty images than to say something interesting.” So be creative and interesting in your writing – but keep it brief.

Use pithy prose. First and foremost avoid circumlocution, the use of many words when one will do. For example, rather than writing “at this point in time,” use “now.” Or replace “due to the fact that,” with “because.”

Most readers are not so different from reporters. They’re busy too. Scanning information, absorbing it immediately and sending it just as fast back into the mainstream is now our modern way of doing business. And as effective business communicators, we need to share our information as clearly and concisely as possible.

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