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Archive for March 2013

Storytelling Tips: Be Trendy

 

Storytelling Tips: Be Trendy
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Storytelling Tips on the Experience Pros Radio Show
Listen to the Radio Version

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Consultant
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Storytelling Tips: Be TrendyPeople love to know about the latest trends. And that means telling the rest of us about a trend involving what you do will help make your story interesting to the rest of us.

Better yet, tell us how we can take advantage of a trend or avoid being hurt by it. That gives us information we can act on in a beneficial way.

We’re interested in trends because they show what other people are doing that we may want to do, too. If enough people are doing it, maybe they know something we don’t.

When kids started wearing backpacks to school, there were lots of stories about that because it was a new trend. Then came the stories about what to look for when shopping for a backpack. And then came the stories about the back problems kids were having and how to avoid them.

When summer comes, you can count on stories about new grilling techniques. And new fashions, of course.

What are the current trends in college majors? If you sell insurance, are there changes in the kinds of insurance people are buying? Why? Are people buying different kinds of cars? Buying more houses? Eating out more — or less?

If you have information about an emerging trend that would be useful or interesting to the rest of us, consider using it to tell your story. If the trend affects me, I’ll probably be interested. And if it affects a lot of people, a lot of people will be interested.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

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Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archived tips.

Storytelling Tips: You’re not done writing until you’re done editing

 

Storytelling Tips: You’re not done writing until you’re done editing
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Storytelling Tips on the Experience Pros Radio Show
Listen to the Radio Version

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Consultant
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Storytelling Tips: You're not done writing until you're done editingEditing is part of writing. That means you’re not done writing until you’re done editing. And you’re not done editing until you’ve proofread what you wrote at least a couple times.

I love technology. Word processing, email, smart phones and all those other gadgets I work and play with through the day have transformed the way I do what I do. I don’t miss my old manual typewriter — or even my IBM Selectric, which I finally said goodbye to a few years ago.

But email and smart phones have turned many people into sloppy writers. And some of what I see on Facebook, Twitter and in my inbox makes me cringe. You know how you sometimes get an “are you sure?” message when you hit the delete button? Sometimes, it would be good if we got a message like that when we hit the send button. One last chance to check for errors.

Three of my pet peeves: “loose” for “lose,” “or” when the writer means “are” and “then” when the writer means “than.” You probably have your “favorites,” too.

Careless spelling and grammatical errors are the writing equivalent of showing up at the office with mismatched shoes or flashing a big smile with food stuck between your teeth. They leave a bad impression.

So, edit what you write. And editing includes proofreading.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

————-

Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archived tips.

Storytelling Tips: Quit trying to be perfect

 

Storytelling Tips: Quit trying to be perfect
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Storytelling Tips on the Experience Pros Radio Show
Listen to the Radio Version

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Consultant
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Storytelling Tips: Quit trying to be perfectDo your best. But quit trying to be perfect.

Perfect Draft Syndrome is one of the major causes of writer’s block.

Perfection’s a worthy goal. But it can get in the way of saying what you want to say. Or even saying anything at all.

When I was a reporter, it sometimes took me as long to write my lead — my opening sentence — as it did to write the rest of the story. And I wasn’t alone. Many of my colleagues had the same problem.

We told ourselves we were looking for the “perfect” lead. But we were just stuck. We had writer’s block.

If you find yourself stuck because you’re trying to make your first draft “perfect,” then you’ve fallen victim to Perfect Draft Syndrome.

There are a couple strategies I’ve found useful when I find myself stuck trying to write the “perfect” lead.

I start by asking myself this question: What do I really want to say? Then I say that. And it works most of the time.

If that doesn’t work, I sometimes skip my lead and start writing somewhere in the middle of my story. When I’m ready, I go back and write my lead. I’ve written stories where my lead was the last thing I wrote. And it was easy because by then I had said what I wanted to say. I just needed an opening paragraph summarizing what I’d said and, with luck, piquing the interest of my audience enough to get them to read it.

So, next time you find yourself stuck trying to tell your story, ask yourself if trying to be “perfect” is getting in your way. If the answer is yes, just say what you mean. And quit trying to make your first draft “perfect.” That’s what editing is for.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

————-

Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archived tips.

Storytelling Tips: If it sounds like writing, rewrite it

 

Storytelling Tips: If it sounds like writing, rewrite it
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Storytelling Tips on the Experience Pros Radio Show
Listen to the Radio Version

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Consultant
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Storytelling Tips: If it sounds like writing, rewrite itWant to improve your writing? Then listen to what you wrote. If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.

I can’t claim credit for that little pearl of wisdom. It comes from Elmore Leonard, a novelist and screenwriter who happens to be one heck of a good writer.

There’s a pretty good chance you have at least one conversation with someone every day. And most of them go just fine. You say what you want to say and, with luck, the other person is actually listening. The more interesting what you have to say is, the more likely they are to listen.

Conversation is our basic mode of communication. Interesting conversations revolve around stories. So use your writing to tell a story. And write like you talk. Make your writing conversational, particularly if you want to persuade us to buy something or believe something.

By the way, Leonard’s advice applies to speeches and presentations, too. Does your speech sound like a speech? Then you need to work on it some more. Talk to us, don’t deliver a speech.

One more piece of advice from Mr. Leonard: “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” What do people skip? Things that are too long, too predictable, too boring — or all three.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

————-

Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archived tips.

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