Writing Tip: 5 Ways to Improve Your Message
By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
Here are some tips for improving your chances of successfully meeting that challenge.
Writing Tip #1: Tell me a story. We’re all natural story tellers. It’s how we communicate. In fact, some scientists say it’s the fundamental instrument of thought. We think in story form. So, why have I included it in these tips? As a reminder not to let the facts get in the way of your story. I’m not suggesting you play fast and loose with the truth. I’m suggesting you avoid loading your story down with so many facts that you and your audience lose sight of your story — the narrative that will help us understand and remember your message.
Writing Tip #2: Make your story about me. Make your story relevant to your audience. We want to know if you’re the person or company we want to do business with. But what we really want to know is how you’re going to help us. The more your story focuses on you, the less interested the rest of us will be. So make your story about your audience. Not about you.
Writing Tip #3: Surprise me. We’re hardwired to notice things that surprise or startle us. It’s a survival mechanism. Sometimes people think they’re supposed to use some kind of template for their news releases, blogs or other things they write. That’s a formula for making what you say blend into the background. You want your story to stand out. Get noticed. Tell us something we don’t know. Give us a new perspective on something we do know. Tell us why something we think we know is wrong and what the real facts are. Surprise us with your opening to get our attention. And tell us something that makes us say (or think) “I didn’t know that.” If you can do that, we’re more likely to remember what you said.
Writing Tip #4: Make one less point. Do you ever find yourself thinking you just need to make one more point to convince us you’re right? That’s a good way to let the facts get in the way of your story. Most of the time you’ll be better off making one less point. It’s called editing. Take a look at what you’ve written. What can you take out? Keep your story simple. It’ll be easier to understand. And easier to remember.
Writing Tip #5: See Tip #4.
We all have stories to tell. Do you need help telling yours?
Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist who helps clients get their stories heard, understood and remembered. Need help telling your story? You can reach Jerry at 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.