Writing and layout

Capitalize on the psychological power of three in your communication

01 Jun, 2020 Marketing communication, Writing and layout

‘Two’s company, but three’s a crowd’. We have all heard that saying. And it’s true. A few years ago, when we took our 12 year-old daughter (an only child) to a nearby island for a vacation with two of her school friends for a couple of weeks, I discovered for myself that three was one too many. At various times the kids splintered into ‘two against one’ power struggles. It was a big lesson. ...

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How to write for the internet

01 Jun, 2020 PR and the internet, Writing and layout

Reflecting today's more complex issues, today’s search engine results pages can have many possible complex layouts, and users don’t always process search results sequentially. Their attention on a page tends to jump around more across the page than in the past, and has been compared to the pattern in a pinball game. A traditional pinball machine arcade game (left in the image) is a glass-covered cabinet using an angled play field with various bumpers, ...

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69 alternatives to the word “disaster”

01 Jun, 2020 Writing and layout

A wildly misused word is “disaster.” (“Crisis” is another similarly misused word, but that’s the subject of other discussions.) “Disaster” is used in the public arena to describe almost any negative situation. News media and social media use it to exaggerate, especially where images are available to dramatize. Common use of the word today is in phrases like “social media disaster,” “PR disaster,” and so on. It is also used to exaggerated effect in ...

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How to avoid causing tantrums when you change someone’s text

01 Jun, 2020 Messaging, Personal productivity, Writing and layout

One of the worst tasks in communication is to edit text contributed by a co-worker or client. The problem lies not in any difficulty in editing the words, but in dealing with people who don’t like their text changed. Whether it is a holiday article written for the staff newsletter, the draft text of a report or the body copy in a direct mail brochure, you change the words at your peril. Not so ...

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Tips for writing top marketing email subject lines

01 Jun, 2020 Marketing communication, Writing and layout

Email remains the key daily means of electronic communication in workplaces and in many marketing campaigns. Therefore, it is vital to write effective emails whether you have a captive audience such as employees or an external audience such as potential customers. The key element of an effective email is the subject line. In effect, this is the equivalent of a headline in advertising. The experts say the headline is worth 75-80% of the impact ...

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Change typeface to dramatically improve effectiveness of your printed publications

01 Jun, 2020 Writing and layout

For several years when I was a young PR pro I had my own intuitive views about the effectiveness of different typefaces used for body copy in printed publications. Unfortunately, the available literature offered no guidance on this. Then I came across a wonderful, almost unknown book that provided the answers! The key aim with printed material is to maximize reader comprehension and recall. We can then build on that foundation to influence attitudes, ...

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Use numbers to make your writing more persuasive

01 Jun, 2020 Writing and layout

Has a colleague ever said to you: “I started a writing career because I’m hopeless with numbers.”? Many communicators find it difficult to understand, use and write about numbers. Some even admit to entering a writing career so they will avoid dealing with figures. Yet figures are increasingly central to good practice. In addition to the ongoing need to write about numbers for general readers, we need to become familiar with metrics used for ...

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Telling stories pays off for you

01 Jun, 2020 Messaging, Speeches and presentations, Writing and layout

"Are you telling stories again?", your parents probably said to you when you were young, suspecting you of not being totally truthful. But metaphorical stories and anecdotes as a form of communication in the adult world are powerful. Leadership is about communication, and one of the most effective ways to communicate is to use stories to illustrate key corporate themes. Why stories? Isn’t that rather simplistic and patronizing? Isn’t that talking down to educated ...

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11 ways to protect your writing from unnecessary editing by others

01 Jun, 2020 Writing and layout

Do you get plagued by bosses who want to replace your clean, clear writing and speeches with jargon, marketing hype and mangled sentences? As communicators we have all suffered from the problem of managers, clients or others turning our words into mush. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of our work. These people not only interfere with the integrity of carefully written text, but they invariably slow down the process and outcome ...

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Headline typography that works best in printed publications

01 Jun, 2020 Writing and layout

The headline is the most important part of any piece of writing. It tells you immediately whether the content is of interest to you. Advertising guru David Ogilvy once said that on average, 5 times as many people read the headline as they do the body copy. Therefore you need to present the headline in the best way possible. Whether it is in an article, direct mail letter, advertisement, brochure or in social media, ...

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