Writing and layout

Lost in translation: communicators too often overlook the importance of good translation

15 Nov, 2019 Writing and layout

  As a young PR consultant, I helped my colleagues develop promotional material in support of a client who was planning to set up a joint venture to build a glassmaking factory in China for the manufacture of ‘architectural glass’ such as windows for offices and apartments. Our client ACI was a well-established Australian company, and its joint venture partner, UK-based Pilkington Group, was top of its field internationally. The prospects of success seemed ...

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Use numbers to make your writing more persuasive

15 Nov, 2019 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 ...

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69 alternatives to the word “disaster”

15 Nov, 2019 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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Time to get excited about using better words than “excited” in your writing

15 Nov, 2019 Marketing communication, Writing and layout

Fake news! Many press releases over-excitedly announce information that has no real news value - it is in effect fake news. No wonder journalists delete most releases. PR staff are often under pressure to energize ordinary announcements and other information by hyping up the text to gain executive or client approval. However, those staffers usually haven't dug further to find any real news behind their breathless announcement, or have just gone through the motions ...

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Use metaphors as potent tools for messaging

02 Mar, 2017 Writing and layout

A metaphor is the way we consider one mental domain in terms of another – to make concepts more vivid. Effective leaders, especially politicians, are good at leading debate by encapsulating concepts in memorable metaphors that people relate to. Such metaphors are highly desirable to use in professional communication. We are all familiar with the multitude of metaphors used in business communication. For example: “We need to steer a straight course from here” or ...

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“You’ve just executed me…I’m bleeding to death here.”

01 Mar, 2017 Writing and layout

How you can write lively metaphors for more impact “You’ve just executed me…I’m bleeding to death here,” said a national senator in my country last month. Fortunately, he was speaking only metaphorically to the judge who had just declared him bankrupt. His dramatic metaphor conveyed that, under the constitution, this decision meant the end of his political career. And the news media loved the quote. But that wasn’t the end of his metaphors. The ...

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The impact of using italics for printed text

28 Feb, 2017 Writing and layout

Italic body type is rarely used for expanses of text. Some writers and editors tend to think it is difficult to read. But is it really? Firstly, a definition. Italic type is serif type that slants slightly to the right of vertical like this and has more pronounced serifs than normal serif type.The first italic type, designed by Aldus Manutius in 1501, was based on the handwriting style of that time. Use of italics ...

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Easily double the effectiveness of your publications!

02 Mar, 2015 Writing and layout

This secret of ‘reading gravity’ could dramatically improve your publication effectiveness As readers of content written in the English language, we are all taught to read a printed page by starting at the top left hand corner and working our way across each line from left to right and going down to the start of the next line at the left hand edge of the page until we reach the bottom right hand corner. ...

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Simple techniques for writing strong headlines

28 Feb, 2015 Marketing communication, Media relations, Writing and layout

These days, isn’t the need for journalistic skills fading fast? Don’t the web and social media mean news writing skills are going the way of traditional news media – dying out in front of our eyes? Actually, it's quite the opposite! Strong headlines and intros/leads (first paragraphs) are even more crucial to good writing on websites, in social media and in mobile technology. Research shows that readers these days scan text most of the ...

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Interesting facts make web pages compelling

28 Feb, 2015 PR and the internet, Writing and layout

Web design and writing expert Jakob Nielsen has unearthed many important facts from his research about website visitors. His latest study shows that users hunt for facts online, so factually rich content will attract readers and keep their attention. Here is his summary of findings: Emphasize facts There's so much corporate jargon and waffle in websites that straight talk stands out. Journalists: the ultimate fact seekers When journalists used corporate websites in the NN/g ...

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