Writing and layout

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

01 Jun, 2020 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, supported by its joint venture partner, UK-based Pilkington Group, who were top of their field internationally. The prospects of success ...

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Quick tests to check your readability

01 Jun, 2020 PR measurement, Writing and layout

Key measures of your writing quality include reader understanding and recall of your message. One of the ways to facilitate maximizing comprehension and recall is to write in easily understandable language. You can conduct many tests to find out how clearly you are writing and how well your audience understands your messages. Most of the tests are short, simple and no-cost or low-cost to run. So there’s no excuse for not doing them! And ...

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How to improve marketing headlines in minutes

01 Jun, 2020 Marketing communication, Writing and layout

Headline writing is an art, right? No it's not. But you can't be vague. So how would you define vague headlines? Vague headlines have terms like this: Does your office have workplace stress? So what's vague about that headline? Well for one, what's the meaning of stress? The word 'stress' doesn't trigger off any specifics in my brain. Intellectually, I can work out what stress means, but if you get specific, then I know ...

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Headlines in printed publications – use any color as long as it’s black!

01 Jun, 2020 Writing and layout

Innovative design features like colored headlines make printed publications more attractive visually. But do such features improve reader comprehension and recall - which are the key measures to consider? After all, there is no point in introducing nice design features if readers can't understand the information presented. So how can we find the answer? Using colored text for headlines is appealing because color is a magnet to the eye and creates a feeling of ...

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Add a ‘P.S.’ for more impact with marketing emails and letters

01 Jun, 2020 Marketing communication, Writing and layout

Adding a ‘P.S.’ to a direct mail letter or email is a powerful way to reinforce the impact. The P.S. is one of the most important elements in a persuasive document, so don't underestimate its value. ‘P.S.’ or ‘PS’ comes from the Latin ‘post scriptum,’ which means "written after." A postscript is writing added after the main body of a letter or other block of text. Some clients of copywriters say they don’t want ...

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Optimize use of your most important messages

01 Jun, 2020 PR measurement, PR planning, strategy, budgeting, Writing and layout

Communicators are always under pressure to produce results despite limited resources. For instance, Trisha, a subscriber to my newsletter, Cutting Edge PR e-News, emailed me last week to ask my advice on this. There is no easy way around this issue. With a given budget, the best a communicator can do is to make the most effective use of available resources. One way to do this is to tightly target your information material. Content ...

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Interesting facts make web pages compelling

01 Jun, 2020 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 ...

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How effective is printing colored text on white paper?

01 Jun, 2020 Writing and layout

Creative people like to explore alternatives to printing plain old black text on white paper. But does colored body text pass the ultimate test – do readers have a high rate of comprehension of the text? Colin Wheildon, editor of the largest Australian motoring publication, wanted the answers to this because he knew that readership and reader comprehension levels would be affected. With one million readers, he wanted to maximize the effectiveness of his ...

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How to speed up approvals of your draft material

01 Jun, 2020 Personal productivity, Writing and layout

Communicators commonly say one of their most difficult tasks is to gain approval from managers for draft text and printers’ proofs. Some communicators even find that text approvals are the longest part of the production process. There are several ways you can reduce the risk of delays in obtaining approvals – most of these ways involve communication! These principles apply as much to consultants dealing with clients as to internally based communicators. When I ...

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Simple techniques for writing strong headlines

01 Jun, 2020 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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