After developing a compelling story idea, good writing often makes the difference between an article that makes the media and one that disappears. Here are some tips from our internal writing workshop.
- Start with the end in mind
You have to have a clear goal for each piece that you write. What effect do you want this piece to have on the reader? Is it to make them do something, like sign up for a mailing list or attend an event? Whatever your ultimate goal, have it front of mind throughout the writing process.
- Visuals are important
The first things that a reader or journalist will see of your piece is your headline and the pictures you use. The eye is naturally drawn to colour and bold headlines, so it is crucial that these are original and good quality. In newspapers and magazines, people read headlines, photo captions and the first one or two sentences of articles.
- Be straightforward
You need to write in a way that people will be able to understand. Avoid overly complicated language and be as clear as possible. You can still be engaging without being unnecessarily fancy. Alongside your goal, have your audience in your mind when you write, and use language appropriate to them.
- Know your angle
Whether you are writing about a current news topic or something more specialist, it is important to develop your own angle before you try and interest journalists. This is especially true if you are commenting on a breaking news story. You must have an interesting take on the subject to differentiate your article from the competition’s.
- Do your research
In order to write with authority, do your research. Be up to date on the latest information about your subject so that you can deliver information in context. You need to stay current with the news to do this. Conduct interviews with people who are specialists in the subject, or were present and have a first-hand account of what you are writing about. You can also conduct surveys to generate new information.
- Don’t forget technique
There are a number of writing techniques you can use to add life to your article, such as using alliteration, metaphors and three-part-lists. Strong comparisons and contrasts will paint a clear picture of the subject in the mind of the reader. Combining lists with repetition can create a build-up of excitement and deliver impact, especially if you happen to be writing a speech or presentation but that’s a writing genre for another occasion.