Print Ads.

16 Oct

Advertising is everywhere. There is literally no escaping it. In order for an ad to be successful, it has to stand out among all of the advertising clutter. It has to catch our attention and keep it while selling the product.

A great example of such an ad is this Silk ad. This is considered a product ad, which persuades the consumer to take an action or change an attitude or a behavior. In this case, it’s trying to get consumers to purchase Silk soy milk.

Although the design is simple, it’s striking. The contrast of the white milk against the blue background makes it stand out. The visual of the delicious, creamy milk pouring into the glass is appetizing, yet it also leads the eye to the text. The little hearts within the milk create interest and wonder. Is this milk heart-healthy or will you simply love the taste? They are probably meant to suggest both. Also, by including the carton in the ad, consumers will be able to better recognize the product at a grocery store.

The headline “Pour on the power to help your heart and lower your cholesterol” catches the reader’s attention and leads them to the body copy by highlighting the health benefits. The body copy addresses both features and benefits of the product while also creating a sense of urgency by implying that the sooner you buy the milk, the healthier and happier you’ll be.

The ad is concluded by the Silk logo and a tagline, which should be included in any ad. So what are some of your favorite ads? What do you think makes them successful?

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Feature Stories.

9 Oct

What makes a feature story great? Features are my favorite type of stories. They inform as well as entertain. Rather than just state the facts, they hook the reader and engage him or her in the story. One of my favorite magazines, Vogue, has always produced spot-on features, including this story over Tim Tebow.

The feature begins with a detailed description of a professional football game. This striking image helps hook the reader and peak his or her interest. I really like this strategy because it makes you feel like you’re actually in the story. The description helps to set the mood for the whole story.

The story isn’t long, only about two pages, but it does a fine job of introducing us to Tebow. The organization follows the epic poetry strategy in which the story begins in the middle of things, or in this case, during his professional career. The story then flashes back to the beginning of his life, revealing his childhood and the start of his impressive football career. The story continues to flow, revealing that there’s more to him than just football and fame. The descriptive writing brings him to life and reveals his amazing personality.

The story is concluded with a short, dramatic interview following a less than successful preseason game. Although he may not have played as well as he would have liked,  he refuses to let failure darken his spirits. The final quotes of the story illustrate just how strong and determined he is to be the best he can be.

So what are some of your favorite magazines? Do they provide such breath-taking features as Vogue?

Media Kits.

3 Oct

What does a good media kit consist of? Media kits can be very beneficial if done correctly. They provide an abundance of information to a journalist about a particular news story or event.

Stetson Creative provides a great example of a media kit promoting their GIVING FACE event. The kit is in a digital format found on the event’s website. It’s well-organized, visually appealing and provides relevant information.

The media kit consists of several components. It begins with an appealing coverage page, followed by a news release, which provides newsworthy information about the organization. Next, a fact sheet is provided, revealing the who, what, when, where and why of the event. A backgrounder follows, which supplies interesting, relevant facts about Stetson Creative and its other projects. The kit also includes information about event production, hosts, featured models and entertainment. It’s concluded by a contact page listing the GIVING FACE team.

What really stood out to me was the visual appeal of the media kit. It displays bright, dramatic colors and large fonts. Photographs are also dispersed throughout to help engage readers. It’s highly organized and well-written. The names of the event and organization are included on every page. The information provided is relevant and useful in writing a story.

So what do you think about media kits? What should they consist of? Are there any elements that you find particularly important?

News Release.

26 Sep

What makes a good news release? For anyone in the strategic communications field, they are part of everyday life.  There are several elements that can make or break a news release. A great example is found here.

This release begins with an appropriate headline that is under eight words and in present tense. It’s precise and concise and catches the reader’s attention. What makes it newsworthy are the elements of timeliness, impact and proximity.

The text begins with a proper dateline followed by the first sentence, which establishes local interest. The release follows the traditional inverted pyramid style, with the most important information first. The lead, or first paragraph, does a great job of addressing the who, what, when and where.

The following paragraphs include quotes and other facts. The writing is precise, concise and follows AP style. A boilerplate, or a background, is located at the end. Contact information is also provided as well as links to other sites.

To me, this press release has all of the right elements. It’s short, to the point and includes relevant information. But what are your thoughts about news releases? What elements do you find important?

Blog Writing.

19 Sep

Blogs have become increasingly popular. They cover just about anything you can think of. With such a wide variety, which ones get us to return or even subscribe? I’ll tell you which. The blogs that are informal, informative, entertaining and are updated often.

A great example of what a blog should be is Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman. The posts are categorized into confessions, cooking, photography, home and garden, homeschooling and entertainment. Each category provides information, tips and ideas in an informal way.

Ree’s personality really shines through her writing. She is able to engage you and make you feel like you’ve known her your whole life. She’s quirky and fun, yet intelligent. Her grammar is exceptional with occasional intentional deviations, which I think are entertaining.

Ree makes her posts more interesting by providing an abundance of photos to break up the text. These photos help keep the reader interested when the writing gets lengthy, such as in a step-by-step recipe post. She posts at least one new entry every day, which is impressive considering how hectic her life is.

The Pioneer Woman is an outstanding blog. I’ve been following her for over a year, and I’ve never been disappointed. But what are some of your favorite blogs? What keeps you coming back for more?

Web Writing.

14 Sep

What makes a good website? On a daily basis, we scroll through hundreds of web pages. What keeps us going back to certain sites is the content and the way it’s displayed. People tend to prefer attractive, organized and credible sites with attention grabbing headlines and concise writing.

One of the best to illustrate these qualities is Big Think. This site covers basically everything: arts, business, science, history and much more. It’s a great place to go to challenge your preconceived notions and recharge your mental batteries.

Stories are organized into different categories and include keywords for tags and searches. Headlines on the homepage and topic pages are meaningful, concise and grab the reader’s attention. Although some tend to be more than eight words, the majority remain short. The blurbs beneath the headline do a good job of offering insight about the story.

The articles are well written and objective. Most are concise, providing graphics and links. Content is split into information bytes with one idea per paragraph and are kept short. For the stories that are lengthy, the writers succeed at dividing them into sections and providing lists for scanning. As the stories progress, the information in them becomes less relevant. This inverted pyramid style is essential in good web writing.

Overall, Big Think is a great site that provides really interesting information in a professional way. So if you ever feel like opening up your mind, while seeing some exceptional web writing, check it out! But what are some of your favorite sites? What are their writing styles? Can you think of any that display those similar to Big Think’s?