Archive | September, 2012

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?