Friday, September 29, 2006

M Metzger: "Wanna Be Quoted? Try Speaking English"

Are you speaking to reporters using the same language you speak with corporate co-workers?

If so, you're lowering the odds that the reporter will quote you.


First, the reporter may not understand what you're trying to say.

Second, if the reporter uses your information, she or he will probably need to restate your comment in words that readers will understand.

If you speak in plain, yet colorful language, you're more likely to attract a reporter

In "Wanna Be Quoted? Try Speaking English," which appeared in Bacon's The Navigator, Michelle Metzger of Entrust, Inc. gives some bad and good examples of how to speak with reporters. You can learn from her advice.


Friday, September 22, 2006

"Why Some People Almost Always Write Great Post Titles"

"Why Some People Almost Always Write Great Post Titles" gives you useful hints for titling anything you may write.

Blogger Brian Clark says, "Starting off your post title with 'why' at the beginning of a declarative statement (instead of a question) is one easy way to focus in on the benefit of reading your article."

Hmm. I'm prone to titling blog posts and articles with questions. Maybe I should try things his way.

Thanks to Michael Stelzner of the Writing White Papers blog for pointing me to Clark's blog, CopyBlogger. Michael's blog is also worth reading.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Could your writing benefit from a Bullfighter?

Jargon, multisyllabic words, and long sentences can be deadly. They turn off readers faster than the stock market can crash.

Here’s an easy way to detect verbose writing. Install Bullfighter software. Personally I find the Bull Index feature most helpful.

This software, originally developed by Deloitte Consulting, will scold you if you’re using long sentences or what it has identified as buzzwords. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show you how to fix your problems. You’ll have to do the dirty work yourself.

By the way, you would have learned about this tool back in May 2006, if you subscribed to my free e-newsletter. Subscribe now to Susan Weiner's Investment Writing Update!


Friday, September 08, 2006

Catastrophic editing can save your sanity

Have you ever reached the point where you can't bear to proofread an article another time? Plus, you need to declare the article finished, or you'll miss your deadline?

That's when it's time to ask your colleague or friend to do a "catastrophic edit."

Tell her or him that it's too late for edits that are merely "nice to have." You can only make changes to outright mistakes or embarrassing flaws.

My team and I at Columbia Management Group came up with this term when we had to crank out nicely formatted investment commentary as quickly as possible.

We were all perfectionists. We could debate the location of a comma with the verve of Bostonians discussing the Red Sox. But if I said "catastrophic edits only," my team would grit their teeth and comply. That's how we consistently made our deadlines.