A few simple words
When it comes to getting your message across, why short and simple is usually the best way.
You may have a very detailed knowledge of your product or the information you wish to present. But writing a press release or a White Paper that is lengthy and filled with technical jargon is not the best way to communicate with people who are not so knowledgeable and need to be convinced.
Newspapers regularly commission reviews of how people read their papers. In one such review, a test group of readers were asked to rule off at the point where they stopped reading each story. The results were enlightening. Most stories got a cursory read of the introductory paragraph. Stories that readers were interested in were still only read to the end of the second or the third paragraph. Few articles were read in full.
This has important implications for any means of communication. Most people are time poor and want information conveyed to them in a succinct and interesting way, or they will not read on. So, your press release, White Paper or, indeed, even blog post, needs to consider this. But how do you condense all the information you want to communicate?
Here are a few ways you may wish to try
First, write down absolutely everything you really want to say, using all the technical language and expert knowledge you have. From this, extract perhaps ten ideas that encapsulate your main points. Then convert these points into three paragraphs, then into one paragraph and, finally, into one line.
Now you have an idea about the aim of your piece and the most succinct way to write it. You can use the bullet points and the condensed paragraphs to build your article, top-loading it with the really important ideas.
When you have finished, read through what you have written and try to cut out the repetition. Many people fall into the trap of explaining the same idea in several different ways, just to force the point home. Pick the best way and cut the rest.
Make sure you read through carefully to avoid grammar and spelling mistakes. Print out a hard copy of the text, as mistakes are harder to spot on screen. Watch out for missed or extra words or letters. Often you know so well what you are trying to say that your brain tricks you into reading words that are not there or it reads over the double use of words such as “the the”.
Finally, get someone else to read it through objectively. They can spot mistakes, repetition or even question you about meaning. If they understand what you have written and get the point you are trying to make, then you are on the right track.
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