The average time people spend viewing most stories – especially on digital platforms – is about 30 seconds, and that includes the media. When telling your story, whether it’s in an interview, a press release, or a letter to the editor, make sure your most important information is in the first paragraph. Otherwise, the media is likely to take what you wrote and toss it aside.
Here are some important tips to remember from our own storytelling guru and communications editor, Tom Hayden:
- Never start stories with prepositions. They waste words, and your first few words should carry the bulk of your value and impact.
- When conducting an interview for a story, always be prepared. Do research on the person or the subject ahead of time so that you appear knowledgeable. It also will keep the conversation flowing because you won’t get bogged down on details you should already know.
- When using quotes, they should be impactful and different from your transition paragraph into the quote. Don’t waste time or real estate by repeating words from the transition paragraph in the quote.
- Don’t overstate your narrative. If you are trying to get something published, don’t use flowery adjectives or biased language that may cause the media to roll their collective eyes. The media is quick to sense that you are trying to make something or someone seem bigger than they really are. It is best to stick with language that is descriptive, emotional and truthful, but not over the top.
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