Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Art of Good Writing

I'm hesitating a moment before writing this because I know people that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. And when it comes to writing, I certainly live in a glass house. However, writing is such a fundamental part of public relations and marketing that improving that skill is well worth the effort. So here's a few sources of writing tips that I felt were good reminders.
  • "Does Your Writing Suck?" Expert PR Newsletter. May 2005.
    • This short article describes e-mail no-nos, but the tips apply to any medium. My favorite tips: 1. Lose the all caps. Figure you get one word in all caps per day. 2. No exclamation points - ever.
Number one is a cinch for me because I absolutely, positively hate all caps. Oh, it's fine for emphasizing the rare single word but anything beyond that is just annoying. As far as never using exclamation points, well that may be a little harsh. I happen to have a strong fondness for the exclamation point. It's my favorite piece of punctuation. I agree, however, that a little e.p. goes a long way. Using too many exclamation points makes me think someone is either on uppers or is trying too hard.
  • Plain English Campaign Site - Your messages won't be received if the audience can't understand them, so keep it simple. Best tips:
    • Keep your sentences short
    • Use active verbs
    • Choose appropriate words for your audience
    • Use positive language
These are all great tips to keep in mind when writing for any purpose.

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