Back to Basics: Writing Across Media


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This presentation for the Fort Worth Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators highlights the basics of writing and how that effectively translates to writing across media in today's multimedia environment.

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Back to Basics: Writing Across Media

  1. 1. Back to Basics: Writing Across Media IABC Fort Worth 2011
  2. 2. Basics of Good Writing <ul><li>Good grammar, including sentence structure for emphasis—1,2,3 slots </li></ul><ul><li>Correct tone </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate style </li></ul><ul><li>Good storytelling </li></ul>
  3. 3. What’s the story?
  4. 4. Determining Your Focus <ul><li>Some stories start with a storytelling approach—anecdote about the person; news stories usually do not </li></ul><ul><li>Each story is developed around a main point (angle) or focus </li></ul><ul><li>To determine your focus ask two questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s the story about? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How would you tell the story to a friend? </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. How would you determine focus?
  6. 6. Storytelling 101 <ul><li>The key is detailed writing; a highly descriptive approach to writing </li></ul><ul><li>Takes readers to the scene and recreates it </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on small details, which help portray the big picture </li></ul><ul><li>Describe, describe, describe—don’t analyze or conclude </li></ul>
  7. 7. The story is…
  8. 8. Tom Wolfe rules of descriptive writing <ul><li>Create scene by scene construction of events </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a full record of dialogue in the scenes—usually employed by magazines only </li></ul><ul><li>Take the third-person point of view—generally used in all journalistic writing </li></ul><ul><li>Detail descriptive incidentals—minute details of source’s life in characterizing the person </li></ul>
  9. 9. Details, details, details
  10. 10. Details, details, details
  11. 11. Text Writing Tips <ul><li>Show, Don’t Tell </li></ul><ul><li>Human Interest Is Interesting </li></ul><ul><li>Make Sure You Understand Before You Begin </li></ul><ul><li>Put Good Quotes High </li></ul><ul><li>Put Anecdotes High </li></ul><ul><li>Use Concrete Nouns and Action Verbs </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid Adjectives and Adverbs </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid Opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Answer Questions </li></ul><ul><li>A Word About Said </li></ul><ul><li>A Word About Sentence Length </li></ul><ul><li>A Word About Transitions </li></ul>
  12. 12. Broadcast Writing Tips <ul><li>Plan your questions to get good sound bites </li></ul><ul><li>Write in a conversational style </li></ul><ul><li>Read your copy aloud before recording it </li></ul><ul><li>Use short sentences; one idea per sentence </li></ul><ul><li>Use active voice—S-V-O </li></ul><ul><li>Use present tense when possible and appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>Give attribution first—tell who said what before telling what was said </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the visual impact of the story </li></ul><ul><li>Use script style of writing rather than story style </li></ul>
  13. 13. Web Writing Tips <ul><li>Determine what will be on your home page </li></ul><ul><li>Be concise with headlines and stories—think of Google (SEO) </li></ul><ul><li>Consider what multimedia elements, such as graphics, photos, audio and video, you want to include </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy for your users to find what they want </li></ul><ul><li>Determine how often you want to update the page </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget hyperlinks, discussion boards, databases and blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Interactivity is key </li></ul><ul><li>People graze on the web; don’t write in a linear style </li></ul>