calvin-and-hobbes-on-writing-3

Guest blog post

by Jennigay Coetzer

A major objective when writing an article is to attract the reader’s attention and keep it throughout. To achieve this, get to the point quickly without any preamble.

Make strong statements that are clear, articulate and complete and cannot be misunderstood or interpreted in different ways by different readers.

Don’t be vague or leave gaps in the information you are writing or the reader will make his or her own assumptions as to what you meant, depending on their understanding of the topic, their background, experience, culture, personality, and other human factors.

Make sure you have not left any unanswered questions in the mind of the reader, by applying the “So what?” technique to every statement you write and ensuring this question is answered in the next sentence or two.

Understand the target audience, and consider the lowest common denominator among those who might be reading the article.

Have a conversation with the reader as you are writing your article, and try verbalising what you want to say out loud or in your mind before writing it down, instead of trying to think of the smartest words to use.

About Jennigay Coetzer:

Jennigay Coetzer is a freelance business and technology journalist with 25 years experience, and she writes regularly for Business Day. She also runs media training and writing skills workshops, and is the author of A Perfect Press Release – or Not?, a guide to writing and distributing effective press releases. She can be contacted at jennigay@icon.co.za.

 

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