3 ways to punch up your writing

Journalists often complain that press releases are poorly written. Here are three ways to ensure your prose survives the newsroom gauntlet.

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Many news releases, email pitches and contributed articles suffer from three flaws: flabby prose, bloated and vague lead paragraphs and lack of specific details.

Here are quick fixes for each:

1. Keep headlines short and specific. “Many headlines are too long (two complete lines) and name things that aren’t easily recognizable,” says O’Quinn.

 

For example, one company’s recent headline referred to “acoustic filters” but was really just talking about sophisticated new earplugs.

How do you keep your headlines short and specific? “Eliminate jargon, adjectives, adverbs and excessive prepositions,” O’Quinn says. “Also, try to include a verb. You don’t need one, but it can spark your headline.”

He offers these two examples:

Pirated CDs Online Deal Another Blow to Music Industry

 

Talent War Rages in Auto Industry

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