What’s bubbling away in your business?

This morning I was thinking about blog topics for today when the boiling water in the kettle brought to mind a blog by Suzan St Maur about selling the ‘sizzle in your sausage’.

I thought of some of the press releases I receive as a journalist which often have the potential for a good story bubbling away, but never quite reach the boil.

It reminded me that when I receive a press release, I want to be excited by it. Yes, I want to understand it fast, I want it well written, I want accurate details, but above all I want to be excited enough to publish it.

In her blog, Suzan asks Do you know what you’re REALLY selling before you write about it?. Suzan’s blog comments on an article by Tsufit on ‘How To Attract New Clients in Just 30 Seconds’ which asks “If you don’t know what you’re selling, how can you sell it?”

As well as knowing what we’re selling – and Suzan’s blog covers this brilliantly – there is a danger when preparing PR material that the process takes the heat out of the story. This can happen where a press release is written, then circulated to a distribution list for comment and approval, passed by the corporate style police and perfected by committee to leave it stone cold.

But it’s not just big organisations that can freeze a story that is so hot it needs handling with oven gloves. Often we can be so engrossed in form and detail that we forget the story. It’s vital that we maintain the excitement in any story unless we want it to end up as a bedtime tale to send the reader to sleep.

That means expressing all the energy, enthusiasm and excitement of our business or product or service and the reason we love what we do. If we can get all this across, we can excite journalists and editors, and, in turn, their readers.

Thank you to Suzan and Tsufit for bringing me to the boil!

What is bubbling away in your business?

When you need information from busy people, tap into their enthusiasm

When you need information to be able to do a job but someone is too busy to give it to you or just never gets round to doing it, try tapping into their enthusiasm.

People love talking about their likes and are pleased to have a keen listener, so try to catch them over a cup of tea or a drink for five minutes and ask them about activities they like talking about. Take a genuine interest and ask them questions so that they talk about what you need to know.

Instead of making them sit down to spend time thinking when they don’t want to, you’ll be conducting an informal, enjoyable interview to achieve the same result.

They will feel good because they’ve had an opportunity to talk about what they do to someone who wants to listen to them and because you’ve got rid of one more task for them. You will feel good because you have the information you need and can get on with your job.

What’s more, it’ll promote better understanding in your organisation, because you’ll both know a little bit more about what you do.

Try it to see if it works.

Action can make writing more interesting

When proofreading a number of large corporate documents recently, I realised how dull the writing can be. Just because someone is a specialist in a subject, it doesn’t always follow that they are good at communicating enthusiasm about this to other people.

One of the main problems is when the writing style is ‘passive’; by this I mean the practice of saying “something was done” rather than “something happened”. The opposite style is ‘active’, e.g. “I run”, “they started”. This style is far more energetic and gives vitality to writing.

It is remarkable what a difference this can make to a document, especially if it is a long one. Look out for this next time you read a long corporate report, especially if you find your eyes drooping in boredom. Also, bear it in mind when you write such documents – your readers will thank you and your writing will probably be more effective.

Robert Zarywacz

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