Rewrap the Banana
Create innovative editorial formats
by Ann Wylie, president, Wylie Communications Inc.
We know that our audience members need to get each message at least seven times before it gets through. But if you present those messages in the same dreary way, time after time, you can bore readers to death before our key points have a chance to soak through.
Remember, “same-old” doesn’t sell. But creative editorial formats allow us to “rewrap the banana,” or present our information in fresh ways that keep readers coming back for more. Try:
Letting people stand for your point.
People like to read about people, so you should humanize your stories whenever possible to get and hold reader interest. That means more profiles, more human-interest leads, more roundups of people, more entire issues devoted to telling the story of your organization through the eyes of its people.
Twisting a service piece.
Service pieces — stories that promise such things as “Six Ways to Double Your Income” — increase the value of your publication by helping readers improve some aspect of their lives. But as valuable as service pieces are, if you run them page after page, issue after issue, your readers’ eyes will glaze over.
Search for fresh approaches to getting service journalism into your publication. Try a story followed by a quiz readers can fill out to get continuing-education credits; a “reader makeover,” where experts help readers solve a problem; or a “don’t” article, where you communicate the right way to do something by demonstrating the wrong way.
With dramatic narratives, you show the reader the drama inherent in the story — the successes and failures, the life-and-death situations, the people working together toward big breakthroughs. That will help you rev up readership much more than relying on the same old, boring announcements. Chronological stories or case studies are two ways to get more narratives into your publication.
Graphic stories look great and attract readers raised on television. During my seminars, I review lots of examples of graphic stories you can use in your publication. But briefly, you can get started with flow charts, lists and infographics.
About the author
Ann Wylie runs a company called Wylie Communications Inc. Ann works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. To learn more about her training, consulting or writing and editing services, call Ann at 816/997-8753 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get a FREE subscription to Ann’s email newsletter.
Copyright © 2002 Ann Wylie. All rights reserved.
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