October 17, 2017

Alphabet scoop

Create memorable acronyms

I know: Acronyms can make your copy harder to read. After all, it’s hard for readers to follow your train of thought when they’re drowning in alphabet soup.

Alphabet scoop

Avoid alphabet soup Group key ideas into ‘nuggets of distinction.’ Image by Christy Ash

But acronyms can also make your copy easier to read and remember, writes Jack Napoli, if you use them to group your key ideas “into nuggets of distinction.”

MARC, for instance, is easier to remember than Mid-America Regional Council. It’s also easier to remember than an acronym that doesn’t spell out a pronounceable word — Midwestern Regional Council, or MRC, for instance.

“Can the audience recall your message 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 martinis later?” Napoli asks. To help your audience members, he suggests keeping your memorable acronyms:

  • Short: three to six characters long
  • Meaningful: Make sure the acronym compliments the subject matter.
  • Repeatable: easy to say and remember

Napoli sells the idea of using memorable acronyms to create sticky messages in his excellent post, but he doesn’t offer any how-to’s. Here’s one approach for turning a list into a mnemonic device to help readers remember your key points:

  • List the words you want to include. You might need to find potential substitutes.
  • Type the first letter of each word into the online anagram server box.
  • Click “get anagrams.”

The result: a meaningful acronym that helps readers codify and remember your big ideas.

  • Master the Art of the Storyteller

    My husband likes to quote Anonymous, who said: “If a man speaks in the forest, and no woman is there to hear him, is he still wrong?”

    The corporate communication writer’s corollary: If you cover your terribly serious and important stories, and nobody pays attention, does your message still make a sound?

    In this creative-writing workshop, you’ll learn how to write copy that grabs attention, keeps it longer, communicates more clearly, enhances credibility and is more likely to go viral. You’ll walk away with techniques — not just what to do, but how — for painting pictures in your audience members’ minds so they understand your points faster, enjoy your information more and remember it longer.

    At Portland creative writing workshopMaster the Art of the Storyteller — a two-day creative writing master class on July 25-26, 2018 in Portland — you’ll learn how to bring your messages to life with storytelling, wordplay and metaphor. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

    • Grab Attention With Feature Stories: Craft creative leads and kickers.
    • Make Your Copy More Colorful: Engage readers with fun facts, juicy details.
    • Play With Your Words: Spice up your headlines, leads and sound bites with wordplay.
    • Master the Art of the Storyteller: Tap ‘the most powerful form of human communication’.
    • Add Meaning With Metaphor: Clarify complex concepts with analogy.
    • Edit, write, repeat: Bring your laptop and a story to work on, write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece.

    Learn more about the Master Class.

    Register for Master the Art of Storytelling Workshop in Portland

    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

    Would you like to hold an in-house Make Your Copy More Creative workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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