August 19, 2017

Squeeze juicy details

Compress fascinating facts into a creative passage

One of my favorite literary devices is compression of details.

Compress fascinating facts into a creative passage

Fresh squeezed A day without wordplay is like a day without sunshine. Image by Paul Downey

Like squeezing together a lump of coal to make a diamond, compression of details condenses fascinating facts into a passage that’s more than the sum of its parts.

One writer used that approach for this lead for a press release for H&R Block by Fleishman-Hillard/Kansas City:

“Most 8- to 11-year-olds would rather go to school year-round than pay a nickel of ‘allowance tax.’ But pit that nickel against Nickelodeon, and they’d gladly fork it over to protect their tube time. They also imagine Batman would pay more income tax than either Superman or Spiderman.”

To compress details:

  • List your most powerful details.
  • Squeeze them together into a paragraph or two.
  • Polish them to incorporate other rhetorical devices.

It’s so easy, it almost feels like cheating!

  • Master the Anatomy of a News Release

    Tap current best practices, from lead to boilerplate

    Prose is architecture, Ernest Hemingway famously said. It’s not interior design.

    So: Are you building a compelling foundation for your media relations pieces? Or are you still using structural techniques you learned when you were 19?

    NOT Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing Master Class in Chicago At NOT Your Father's PR Piece — a two-day PR-writing Master Class on May 18-19 in Chicago — you’ll learn to use a structure that’s been proven in the lab to grab readers’ attention, keep it for the long haul and leave a lasting impression.

    Specifically, you'll learn how to:

    • Decide between triangles, boxes or lists: Choose a structure that increases readership, engagement and sharing. (Hint: The structure you’re using now is probably doing the opposite.)
    • Steal a trick from The New York Times: Trade in your bloated fact packs for snappy synthesis leads.
    • Build a better benefits lead with our fill-in-the-blanks approach.
    • Avoid PR 101 leads: Still stuffing all those W’s and the H into the first paragraph? Still writing “XYZ Company today announces that …”? It’s time to move on to a more effective approach.
    • Beat the boilerplate blues: Here’s one way to stay off The Bad Pitch Blog.

    Learn more about the Master Class.

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    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

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