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43 ideas on how to write and communicate better (22 Sep 08)

… that delegates got from us. Maybe some will help you too…

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night saying, “Am I wasting my time? Does my work ever achieve anything?”

I certainly do. So to cheer myself up, I went through our postbag – and felt better in no time!

Because here are just 43 of the ideas delegates say they got from us.

There are hints, tips and general advice on how to make your writing get better results - in a newsletter, a leaflet, a poster or an email. I’ve put them under different headings, so if you’re ever stuck for ideas, you know where to look.

First: planning. This is always the most overlooked part. Here’s what our delegates said:

1. Take time to plan what you are going to write about
2. Using mind maps is good because they help you group your stories under different topics you want to cover
3. Look at how newspapers go about writing and laying out their articles. Newspapers, particularly the tabloids, are absolute masters at this because they live or die on attracting readers and keeping them interested.

Research is essential – and copying is good:

4. Look at newsletters from other organisations and pick out articles you like
5. Study them and decide why you think they are good. This will clarify your thinking about what works, and why, when you’re evaluating your own ideas
6. Try to incorporate the ideas or approaches you like into your own articles. If you see an interesting article in a newspaper always add it to your collection
7. Go to the local newsagents. Ask for a breakdown of what newspapers your residents actually read. Then buy them and see why they appeal.
8. Talk to your readers and find out what things concern them. Do it regularly, as topics of interest change

Now on to thinking about who you are writing for - your readers:

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