Writing & Storytelling

The 7 Top Writing Tips You Need to Know About for 2024

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Would you like to learn more tips for reaching your readers and getting the word out? If so, then join PRSA and Ann Wylie at one of their 2024 writing classes. You’ll learn to write better headlines, leads, stories and more. Save $100 with coupon code PRSA24. APRs: Earn accreditation renewal credits.

Whatever your plans/goals/intentions are for 2024, these writing resolutions will help you achieve them:

1. Bring your personality to work.

There’s never been a better time to be human. When we can’t decide whether robots are our best friends or our greatest competitors, it’s time to counter high tech with high touch.

So how can you best bring more human intelligence to your writing?

  • Tell more stories.
  • Find a poster person.
  • Let your personal voice shine through.

It’s the only way to stand out amongst all of the chemical-vanilla-candle-scented, untouched-by-human-hands, written-by-a-robot messages out there.

2. Stop expecting readers to read.

Readers don’t read. They scan. So putting your ideas only in the paragraphs is a poor investment that’s unlikely to pay off.

This is the year to start reaching readers where their eyes are: in the headlines, decks, subheads, bullets, buttons and bold-faced lead-ins.

3. Nail your lead.

The best leads show. The worst leads tell.

The best ones focus on what the reader cares about. The worst ones focus on what the VP cares about.

The best ones provoke readers to keep reading. The worst ones provoke readers to move on to the next piece.

Which kind of leads will you write in 2024?

4. Hit your numbers.

What do these numbers have in common: 200, 60, 14, 5, 1.5 and 0?

Those are our readability metrics at Wylie Communications. We use them to write messages that are clear and easy to read and understand.

We don’t post, publish or push send without hitting them.

Make this the year your organization sets its own readability metrics. Base them on solid research about what people really can read and understand.

Then hit them.

5. Switch up your structure.

The feature-style story structure has been proven in the lab, again and again, to outperform the inverted pyramid. Top news organizations, including the Associated Press, have famously embraced the form.

Now it’s your turn. Master the feature structure in 2024. Your metrics will love you for it.

6. Take a break.

OK, I’m back.

About seven minutes ago, I noticed that my energy was slipping. My brain felt foggy, and so did my prose. So I stepped away from my desk and loaded the dishwasher. Now I am back, refreshed and ready to write.

Of all the parts of the six-part writing process, the most helpful to me is the break. When you get stuck, don’t plow through. Sometimes, stepping back is the best way to move forward.

7. Write snappy sound bites.

The median length of a quote in The New York Times is 7 words. It’s not uncommon to see quotes in news releases that are 117 words.

Stop larding on the language in executive quotes. This year, resolve to write more like the Times.

Here’s wishing you a joyful and productive 2024. May you reach more readers and get the word out this year!

Ann Wylie works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. Don’t miss a single tip: Sign up for Ann’s email newsletter here.

Copyright © 2024 Ann Wylie. All rights reserved.

[Photo: n. lawrenson/peopleimages.com]

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Ann Wylie

1 Comment

  • This was a very enjoyable and helpful read about how to make your PR writing better during 2024. I enjoyed the use of concise, short points that provide all of the information needed. There is a point in this article that mentions how readers scan instead of read now, so writers need to make their points without adding any extra material that doesn’t need to be there. I really liked how this article followed what it said to do. I also took an interest in the point that talked about writing leads for the reader so the reader will continue in their reading. Our goal is to write for the reader as PR writers, and sometimes we easily forget this. I am excited to see PR writers utilize these trends in their writing for this year, and I can’t wait to do so myself!

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