We live in the era of the sleep-deprived and news hungry, and in a time where the skill of effective newswriting is both recognised and lucrative. But writing properly structured articles that can educate, inform, and entertain is not easy.
Billions of webpages spew out content that is poorly written and unimaginative, and that turns readers 'off' from the very first sentence, making it clear that the divide between AI-generated style content and skilled professional newswriting is growing more and more cavernous by the day.
Sure, audiences reward those with unique resources that are in-depth and timely. They'll also devour your evergreen whitepapers, checklists and tipsheets that they can use as references and guides in their own endeavours. But most of all, audiences love a good story written well – and you can’t look past trained journalists when learning the mastery behind effective storytelling.
Journalists get intensive training in creating content that hooks their readers and viewers from the first sentence uttered, and by following their lead, you too can apply these skills to your own content to help engage your audiences. Here are our top five tips that you can use to boost your newswriting skills like a pro.
The facts in a news article are the story you wish to tell your audience. You should always aim to sum up your story in around 25 to 30 words at the beginning of the article. The introduction grabs the reader's attention and compels them to keep reading. The headlines and the lead sentences should be kept brief and tease out the essence of your story, and urge the reader to want to know more.
Skimming is common for news articles. Once you grab the readers' attention, you need to keep them reading by giving them the information they are looking for as quickly as possible. The first few sentences should show them what they will get by reading the content. Therefore, they should include the whole piece's what, who, why, when, and how.
People have varying interests, so you should always aim to have a good understanding of who your audience is and where their interests lie. That way you know whether you need to craft the latest political polls, new health treatment, or how the weather is changing.
By placing a human face in your story, you're able to better connect with them and draw them to your piece. You can sustain the connection to the end by offering them up new facts and generally communicating things they would like to know about.
Making a connection and building trust with your audience is ONLY possible by keeping your content honest and keeping it real. While others may stray from the facts in an effort to hook the reader, don't be tempted to do this yourself. Sure, the old adage says..."Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story." But, more often than not, the practice results in alienating your audience and losing trust from those who read such pieces.
Sure, from time to time you'll make mistakes by either missing the correct name or date, but never, ever lie in your content. You want to sound knowledgeable and professional, and be recognised as a credible source for real stories. As such, before writing any content, do your homework and confirm that what you want to write is, in fact, true.
It is not easy for most people to spot their own mistakes, especially in writing. That's because the brain has the idea of what you want to write and reads what's in your head, instead of what's projected on the page. Not only that but the brain works in curious ways, tending to read in words rather than letters. That means, if the first and last letters are correct, we will read them correctly - even when the word is misspelled.
Therefore, it is always wise to have all your content screened by a colleague or third party, before hitting 'Publish' on your latest post.
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