Madeline Johnson

Ten Useful Tips for Writing Compelling Stories

Owned Media, press release writing, Star Powered PR, Storytelling, Uncatergorized
Madeline Johnson

Ten Useful Tips for Writing Compelling Stories

Clear story-telling and language is at the heart of good journalism. Want help telling your brand’s stories? Whether you’re sharing a new blog post, writing an article or crafting a simple tweet; following journalist style guides can make all the difference in engagement and entertainment.

Here are a few useful tips to get you started.

1. Start with a strong lead paragraph and finish with a compelling close.

2. Remember to answer the questions Who? What? Where? When?Why –  should the reader even care?

3. Write in the third-person – news style for briefs and most articles (remember – them, they, those, etc.)

4. Avoid the less formal second-person ‘you’.

5. Use a clear, logical order when writing.

6. Use action verbs and try to avoid the past tense.

7. Use plain language and briefly define technical terms. No industry jargon.

8. Do not describe your story as good, bad or shocking. Let the reader/viewer decide.

9. Include brief anecdotes or case studies to illustrate key points.

10. Add credibility by adding important studies, statistics and updates on trends.

Stuck on grammar? AP offers Lingofy by Tansa Systems which will check your writing

National Geographic offers tips at

Need helping writing and sharing your stories?  Feel free to contact us today.

The Who, What, When, Where and Why of News Coverage

building brand trust, press release writing, Star Powered PR, Uncatergorized

A few tips today on how to share your company news with the media.

State the Facts

Unless you’re going to send a “press release” out over PR Newswire, Marketwire or PR Web, you can skip the “formal formatting” of the traditional press release all together, with the exception of answering the who, what, where, when and why in the first two sentences of your copy. This is pretty much about all anyone is going to read anyway.

 Humble Art Thou

News announcements, fact sheets, marketing copy and web content should be void of mushy puffery. Even if you are truly amazing (which you probably are) – stay away from using aspiring adjectives like legendary, great, visionary, innovative, outstanding, leading, celebratory, famous, renowned, prestigious and world-class.

Oh, and don’t go making any exaggerated claims.


Reporters need to know just how new this “news” that you are sharing really is. Avoid relative time references, like “recently” or “lately”, while steering clear of compound suffixes such as pre- and post.

Quotes? Really? Why?

Skip the quotes altogether. If a reporter finds your story intriguing, they’ll interview the proper sources and scoop up their own quotes.

How long?

Keep it to 400 words or less and your boilerplate down to two sentences. Lead the reader to your website for more information. Leave them wanting more.

Where to Share

Follow our lead and take a short cut first. Begin by approaching the journalists who are most likely going to be interested in your company.  If you are a new business, take a look at the coverage your competition has received and contact those TV, magazine, newspaper and online journalists/reporters first.

A Note About Declarations of Nothingness

You actually build trust with your reader when you avoid overused or trite phrases like –”easy-to-use”, “robust”, “
”intelligent”, “

”low-cost”, and “seamless”.

Don’t make declarations of vague nothingness with unsupported attributions. For example forget about using phrases like “widely-thought”, “research has shown”, “experts declare” and “it has been proven.”

Do not appear to be more notable than you can prove. Try to use common sense – do not use phrases that lack precision.  And finally, avoid using clichés and idioms, i.e. “tip of the iceberg”, “above-board” and “all ears”.

If your company news and story is that newsworthy than the facts should attract the coverage you deserve.