Write like a newspaper editor

I’m indebted to Property Academy Mastermind Member Brian Farrell of Metropix who shared with me a piece of research that highlighted only 10% of words are remembered after 72 hours, whereas this increases to 65% if you add a picture.


So a question, are you adding enough pictures to your communications, and in particular everyday ones such as email and text? If your answer is “no” there’s a valuable lesson to be learned from newspapers and tabloid newspapers in particular.

There is a very good reason why newspapers by and large all follow the same format. Each story has a headline, a picture, a sub-headline and then the story is summarised in the first paragraph with content added later. This is for the readers’ benefit as they can quickly determine if the story is one of interest, then decide to read a little about it and then go on to greater detail if it’s something that really grabs them. There is also a benefit for the newspaper as it makes editing easier. If a story needs to be shortened due to lack of space that day then the last paragraph or two can be cut without impacting on the rest of the piece.

Of course this approach requires a little more time and care, the photos or pictures need to be sourced, the headlines need to be crafted and the copy carefully written and edited – as Blaise Pascal put it:  “Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.”  (“I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”) But surely this effort is worth it if the effect is to increase retention by 55%?

And talking of words here’s a little bonus for you as this is the last four-i of 2015 – I just love this video which uses words very effectively, as you’d expect as it’s by a firm of copywriters.

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