I have blogged about her before, but EVERY PR person who cares about good writing should subscribe to Ann Wylie's newsletter.
Her most recent issue advises us to "start with the snake" when writing. For my purposes, I'll change that to start with the pig.
What I mean is this: if I were to write an article about an unexpected moment in my day today, I could talk about how I went to a class, how I arrived home before my husband and kids did from our evening activities, how I enjoyed watching DVR'd Ugly Betty in peace AND THEN I could get to the part where my husband arrived home and came running into the house to tell me there is a pig on the back porch. (this really happened)
Or I could lead with the essence of my story. Because you only have seconds to catch a reader.
But how many times in corporate life do we bury the "pig" of our story, under BORING parenthetical phrases dictated by someone in marketing. XYZ Corporation, the global leader in innovative solutions, today announced.... and mind-numbing quotes, "We are so very pleased to be leading the charge into this important and innovative industry initiative, said VP of Something Irrelevant.
I am just as guilty as the next overworked communicator in shoving this stuff out the door. But I have renewed my commitment to keeping my writing crisp. No more discussing the mundane aspects of the day when there is a pig to catch.