How to Write a Memorable Phrase

One of the tricks of effective writing is coining memorable phrases.  Soundbites.  Here are some tips:

Names: Think of the New Deal, the Iron Curtain, the Evil Empire.  By giving your idea or initiative a name, you give people something to remember.

Images and Metaphors:  Look at those names again.  “New Deal” and “Iron Curtain” each incorporated an image and metaphor into the name.  People are more likely to remember words the conjure a vision in their imaginations than an abstraction.

Popular Culture:  “Evil Empire” was a reference to Star Wars, which had recently been released at the time Ronald Reagan slapped the name on the Soviet Union.  People are also more likely to remember references to popular culture if only because they know popular culture so well.

There is nothing magical about crafting language that is memorable.  The trick is having ideas and arguments that are worth remembering.

Clark Judge As Managing Director of the White House Writers Group, Clark Judge provides strategic communications counsel to clients in industries ranging from financial services to transportation to high technology.

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