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.
Perhaps the most important aspect of writing a speech is crafting a clear message. The goal of a speech isn’t to impress people with how well you can write — it’s to get across the point you are trying to make. But what is the key message? Frequently there are several. Which one do you really want to focus attention on? Which message do you want to build the most quotable soundbite around; which point do you want to build up to, and build the speech around? Read
Managing director Clark S. Judge provided advice on new media and modern political campaigns.
I was in a meeting with a nationally respected consultant to political campaigns this morning. We were talking about how the web had changed campaigns. His answer: Substance is becoming king.
“Take endorsements,” he said. “When TV drove campaigns, all you would see about newspaper editorials in campaign advertising was the banner, ‘L.A. Times or O.C. Register endorses.’ Now with the web a smart campaign takes every substantive sentence and dwells on it. The facts and detail appear in any number of posts and ads. They get DISCUSSED.”
With the web, he said, campaigns must build deep cases around their positions, marshaling facts and arguments to a degree that campaign advisors have disdained for more than a decade.
Read the full piece here.