Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Write less, spend less in editorial

There's an interesting piece in Folio magazine about how to save money in editorial.
In brief, the idea is to be brief.
"Readers, however passionate, rarely have time to wade through long features and lengthy special reports—the stuff that magazines used to be made of. Today they want less, not more, from magazines," according to John Brady, a magazine consultant.
I agree with Brady's concept, but wish he'd said a little more (no pun intended.)
Look -- if there's one thing I know it's that B2B writers tend to write too much. I can't remember -- or perhaps prefer not to remember -- how many times I've suffered through wordy lead graphs that don't pertain to the story. I'd be hard-pressed to name 10 B2B publications that aren't littered with strained metaphors, unneeded transitional sentences and multiple, ill-chosen adjectives. Yet I'd also be hard-pressed to name a single publisher who wouldn't prefer larger numbers of short stories to fewer numbers of long ones.
So why are things such a mess?
B2B writers are often stuck in a trade-magazine style of insipid, wordy prose. The reasons for this are multiple: lack of training, a perceived need to fill a news hole, self-identifying as a writer instead of as a reporter, ego and pretension, etc.
The way to get an editorial staff to write fewer words is to teach them to write better words.
For more about concise writing, click here.

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