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Expert view: Good internal comms content ‘begins with a climax’

Good internal comms content should climax at beginning

March 19, 2015

Compelling internal comms content will always start with a climax.

And I’m not talking 50 Shades of Grey – it’s about getting your key message across in the opening paragraph.

Attention spans are short – statistics suggest the average time before we get distracted is now eight seconds, one second shorter than a goldfish.

Plus, we’re all busier than ever. So when you’re trying to grab the attention of your audience, it’s important to hit the ground running, whatever the channel.

Writing internal communications content isn’t like writing a novel.

Unless its super-relevant to them, people won’t stick with you while you build up the story over several chapters.

It’s best to assume most won’t make it to the end of your piece of communication.

Read Sue’s top tips on creating IC content with true reach and impact here…

But what it does have in common with writing a novel is the need for an opening paragraph that makes them want to read on.

An intro paragraph that highlights the key points of the story will help your reader decide whether to continue.

Take a look at the writing style in any newspaper or online news channel and you’ll see what I mean.

Aim for no more than 25 words that summarise your main message.

Then read it back or test it among a few colleagues – does it make you want to read more? If not, revisit your wording.

Once you’re over this initial hurdle, remember that short can be sweet for the rest of the piece you’re writing.

In the case of a standard news story, for example, 300 words maximum is a good target, especially if it’s being published online.

Limit yourself to 800 for a feature-length article. Adding links to more information for those that want it can help you keep things brief.

Get it right and your audience will love you for it.