Write It

You have genuine news to share, and you’re ready to write a release, which should answer the questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? Here are five more tips:

1. Use the active voice (the subject performs the action). Many amateur writers overuse the passive voice, which they think sounds more formal: "A charity auction will be hosted by Smith Jewelers." The active voice is stronger and generally more concise: "Smith Jewelers will host a charity auction."

2. Use action verbs (and avoid the verb "to be") "More than 100 people enjoyed the auction" is livelier than "There were more than 100 people at the auction."

3. Cut wordy phrases. Wordy (18 words): "In spite of the fact that the economy is experiencing a serious recession, Smith expects a fairly solid turnout." Concise (eight words): "Despite the recession, Smith expects a solid turnout."

4. Use mostly short, familiar words. "The auction will commence precisely at one o’clock" sounds vaguely pretentious. "The auction will start at one o’clock sharp" sounds more natural.

5. Use positive words.Negative: "Smith Jewelers can’t accept donations after Oct. 15." Positive: "Smith Jewelers can accept donations until Oct. 15.