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Monday, May 21, 2012

How Math Makes Better Writers

The goal of any press release is to have it published so the topic or information can be circulated.  Surprisingly enough, article writing can greatly benefit from math.

The inverted triangle, while it is a geometry figure, is also an excellent guide to writing a press release with a great chance of getting published.  In news writing, information must be conveyed as quickly and efficiently as possible.  The inverted triangle illustrates the application of this principle: at the top it is wide and narrows to a point at the bottom.  In the same way, article writing for publication is most successful when the beginning deals with a broad overview of the information that will follow, and ends with the more specific details.

The beginning of the piece can be viewed as the topic sentence, containing all the information the reader will need.  If the reader were to read no further than the first sentence or two, they would still understand the general idea of the article.

The challenge in article writing is to give the reader the most pertinent information first, while still whetting their appetite to read more—to lure the reader into reading the full press release.  This can be accomplished by making the first sentence snappy through active verbs, vibrant word pictures, or through sophisticated sentence structures.

Successful publication also entails article writing which requires as little editing as possible.  The inverted triangle accomplishes this because the editor can identify very quickly if the press release matches the needs of the media outlet, and the tapering down to details allows the editor to trim the piece to fit the allotted space without sacrificing readability. 

In addition to this, the piece must avoid first-person pronouns and maintain a neutral bias—the style must sound more like a news report and not like a promotional piece.  To make the piece lively without showing partiality, quotes from relevant sources can be included.  These quotes should be brief—no more than a sentence or two—and approved by the source prior to submission.

Following these guidelines will not guarantee publication, but they will guarantee a well-written, professional piece.  In writing, a little triangle goes a long way!

Authored by ArticleWriteUp.com Writer: Fletcher H.
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