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Tips for newsletter articles

It is said that public speaking is most people's number one fear. Writing articles for newsletters, is probably a close second. However, writing good articles need not be daunting. As with any skill, writing improves with practice, so the more you write, the better you become.

Here are my top ten tips for better writing:
  1. Write your articles well in advance of the due date – an article thrown together at the last minute reads like an article thrown together at the last minute – full of errors, missing information and lack of structure.
  2. Always answer the who, when, what, where and why questions.
  3. Some background information is useful.
  4. Avoid convoluted sentences, jargon and government-speak. Try to write naturally in plain English.
  5. Double check the spelling of names.
  6. Avoid name-dropping. Don’t mention people by name unless they did or said something important at the programme or event.
  7. If you have used programme evaluation sheets, use them to include some feed-back from the audience. Use one or two very descriptive quotes.
  8. If there is a website that readers can visit for more information, provide a link.
  9. Photos – try not to use photos of staff posing, especially of staff eating. Focus on the speakers, attendees and people doing something related to the programme, other than just posing or eating.
  10. And finally … Justice Brandeis said ‘There is no great writing, only great rewriting.’ Read your writing, rewrite, reread, rewrite and reread until you are satisfied with the quality and clarity of your writing. You must feel proud of everything that you write.
Anita Shaw
Deputy Programme Manager, Centre for the Book


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