Presentation on theme: "4-H –The Write Stuff Better writing and communication skills to get the 4-H message out there Lorna Norwood, Patricia McDaniels, Chuck Denney."— Presentation transcript:
4-H –The Write Stuff Better writing and communication skills to get the 4-H message out there Lorna Norwood, Patricia McDaniels, Chuck Denney
Know thy audience You write to reach an audience, but who specifically? 4-H kids and volunteers Media General public Community leaders and decision makers Colleagues and administrators Others
Rough out your message Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Follow a template or update an old file. Sources include: UT Extension Marketing Resources site: UTIA news releases site: The Web Packet site: Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Follow a template or update an old file. Sources include: UT Extension Marketing Resources site: UTIA news releases site: The Web Packet site:
More roughing it Roughing it includes knowing the 5 W’s – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How? The order matters – most important first. Other aspects by order of importance. Include messages tailored for specific audiences.
How to write a new story Pick a good topic – newsworthy, interesting and shows 4-H having an impact. Interview people – do research. Gather all info, then narrow down focus – ask what’s the point? Never bury the lead. Write an outline, then first draft.
More tips to improve your story Make it conversational. Don’t use stiff wording, but write like you talk. However, no slang dawg. Keep copy concise and to-the-point. Use attribution. Says who? Don’t lead with a quotation or question – makes for confusing information and trite or stupid copy. Humanize your story – make it about people.
Review and revise your message Look over your writing carefully for content, grammar and spelling Be critical – readers don’t have time to sift through bad writing For help here consult William Strunk’s The Elements of Style. The Elements of Style. Online version: english.com english.comhttp://www.write-better- english.com
After you review, review again Let the draft sit for a while – 24 hours if possible. That means no procrastination – finish early. Read it again, aloud. How does it sound? Make necessary changes Have someone else look it over too.
Avoid the dreaded cliché A cliché is a worn-out phrase, usually a metaphor or simile, that has been weakened by abuse and overuse. Clichés are a crutch for good writing. The story itself becomes a cliché. Worth its weight in gold A picture is worth a thousand words Tastes like chicken Nose to the grindstone Backs to the wall Sounded like a freight train Only time will tell
Write the name right Identify UT Extension correctly. First reference should read “University of Tennessee Extension.” Not THE…. Use “UT Extension” from then on. Keep the “UT” in there, not just “Extension.”
Introduce people to the Power of Green Don’t assume your readers are familiar with 4-H. Use a standing message to identify programs: “4-H is the Youth Development program for University of Tennessee Extension. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship and service learning to more than 335,000 youth in grades “4-H is the Youth Development program for University of Tennessee Extension. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship and service learning to more than 335,000 youth in grades H also has more than 20,000 adult volunteers. UT Extension is one of four units in the UT Institute of Agriculture.” 4-H also has more than 20,000 adult volunteers. UT Extension is one of four units in the UT Institute of Agriculture.”
Be an Action Hero! Write with the Active voice, instead of Passive voice Passive voice is often grammatically correct, but lacks straight-forward meaning (Passive – Okay, but blah) “The ribbon was cut by 4-H volunteers. (Active – Better, easier to understand) “4-H volunteers cut the ribbon.”
Bring your story “Full Circle” “Full circle effect” – begin the story by focusing on one element, have facts and other tidbits in the middle, and then finish with the same story element from the start.
Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.’ Use quotes from 4-H’ers, other subjects to bring a story to life. 4-H’ers, other subjects to bring a story to life. Do not make up quotes. Get them from asking questions. Stories are about people, and we should hear from them. Stories are not just a chronological list of what happened.
Flip that pyramid (Trust us, it’s no scheme). Use the Inverted pyramid style of writing. The most important facts come first. Secondary facts in the body. Then close with least important facts that could be cut.
UTIA Marketing & Communications Lorna Norwood (865) (865) Patricia McDaniels (865) (865) Chuck Denney (865) (865) Please send us your story ideas!