Years ago I was working at Maclean’s magazine and writing primarily for The People Page. The items on the page were short – about a paragraph in length and each short piece needed a strong headline.
I loved writing for The People Page. First off, it was the most-read page in the magazine and I liked the challenge of putting interesting, entertaining and informative stories into 100 words or less. And I love writing headlines. It’s not as easy as you think to be smart and witty in five words and describe the article.
Fast forward to now. Social media demands short, snappy and interesting pieces. All those late nights of struggling to turn a two-hour interview into a 100 words is paying off for our clients. I understand not only how to keep it short; I know why it’s important. As communicators, we only have seconds to capture someone’s attention and we’re competing with a lot of “stuff” for that attention. Knowing your audience is key, understanding what your objectives are is important and seeing the world in one-sentence connections is valuable.
It is a different approach to communication and one that we, as communicators, need to understand and to deliver.