Throughout our academic and professional careers we have faced expected length requirements for our written work. Whether it was the two-page, double-spaced paper on the Civil War we wrote as a student, or the 500-word trade show press release we are producing as a professional press release writer, word requirements are a way of writing life. Focusing on that requirement initially is a recipe for a heaping serving of bloated writing chock full of biz-blab.
What is “Biz-Blab?”
Writing for Moneywatch, Geoffrey James defines biz-blab as a bloated writing style that attempts “to position the subject being discussed as important when it’s not.” He cites the use of popular corporate and marketing phrases such as “enterprise architecture” and “critical knowledge chain” used in place of simpler phrases like “IT strategy” and “sharing data.” Sharing data may not sound as glamorous as a company that crafts, possesses, and employs a critical knowledge chain, but it is infinitely more comprehendible.
Improve Your Writing: Cut the Bloat in Your Press Release
The very nature of a press release is to draw attention to a product, event, or service. Bloated writing comes not only from the attempt to make something that isn’t important seem monumental, but because as writers we aren’t sure what to say or how to say it. While some events are more newsworthy than others, focusing on these strategies will cut the bloat from your press release.
- Ignore the word requirements, initially. It’s your destination, not your starting point.
- Focus on the Five W’s. Press releases mirror news stories. Journalists start with the Five W’s – who, what, where, when, why – and so should you.
- Do not underestimate the power of a preliminary outline. Rather than trying to fake importance with wordiness, an initial outline focuses and guides your attention to the most significant aspects of your piece. Be ruthless in ranking your topics. Start with those that are critically important to the items that are merely nice to know, and therefore, optional.
- Bring sparkle to your writing with action verbs, specific nouns and creative adjectives. As you write and revise, look for words that are generic, boring, and repetitious. Work with surgical accuracy to cut those dead words from your writing and replace them with fresh alternatives.
- Employ industry jargon without overdoing it. Every industry has keywords that are well known and important. Don’t be afraid to use these them, but do not try to outdo every writer who has come before.
- Actively revise your work and eliminate repetition. Your writing should be laser sharp and straight to the point. Readers do not have time or patience to wade through long analogies, exceedingly wordy phrases, or repetition.
- Revisit the length requirement. Is your work too short? Insert an optional key point from your initial outline, adding value to your piece without adding redundancy.
Janet A is a middle school teacher by day, freelance writer by night. She enjoys writing informative press releases and blog posts for an adult audience in between grading never ending sets of student papers.