Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2005
When you write an article, is it all about you? Your thoughts, your insights, your opinions, your voice? Or do you include other people's voices in the form of interviews and research?
If your articles are nothing but a monologue, it's time to start adding voices.
Voices make your piece more compelling. They make you look more knowledgeable. Plus, they're visually appealing. "Readers love quotes," says Marjorie, a freelance writer. "What's more," she says, "they impart texture. No two people talk the same way."
How do you go about getting quotes? Here are some of the ways we do it at The Write Exposure:
Ask people you know. "Talk to customers, employees, and friends. Everyone likes to be quoted," reports Daniel "what-are-you-writing-about-and-can-I-be-quoted-in-it" an accountant with The Write Exposure.
Ask people you don't know. "After I've exhausted my network, I pull out the yellow pages," Marjorie says. "I just start at the top of the listings and work my way down. I always find someone to talk to before I make call number six."
Surf the Internet. "I love interviewing online," Greg, a desktop publisher, says. "It's quick and easy. You don't have to worry about misquoting someone and it enables me to interview, like, someone in Bangladesh or Australia."
Use a resource. "Lots of people like ProfNet.com, because it's online," David, a journalist, says. "But I prefer [the printed version of] The Yearbook because I can skim through it and something always catches my eye."
Ask someone else. For myself, I often find all the leads I turn up doing research lead to more leads. The trick is to end each interview with a request for another source. "Who knows almost as much about this topic as you do?" or "Who has the worst argument for why you're wrong?" often work well. Make sure you're talking to people on both sides of the issue so that your article will be well-balanced.
Quotes are the spice for your piece. The, as Marjorie said, "texture." They show you've done your research and that you're not the only one who feels a certain way. They also add visual interest. In fact, some readers only read articles with quotation marks in them. So go to the trouble to find a few extra quotes. Your reader will appreciate it.
Is it your job to increase company profits? The Write Exposure offers the resources you need to do just that at (http://www.designdoodles.com)
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