But Hyperbole is my friend – SCN Encourager 5/14/2013

Hyperbole… always there for you in a pinch.

As a school communicator, one of my regular tasks is to “invite” the media to cover the many achievements in our district and remind them of our special events. Since using outright bribes are out of the question (Board policy 46783-A), I often call on a friend for help.

His name is Hyperbole.

You probably know him, too. He’s pretty good at getting around – particularly now. On any day – at any time – you’ll see him ramped up and featured in nearly every headline in social media.

He’s tireless. How he can “work his magic” on the covers of the supermarket tabloids while simultaneously squeezing in frequent appearances on Facebook and YouTube is beyond me. (as most things are…)

I’ve always considered Hyperbole a friend I could count on. Despite the long list of friends constantly relying on him, whatever communications clutter rolls my way, he’s always there to help me cut through it. Boring words and phrases aren’t sharp enough.

But some people are saying Hyperbole is bad company. (not preferred…)

In a recent survey of more than 500 journalists published on the “Content Factory” website, journalists were asked how PR pros and communicators could improve their press releases and media alerts. The journalists singled out my friend Hyperbole. (not preferred…)

Although school communicators would never talk about how people in the media should do their jobs,, I thought I’d read the survey anyway. Could be revealing. If certain words bug them, I’d want to know, as sensitivity is one of my strong points.

The journalists generated a fair list words they’d like us “to avoid” in the future.

They don’t like it when we use the word “dynamic.” They prefer we call something “interesting.”

For “hotly anticipated,” they say substitute “upcoming.”

They’re sick of seeing “end user.” How ’bout “customer” or “student” or “parent?”

“Icon” or “iconic” – boo!  “Popular” or “well known” – yay!

The vagueness of the word “deliverables” drives them batty. The journalists like specifics. They are the most happy when we spell out exactly what the deliverables we’re talking about (improved skills, projects, etc.).

Could you call someone in your district a community “influencer?” For some reason, this word gets under their skin, too. “Public speaker” or “community advocate” are their preferred descriptors.

Now don’t we all feel tremendously encouraged – armed with this new knowledge about what words irritate journalists?

Nah. No doubt we’re all now eager to compose our next press release and see how many of the recommended words “to avoid” we can write in. Forget the survey. We know a challenge when we see one.

Plus, we don’t abandon our longtime friends.

Tom Page, SCN
car 05:14:2013

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