Crafting Sound Bites the Media Love

These days, no one has the time to listen to the full story. People want a capsule of information delivered in a few seconds that is easy to swallow and switches on their mental light bulb. So if you get an opening, you’d better make it good! “If you can’t express what you want and why it’s newsworthy in ten seconds, you’re off the phone,” advised a news director for a major NBC affiliate. Your sound bite must be a “grabber,” a memorable message that makes listeners want to buy your products, champion your cause, and fight your wars. If it’s short and gets their attention, it buys you more time to sell them. Your sound bite must:

  • Be 30 seconds in length for print, 10-20 seconds for radio and television
  • Explain who you are, what you represent and why you make a difference
  • Be customized for special occasions
  • Seem to be spontaneous and natural, full of excitement not rehearsed

How to Write Your Sound Bite

  • Determine what types of information are currently intriguing the media
  • Think of ways to incorporate the current media interests into your sound bite
  • Write whatever comes to mind without worrying about length
  • Circle every descriptive word you’ve written and then put these words on a separate sheet of paper in order of importance.
  • Review each word and ask whether they are the most descriptive words available. If not, change them.
  • Draft a sound bite consisting of one or two sentences – using the most important words on your list.
  • Read your sound bite aloud. Change whatever sounds awkward.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Think of the sound bite as money, because every time you use it, someone considers paying you.

By Rick Frishman
Reprinted from “Rick Frishman’s Author 101 Newsletter”
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