Media Bites

Here are some characteristics of good sound bites:

  1. Avoid rhetoric. Give specific examples.
  2. Use analogies. The more homespun, the better, especially on complex issues.
  3. Use "The Three Cs" — Colorful words, Clichés and Contemporary reference (pop culture).
  4. Use absolutes, superlatives and summary lines. Reporters and editors love "The Best . . ., "The First . . ., "The Only . . ., "The Greatest . . ."
  5. Use proportionate numbers, or use approximate numbers. If a reporter wants to know the exact numbers, he or she will ask. Besides, these numbers are easier for you to remember.
  6. Be personal — use "I" statements. These are anecdotal, reaffirm your authority and best of all, no reporter can challenge you on it.
  7. Quote your enemies, especially if they agree with you. Your friends will always be on your side. If your enemy is with you, then you've got a story.
  8. Include a second-person perspective. Let the reader know what will happen to him or her. Let the people in the immediate geographical area know what will happen to them.
  Spokesperson Guidelines Index
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