Delving into parts we should not have to reach….colon cleansing made “interesting”
My previous post provided some generic formulae widely used for generating articles and titles that readers are attracted to. As a professional writer, you are not always in a position to pick and choose your assignments and you may be faced with producing content on the most unsavoury of topics. In this instance, I recently had to deal with an assignment on colon cleansing, and though the memory still haunts me, the writing show must nevertheless go on.
Previously, I dealt with “How to..” Lists and quoted a “Study” as a way of generating titles and articles. I will finish this off here, with three more general formula techniques.
The “Trend” is Your Friend !
Fashion is fickle and there are always new “trends” that are being latched on to. It’s not difficult to pick up on a “fad” and turn that to your advantage, with your subject material. In this practical case, my memory recalls that Princess Diana was a colonic devotee, but I think that would be an article title too far, under the circumstances.
My cursory research into colon cleansing immediately threw up that there are two major methods of colon cleansing – using fibre based products and “oxygen” cleansers. There is a clear trend at the moment for “fiber” cleansers (this was for an American audience) and so it becomes simple to adapt an article and title to this trend.
“Trend towards Fiber Colon Cleansers Helps P&B Shakes Dominate Market”; “Fiber Fashion – Dual Action Colon Cleansers for Inner Health”; “Increase your Fiber Intake and Cleanse your Colon” and by now I’m sure you have the idea. Once you have a title, I find that the article tends to follow naturally from that and it’s a simple matter to construct the body of the article around the title. My personal challenge is always in creating the “hook” in the initial paragraph, but it pays to remember that this is not a scientific or high brow piece of work that is being created.
The Sacrificial Lamb or Straw Man
Another technique is to start off with a startling statement that sounds plausible, such as “Colon Cleansing will Kill You” which is pretty bold and eye catching. You now develop the article to show that this is not the case. Start off your introduction by very briefly outlining why your statement is correct, as any devotee of “Yes, Minister” knows Sir Humphrey’s rule “When you are stabbing someone in the back, first it is necessary to get behind them!” You end the first supportive statement by ending with a note of doubt, such as “Or will it…”, “Or is that necessarily true?” and “Not everyone agrees with this point of view…”
You are now free to develop your article body as a blow by blow account as to why your opening statement is really a lot of nonsense. This technique relies on what mathematicians and lawyers call “Reducto ad absurdum”, but Sherlock Holmes buffs may recognise this as a case of once you have eliminated all other possibilities what you are left with, no matter how unlikely, is the truth. Used thoughtfully, this is a very powerful article creating technique and it needs some exercise of the grey matter to pull it off.
Now, you can approach this in two ways, firstly conduct the interview by telephone or email, or if you wish to be sneaky you can attribute quotes from “experts” and worthy notables that they have already given, but be sure to place them in a proper context.
One ray of sunshine, as I researched colon cleansing, was the discovery of a certain extremely good looking lady in New York, who swears by this practice. Being the kind of cheeky chappy who is not bashful, I called her up and explained I was writing a series of articles on colon cleansing and would she be so kind as to give me her thoughts on a few matters.
A brief fifteen minute call gave me ample material to put together several pieces on why colon cleansing is good for you. Unfortunately, one of the photographs she sent to me of the result of one of her “treatments” has caused me to look at her in a completely different light.
Now you do not have to call up someone who you think would look good on your arm to get an article created. Provided you give proper accreditation to your sources, you can quote excerpts from interviews already conducted. Pulling quotes from several interviews that have been carried out can easily be pieced together to provide you with an article and an interesting header – “Angelina Jolie sheds pounds with Colon Cleansing” – and that as they say is showbiz!
Missed part one? Read it here.