Write to bite

Sound bites have long been a staple of news coverage. Politicians know that a quick and catchy phrase can deliver a prime spot on the TV news or YouTube. As great leaders have discovered, the best sound bites live on in our memories and lexicon. Sometimes they even change the world.

Bloggers, tweeters and almost anyone who writes should go for word bites, to enliven their content and make it memorable.

Before you can create a word bite you need to clearly and concisely identify what you want people to understand and remember. Then brain storm, applying these time-tested techniques.

Repetition, with a twist
Constantly hammering the same words is annoying, though sometimes effective. But add a twist and you can write with bite. Remember these examples?
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.
I have a dream.
I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.

Similes and metaphors
All that glitters is not gold
Living next to you (the United States) is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant.

Compare and contrast
One step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

The paradox
What is the sound of one hand clapping?

So the next time you have an important point to make, ask yourself: What do I want people to remember? How can I make it more memorable and inspiring?

You may not end up on the evening news, let alone the history books. But if you create effective word bites, your message will live on in your audience’s minds. And maybe accomplish even more.