Monday, September 17, 2012

Make your phrases ring

A few weeks ago, I wrote a cautionary piece advising you to avoid clichés (like having a picture of a bell on a blog about ringing phrases). However, there's nothing to stop you creating phrases of your own that others will re-use. It's something politicians are very good at. Some years ago, William Hague was in opposition to New Labour, and used the phrase "culture of cronyism" in several interviews. The phrase stuck, and became associated with Tony Blair and his colleagues, being used by his opponents repeatedly until he stepped from power. Prior to Mr Hague's use, the phrase had hardly been recorded. He made it into a phrase that stuck. Another Tory politician, Michael Howard, will forever be associated with the description by Anne Widdecombe as having "something of the night" about him.

One way of creating a ringing phrase is to look at a news story and make a comparison with it. Another technique is to make up an alliterative phrase including an unusual word, such as William Hague's example.

Once you have such a phrase, use it several times in an interview. Ideally, the interviewer will repeat it back to you, or use it in a question to another guest. The more controversial it sounds, the better. Use it in your blogs, and drop it into your social media messages too. You'll know when you've done a good job when you are on the front page of Google when people search for it. It works. A few years ago, I used the phrase "Twitter is the collective brain of the planet". It' hasn't gone global (yet), but at least I am getting the credit.

1 comment:

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