Columnist confesses: 'I Read the National Enquirer!'
Nonprofits seem to prefer dignified, calm, objective headlines. That might make the journalism majors among us happy, but it misses the opportunity to draw readers into our wonderful stories. And if our stories don’t get read, people have fewer reasons to be involved with us.
Dynamic use of photos
The photos in the Enquirer are not always the best quality; grainy, blurry, poorly composed photos are common. But they are always real photos of real people in real situations.
Most stories have several photos each, often overlapping each other, or are laid out in a way that tells the story. On a photo of a quarreling couple, for example, there will be an inset of the two taken in “happier days.”
Relevant photos are hard to come by — but so important. You might — like the Enquirer — need to lower your standards in order to have more access to real photos. And by all means, avoid stock photography. It always looks fake and commercial.
Reader-centric subject matter
Virtually all the stories in the Enquirer are about people. Most of the people are celebrities, of course, but in their more “human” moments: Someone’s gaining weight; a couple is breaking up; someone is locked in a feud with a rival.
The Enquirer focuses on what’s interesting, not what’s “important.” There isn’t a human being on earth who is uninterested in what people do. You can’t go wrong by telling your donors about how their donations connect with real people. You don’t have to be tacky and lowbrow. Just zero in on the human side of your story.
The copy in the Enquirer is readable, using short sentences, short words and short paragraphs. Writing that way takes discipline. If you don’t believe me, try it!
It also has a point of view: A couple is locked in a “nasty custody battle.” Someone is a “sexpot.” A child is a “precocious tyke.” A crime is “horrifying.”