Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to Create Compelling Sound Bites

In "The Art of the Sound Bite" last week, I wrote about how Rachel Weingarten, a noted and quoted trends and marketing expert and author of Career and Corporate Cool, is such a little sound bite queen. Rachel was kind enough to do a Q&A with me about how she does it and what we can learn from her experience. Here's our chat:

Q. You do such a fantastic job of being quotable! Is this something that comes naturally to you, or did you have to work at it?

RcW: Thanks! I think it's a little of both. I've always had pretty strong opinions and was eager to share them. Over time though, I realized that it was less important to comment on everything and more important to make memorable comments on the things most important to you. In addition to being a marketer, I'm also a writer and most appreciate the really tasty and targeted tidbits offered by some people, so I always take that into account when offering my own quotes. I also try to offer a few great sound bites to choose from because what seems most interesting to me, might not be the most useful or on target quip to the writer.

Q. What are some of the qualities of a good sound bite? By that I mean, what makes you say, "What a sound bite!" when you hear one or read it in print?

RcW: Is it quotable? Do you automatically hear it and say, "I have to call my sister/mother/best friend and tell her what I just read." Does it make you think or laugh or say, "That's exactly what I thought."

Q. What elements do most good sound bites have in common?

RcW: I think the fact that they resonate with people. That they make people feel included in some way in the article or feature, that they make you laugh or gasp or nod your head in agreement.

Q. If you were teaching people how to craft sound bites, what would you tell them to do? What instructions would you give them?

RcW: Well, I do teach people about crafting their personal brands and I would advise them to use a lot of their own personality and image when crafting a sound bite as well. While it's easy to identify a quip made by Mark Twain or Dorothy Parker, these days people have so many substitutes speaking for them that it can be harder to know who's real and who has a publicist doing the talking for them. Above all else, I'd say strive for authenticity and conveying your voice, your opinion and your sense of humor in a short, tasty sound bite. It's better to sound slightly rough as yourself, than perfectly polished but indistinguishable from everyone else.

Thanks so much to Rachel for sharing! Discover more about her opinions at http://rachelcw.com/.

Heard or read a good sound bite recently? Please post it here!

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