Guerrilla Alert No Horn Tooting Zone

In writing for publication, eliminate self-promotion. Many editors won't publish pieces that they consider commercial. At the end of your feature, include only your name, firm, telephone number, e-mail, and Web addresses. If readers feel that your piece is self-serving, they will stop reading it. Furthermore, blatant self-promotion will diminish you in their eyes and could ultimately prove harmful to your practice.

If you get a byline or are otherwise identified as the author of your work, readers will get the message loud and clear. They will judge you on the quality of your ideas and if they are top rate, you and your practice will be regarded accordingly.

that describe the situations under discussion. Case studies are an excellent device to help readers retain information.

Keep your writing as brief as possible. Eliminate unnecessary repetition; assume that you're writing for intelligent readers who lead busy lives.

Avoid dense pages by including lots of white space. Thin margins and tightly packed pages intimidate readers and don't provide convenient havens where they can stop to comprehend what they just read. Break up your text with headings and subheadings that inform readers what is to come.

When appropriate—and only when it's actually how you feel—be provocative. Controversial writings garner more interest than those that echo collective wisdom. Express a strong point of view and don't be afraid to take a different angle or position. If most recent articles warn about the dangers of debt financing, set forth the advantages. Taking an uncommon or unpopular position will attract the attention of editors, agents, and readers. It will also be of interest to the many independent thinkers in positions of power and influence.

Provide an explicit call to action that tells readers what to do with the information you have provided. If you have proposed a new way to reduce factory overhead costs, be sure to include a three-step program for getting started. If your article extols the virtues of new tools that speed the delivery of customer orders, be sure your readers know how to find them. Calls to action confirm that you understand the problem, especially its practical aspects, and that you have solutions.

Guerrilla Intelligence: Ten Attributes of a Great Article


Informs, educates, and entertains the reader


Has a distinct point of view


Is jargon-free


Is easy to read


Solves a problem or saves time


Is simple, but not simplistic


Can be used for other purposes such as speeches or special



Contains a call to action


Has a way for readers to contact you


Creates interest in your other work

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