The secret, according to Mike Allen, is to keep your message brief, to the point, and at the top of your article.
In addition to being one of the founders of Politico and Axios, Allen co-wrote “Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less.” Released this week, the book distills down the lessons Allen and co-authors Jim VandeHei and Roy Schwartz learned from their years of interviewing people for the two digital news sites.
“It didn’t matter if we were in academia, or journalism, or in business, we heard the same two things again and again,” Allen says. “One was the firehose. There’s more awesome content than ever, but also more crap than ever.”
The second thing the authors heard turned out to be the “lightbulb moment” that led to “Smart Brevity,” which is also the architecture of Axios, according to Allen.
“We have all these archaic forms that were designed to soak up our time, to take up our attention, to make us hunt for the news,” he said. “‘Smart Brevity’ says do the work for the audience, the listener, the viewer, the reader. Do the work on the front end, have the conversations, have the reporting, have the life experience to know what you want to say. Then just put it up top. That’s the secret.”
Mike Allen, co-founder of Politico and Axios, talks to It’s All Journalism host Michael O’Connell about the new book he co-authored with Jim VandeHei and Roy Schwartz: “Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less.”