By Sharon A.M. MacLean
The best storytellers make it feel as if they are talking to you and only you; even if you’re part of a large audience.
We had many good writers at the magazine I owned for two decades. Yet, one of the best was a businessman who was not a trained a journalist. Spelling and grammar? Not the point; it was about telling stories and the late Muggsy Forbes delivered every time on that score.
Muggsy’s platform formed the essence of a community where he wrote and joked and rarely held back his opinions. We came to know about his great passions including his love of a juicy hamburger, his personal losses, his family and friends.
Muggsy was authentic to the core and his audience loved him for it. He understood that people wanted authenticity before the word became fashionable.
Make sure you talk to customers with language that appeals to them.
13 rules for creating messages that connect
1. Write conversationally: Write how people talk. Write as if you’re chatting with your best friend. Be casual, but not unprofessional. Good grammar and punctuation always make you look better.
2. Open loops: These build suspense for your recipient. Keep reading to find out how and why they work so well.
3. Leave hints: In each message you send, give a “heads up” as to what’s going to happen in the next message you’re sending. Don’t fully reveal it…just give a sneak peek.
4. Engaging subject lines: [Email Specific] When it comes to getting your message opened and read, everything rides on the subject.
5. Get to the point: [Email Specific] People like pictures. Open an email with a photo or hyperlink to wherever you are sending people, followed by compelling copy. Or a video no more than two minutes in length.
6. PS: The post script, or “PS” section of an email or letter is the most read part of a message…a lot of times it’s read first! Think about having two PSs (PS, and PPS).
7. One call to action: When you send messages that try to get people to do more than one thing, they get confused and end up not doing anything at all. Send one link/one action per email or message. You can repeat the same link in a message.
8. No big words: Most newspapers are written at a 6th grade reading level, because that’s the level the average person comprehends most easily. Unless your audience is used to your polysyllabic terms, don’t make people have to pull out a thesaurus. KIS- Keep It Simple.
10. Edit ruthlessly: Mark Twain once wrote, “I apologize that this letter is so long – I lacked the time to make it short.” Spend time on deleting any unnecessary words or sentences. People appreciate when you don’t waste their time.
11. Don’t be clever: When you’re trying to sell directly to customers, clever is not advised. Clever can be misconstrued
Be direct to sell direct.
12. No clichès: Clichès are tired, old and not recommended. They also come across as unoriginal. If you’re talking to an international audience, you might not be understood by everyone. Just avoid clichès; they’re clichè.
13. Be direct: Tell people what they’re getting. Tell people what it does for them. Tell them how to get it. You’ll come across as knowledgeable and an authority figure. People want to be told what to do so that they don’t have to question/debate their next step.
When you follow these writing rules, you’ll end up with effective, sales-driving messages. People will connect with what you’re saying, take action and engage with you and your business.
Need help with your messages? Contact me here: email@example.com
Sharon MacLean owned and published a print magazine over 21 years for business people. She was an early adopter in social media and now applies her enhanced knowledge in digital marketing to the needs of her clients. The communications strategist believes in the value of combining the best of both worlds.