Catch a reader

Focus on the reader’s needs

If you were giving away a Hawaiian vacation to people who signed up for your webinar, which would you lead with? The vacation, or the webinar?

vacation in Hawaii

Brain wave Giving away a trip to Hawaii? Lead with the benefit. Image by Kanaka Menehune

From what I’ve seen — from training more than 25,000 communicators in more than 1,000 organizations over 20 years — most folks would choose the webinar.

Sign up for our webinar
and get a dream trip to Hawaii!

But leading with the webinar won’t grab your readers’ attention and move them to act.

Instead, lead with the benefits and substantiate with the features. Focus on your reader’s wants and needs first, then follow up with your organization and its products, services and ideas.

Steal a trick from these Silver Anvil winners.

These benefits leads from PRSA Silver Anvil-winning campaigns are great models of leading with the benefits and substantiating with the features.

Lead with the benefits … … Substantiate with the features
Employers now have a better way to measure, monitor and manage employee absences … … thanks to UnumProvident Corporation’s (NYSE: UNM) expanded online Comparative Reporting & Analysis (CR&A) information services.
Do you dread shopping for new appliances? Are you tired of being bumped in narrow aisles, searching for customer assistance and even purchasing appliances that don’t fit your needs? If so, the new Northridge-area Maytag store was designed just for you.
On average, an employer can expect that 10 percent of its employee population will be out on a disability leave during the course of the year. To help employers better understand the types of disabilities affecting their industries and how targeted workplace solutions can mitigate associated costs and employee absences … … MetLife has made available The MetLife Series on Championing Productivity

Make the switch.

Sometimes, a small switch is all you need to put the benefits first. Check out these before-and-afters:

Before After
XYZ Corporation (NYSE: XYZ) today announced that print and copy costs can be reduced up to 20 percent with our new ABC product. Organizations can reduce their print and copy costs up to 20 percent with XYZ Corporation’s (NYSE: XYZ) new ABC product.
Everquest “Seeds of Destruction” is the new expansion for the Everquest video game franchise. Gamers can level up their character to 85 in the latest expansion of Everquest’s “Seeds of Destruction.”
National Semiconductor’s Workbench Sensor Designer tool enables engineers to quickly move from concept to simulation to prototype in a few keystrokes. Engineers who typically take weeks to design sensor systems can now complete their designs in minutes, thanks to a new, online design tool.

Next time you write a press release, brochure or newsletter article, put the reader benefits first.

  • Think Like a Reader

    Move people to act

    It’s counterintuitive, but true: The product is never the topic. The program is never the topic. The plan is never the topic. The topic is never the topic. The reader is always the topic.

    Think Like a Reader in Denver

    Indeed, the secret to reaching readers is to position your messages in your audience’s best interests. (Most communicators position their messages in their organization’s best interests. Which is fine, as long as you’re talking to yourself.)

    Move readers to act with a four-step process for giving people what they really want.

    At Catch Your Readers — our two-day hands-on persuasive-writing master class on May 1-2 in Denver — you’ll learn a four-step process for moving readers to act by giving them what they really want. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

    • Take advantage of the formula readers use to determine which messages to pay attention to (and which to toss).
    • Tap two rewards of reading you can use to boost audience interest in your message.
    • Answer the No. 1 question your reader is asking, regardless of your topic, medium or channel.
    • Make a two-minute perspective shift to focus your message on the value to readers — not on “us and our stuff.”
    • Use a three-letter word that magically makes your message more relevant to your readers.

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