Write better news releases, webpages and more …
Want to write more readable messages? Increase engagement on your webpages? Otherwise boost your writing skills?
As we plan our upcoming Master Classes, I’ve been creating a lot of new slides. Here’s a sneak peek at some of my favorites.
1. Stop boring them to death. Reach more readers — and sell more products, services, programs and ideas — with storytelling, metaphor and other creative elements. The boss thinks that’s fluff? We’ve got the data to prove it works.
2. Knock out brilliant drafts with less effort. Use a writing process that works with — not against — your brain. Prewrite, write, then rewrite.
3. Engage readers with social posts. “Our readers don’t want to read stories,” writes Brian J. O’Conner, editor of bankrate.com. “What they want is a big button they can push that says, ‘Solve my problem.’ It’s up to us to be that button.”
Write posts that solve their problems. Don’t write about us and our stuff.
4. Use the bait your readers like. That’s my grandfather, George Wylie, serving his famous catfish to Doc Severinsen, the band leader for the “Tonight” show. Grandpa said, “If you want to catch a fish, you need to think like a fish. Then you need to use the bait the fish like, not the bait you like.” So what bait are you using on your readers?
5. Go beyond the subject line. Email recipients consider four elements — aka “the envelope” — when deciding whether to open or delete your message. If you’re not writing them, MailChimp is, and not too well. Increase open rates by addressing all four elements of the envelope.
6. Journalists rank PR quotes as the least valuable thing in a release — below the boilerplate and dateline. So how can you transform lame-ass quotes into snappy sound bites? To write quotes that journalists want to run and that readers want to read, take the Wah-wah out.
7. “This is too easy to read.” Said nobody ever. Nobody wants it to be harder. Use free online tools like HemingwayApp to measure, monitor, manage and improve readability. For all of your audiences. Because readability helps everyone.
8. Write better bulleted lists. Web visitors look at 70% of the bulleted lists they encounter … but only if you do a few things right. So show the parts, show the whole and make lists parallel.