Message & Media: Writing Identity Crisis Averted
1. Know your audience so you can build rapport and create content that connects with your readers.
2. Don't talk to yourself. Use the word "you" twice as often as you do "I" or "we." The result is content that's customer-focused. It's a relationship-builder.
3. Write to an individual you know who fits the description of your audience, not to a group. It's easier to write conversationally when you're writing to one person.
4. What do you want people to think and do as a result of reading your text? Understand the business objective for whatever you're writing.
5. Make your messages attractive to scanners. Just because your reader found you through search doesn't mean he or she is a captive. Shorter words, sentences and paragraphs are easier to scan and encourage deeper reader involvement.
6. Use hot spots (where the eye lands first) to engage scanners. It doesn't matter if you're writing an email subject line, landing page or sales brochure. They all have hot spots. Work with your designer to maximize impact.
7. A strong lede is the best way to start. Don't bury the best benefit or strongest hook in your third sentence or third paragraph.
8. Let others establish your credibility for you. With digital messages, you can link to reviews, YouTube videos, customer stories and more.
9. Encourage readers to share their reactions, ideas and opinions on your blog, Facebook or Twitter. Engagement translates into transactions.
10. A picture or video is worth 1,000 words. Use visuals to reinforce and demonstrate what your words say.
11. Don't reveal too much. Digital content allows you to tease your reader, then link to more details.
12. Organize your content for easier reading. Use numerals, bold face and colored type, subheads and buttons to guide your reader.
13. "You" and "free" remain two of the most powerful words in the English language. Use them across channels.