How many times have you picked up newsletter, read a sentence or two of an article, and quickly moved on to the next page?
Here are some easy tips to keep your reader with you long enough to absorb some substance from your article.
Keep it short.
Fewer words. Shorter sentences. More line breaks. For better or for worse, today’s readers expect brevity and summaries. Put your key points at the top of the piece. Savory bits can remain at the end as a reward for those who stick with you, but keep nothing at the end that you need your reader to know.
If you aren’t a professional writer, don’t try to be one. Don’t force formality or try to use big fancy words that aren’t a part of your regular vocabulary. Don’t take on a casual tone if that’s not your comfort level.
You are writing to a global audience, but just one reader. Imagine talking with your favorite client or coworker. Even if you tend towards a more formal style of writing (and if so, use it), be sure to use “you,” letting the reader know you are addressing them.
Choose a subject about which you feel strongly, even if it’s controversial. But don’t write a word if you don’t mean it. Tell personal stories instead of relying on statistics. Write from your heart.
Plan, proofread and polish.
Allow at least a day for your article to rest before revisiting it for the final time. No one writes as well as they re-write.
Double-check your spelling and grammar. In particular, check and recheck name spellings, phone numbers, email addresses and web addresses. If you’re weak in these areas, have someone else read the newsletter with a precise and careful eye before sending it.
Recognize as many readers as you can in each article. Invite readers to respond, send their comments, questions. Answer readers’ questions and print reader tips, content or even jokes if appropriate. Be sure to publish their name, business, email, and website address. Even if they don’t stick with you for the whole article, they will be more likely to read it all in your next issue, just in case they find their name.
Most of all, remember to keep it simple. Don’t fret. Know that some readers will stick with you to the end and some won’t, no matter what you do.
If you write as yourself and care about your message, your passion will be clear and you will be a success.
Heather Denkmire runs grantwinners.net. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the website.