Take off your suit and loosen your tie.
That’s the first tip towards unstuffy business writing that we see all around us. “Why does business writing have to be so brutally boring?” asked the ‘soft voiced’ Alan Rosenspan at a workshop titled – Writing for Digital Media. There was nothing soft about his message though. It was clear, hard hitting and drove the message – straight home!
- “Exceptional value for your money”
- “Cost effective end to end solutions”
- “Work smarter”
Do we even bother to read mail that carries such bland and blah captions? Yet, we still effortlessly incorporate such lines in our mails, advertisements, press releases and pitch notes to the media. We know that the word ‘free’ in a subject line automatically sends the mail into the junk mail box. Yet do we even think of replacing it with – ‘valuable’?
How do we get someone to open our mail and then actually read and not merely scan it? Alan shared his views, distributed a booklet and led us to the magical techniques of digital writing, which I feel apply to writing for print as well. Simple points, which we all know but tend to forget. So here’s a refresher.
The challenge is to write something no one has ever written. The big secret to crack this, according to Alan is “a little bit of creativity…a little extra bit of extra effort…a little bit of extra work to make your work outstanding.”
That sure sounds real easy, doesn’t it?
Alan’s seven rules of copy writing centered around:
- Getting attention
- Saying something interesting and important (and not blaming your clients for providing insipid information)
- Writing in a fresh and unusual way (which this writer is surely finding a BIG challenge)
- Understanding that all the recipient cares about is - what’s in it for me? So be careful with that sales pitch
- Writing with an objective in mind and not merely writing – When Brutus spoke, people listened. When Anthony spoke, they marched.
- Visualizing the situation. The writing will then be kid’s play
- Using short, simple words
This was a mail sent by the Church in Frankfurt to their pastors to shake them out of slumber and do something about the declining attendance at their services. How’s that for powerful communication!!!
Another pearl from Alan’s oyster – Can you smoke while you pray? And, can you pray while you smoke? Mull over it.
If you want Alan’s proven techniques on writing for the digital world, you can contact him at www.alanrosenpan.com