Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Do You Really Want Readers? by Andy Scheer

Imagine if you had to condense your message to a dozen words — or only four or five.

That's not a hypothetical exercise. It's daily reality for writers engaging in marketing and promotions.

That fact struck home as I checked the email account my wife and I reserve for offers from various companies.

In their subject line, each company had to distill its core message to a single, easily understood phrase. Based on that handful of words, potential customers would decide whether to see more -- or hit delete.

A few samples from one day's screen:

If you matched the target demographic, which of these would you click?

Now consider your own marketing – whether emails to the people on your list or the titles and opening sentences of your blog posts. The brutal reality of attraction or dismissal applies to our work as authors.

People bombarded with messages won't keep reading until they finally come to the meat of yours. If your purpose isn't immediately clear – or it doesn't connect – you've lost that potential sale.

Few of us enjoy marketing – for good reason. Done well, it ranks among the most demanding writing we'll ever do. But it's also the most important.

To connect with busy, distracted readers, don't stick with the first words that come to mind. Craft your opening words with care: keeping an eye to your target audience, your central message, and how it connects with them. Otherwise, you likely won't connect.


Cynthia Howerter said...

Thanks for this post; I needed it!

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...

Thanks. After writing this piece, I realized my original title was too bland. So I revised it to something I thought might do more to catch writers' felt needs.
-- Andy

Diana said...

10 Easy dinner bakes would be my choice. Great post Andy. Writers def. have to think this way now.

Walt Mussell said...

Great post, Andy. It reminded me that, even though I have been writing WIPs set in medieval Japan for several years, it took me awhile to condense my focus into six words.

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...

Would you like to share an example of that six-word focus?

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Great Advice, Andy! And I would also caution authors to do the same with the subject line of their email newsletters. I've mentioned it before, but "News from Author Joan Smith" doesn't resonate as much as a specific phrase that will draw people.

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