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Writing for Success

By Ellen Jackson
Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Good writing is an absolutely essential skill for doing business online. Whether you're writing a newsletter article, an ebook, website copy, a special report, or an advertisement, your primary goal is the same: you want to GRAB and HOLD your reader's attention. Here are some "tried and true" methods for improving your business writing skills:

Know your intentions
What is your goal in writing this particular piece? Do you want your reader to click on an advertising link? Visit your website? Subscribe to your newsletter? Whatever your goals, make sure your copy directs the reader toward the action that you want them to take. Providing appropriate links is a foregone conclusion. But your copy should focus the reader on your goal and make them want to take action.

Know your readers
Who are you writing for? If you're working on ad copy, your title and the medium in which you advertise is all- important, and will determine who will be reading the ad. If you're writing for newsletter publication, know the publication and the kinds of people who are likely to subscribe to it.

Instead of using the same pre-written ad material for many different situations, change the ad to reflect the interests of the people you believe will be reading your ad in the particular medium in which you're advertising. If you're writing an article for newsletter publication, personalize it by pointing out the benefits of your subject to the readers of that particular publication.

Keep "universal desires" in mind
There are certain basic human desires that we all have in common. Financial security, love, family, pride, freedom,
vanity, just to name a few. Your reader's first response is often an emotional one. What desire are you appealing to? Arouse your reader's basic desires and then follow up with the information they came for, and you'll have their attention.

Be enthusiastic!
If you're not enthusiastic about your subject, how can you expect your readers to be? Most people are dreamers, not do-ers. You're out to change that! Capture their imagination with ideas, insights, and opportunities that will charge them up and make them want to read on, click on your ad link, act on your suggestions, whatever your goal is for that piece.

Get your reader's trust
There's a lot of hype out there. If you set your readers up for disappointment by making outlandish claims about products and services, you can bet they won't be back for more. Most of us are pretty immune to the hype. I don't click on ads for business opportunities or products that make wild promises, do you? More importantly, will your readers? You will gain your reader's trust much more quicky by giving a realistic but positive angle on your subject. Provide them with believable and valuable information. Instead of "revving them up" with hype, rev them up with the power of their own imaginations. Get them excited about the possible, not the impossible.

Be Concise
If you take too long to get to your point, you'll lose your reader. Cyber-writing is highly disposable; with the click of a mouse, all your hard work is gone. Time and time again, surveys have reminded us of two important facts: that most people go online for information, and that we have very short attention spans, measured in seconds, not minutes. If the valuable information you're trying to convey is not immediately evident to your reader within the first sentence or paragraph, the "close window" button or unsubscribe link is only a click away.

And last but not least...

Follow up!
Was your writing successful in getting your reader to act? Be sure to make contact with your new customer or lead. Good customer service, prompt replies to emails, and well written autoresponder messages will ensure that your reader knows that you're interested in their business.

One of the best resources around for learning how to write effectively for online business is Ken Evoy's "Make Your
Words Sell!" If you're familiar with Ken's award winning Site Sell products, you already know they over-deliver and are well worth the small investment. Check out "Make Your Words Sell!" at: (

About the Author
Ellen Jackson is the publisher of Offbeat News and the owner/webmaster of Offbeat Marketing. Visit Offbeat
Marketing to find information and top quality, affordable resources for building your online business at (


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