While visiting my daughter’s second grade class this month, I sat in on a writing class where the kids were learning how to construct a story using various parts — starting with the topic or main idea, then the details, and finally the conclusion. I was happy to see that teachers reinforce this concept early in the classroom. Adults in business could use a refresher course on this concept!
Whether you’re writing a sales letter, a web page or a customer case study, if you keep the structure in mind, your message will stick in your prospects mind more clearly. Let’s dissect the structure a little further so you can see what I mean:
Establish your main idea first:
Every good message should have a common theme that binds all of your stories and details together. This is typically the headline of your advertisement, the opening paragraph of a sales letter, or the topic of a PowerPoint presentation. So start with this main idea every time.
- Give us some details: Details help reinforce your message. They can persuade, entertain, or provide the details needed for your prospect to make a purchasing decision. This is not the time to be vague or wishy-washy. Tell a story in order to help your readers picture it in their minds. Provide specific results or examples to which your customers can relate. Don’t always make it about the product specifics. People want to be sold on feelings and benefits, not on product features.
- Conclude something: A conclusion means to bring something to an end by arriving at a judgement or end by reasoning. So don’t just end your marketing message. Provide a final thought or insight for your customer. Give them a summary of what you just told them in the details section, but go a bit further to leave a lasting impact in your prospect’s mind.
In business writing, when you follow the basic elements of writing structure — what you learned in second grade — as you are writing your marketing message, you’ll help your readers understand your message more clearly, and persuade them more effectively. And you thought all of those essays you wrote in school weren’t going to come in handy some day! : )
PS: Thank your teachers.