Category Archives: Newsletters

How to Hook Readers without Swearing in Headlines

hookEverywhere you look, people are playing fast and loose with language—even on “family”-oriented sitcoms! Inappropriate language and cussing are becoming more and more commonplace, but that doesn’t mean they are in any way acceptable in articles or blogs. As writers, we should be able to use a wide array of language to catch the attention of the audience without cussing or using inappropriate language.  The headline is the part of the article that will make readers want to read—don’t waste that with poorly-chosen or inappropriate words. Here are some tips to catch readers’ attention without swearing.

Use clever wording to hook readers. Alliteration is always an amazing answer to your search for alternative wording! Alliteration, as demonstrated in the previous sentence, is the repetition of a letter (or sound) of words in a phrase, such as “She sells sea shells by the sea shore.” This requires you to flex your creative muscles in order to find the best words to use, but it also works as a great attention-getter in articles or blogs. Hooking readers with alliteration can also play throughout the article to keep hold of the attention of the readers and refer back to the title, making the article well-rounded and well-written.

Use an informative quote as your headline. Not only will this give readers a small insight into what your article is about, but it will show your readers that you’ve put in effort and done research as well as involving the community to produce a complete article. So many articles and blog posts these days are incomplete or poorly researched, so by showing readers that you put effort into writing because you enjoy it, it is likely that the work will shine through in the article and your readers will feel more engaged. Involving other members of the community also helps keep the attention of the readers, because they will be able to identify more with the article and it will be more important to the readers.

Reveal just a tidbit about your article. Paint a picture and reach out to the emotions of the readers. The goal of an article’s title is to pique the reader’s interest and reveal what will come in the article that will interest them. For example, if you’re writing a human interest piece about how the “downtown” portion of your city is taking shape, but it’s affecting pedestrians and bicyclists, try to portray the way in which the changes are affecting them. Try something such as, “Downtown Changes Mean Pedestrians and Cyclists Must Cross Paths.” The readers do not yet know whether crossing paths is a good thing or a bad thing, so they’ll keep reading to find out. The next challenge is keeping them interested paragraph after paragraph.

Use a question as a headline. “Will Changes to Downtown Spell Disaster for Small Businesses?” This asks a question that pertains to the community, the article, the readers, tugs at emotions, and may open up a new window of discussion. The audience will continue to read the article to find the answer, reasoning, and various expanded explanations as to why the question was brought to light. To ensure the undivided attention of the audience, use each paragraph for a different explanation or different reasoning before you answer the question at hand. Don’t overdo it, though, the reader will still want a quick, somewhat concise answer that won’t take them 45 minutes to sort out.

Overall, there are many ways to hook the attention of an audience without resorting to inappropriate language.  Alliteration, quotes, or questions and painting pictures for your readers to “pique and reveal” will create interest in your article.  Keep their attention throughout the article, which is the ultimate goal of any writer. PR Daily reminds us not to waste the space or take for granted the power that comes with a good headline because poorly-worded headlines are often simply skipped over by readers. Ask an editor to review your article to double-check that your headline works.

Get those creative juices flowing with the next article and write a strong headline to hook your readers! ~Hollyheadline

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Filed under Capturing Audience, Expository Writing, Introductions, Narrative Writing, Newsletters, Persuasive Essay, Revising & Proofreading, Words Which Sell

How to Create a Hot Holiday Buzz for Your Business

By My Web WritersChristmas present

It’s that time of year! Get ready to have your inbox and newsfeed filled with holiday promotions of all shapes and sizes. It’s a marketing bandwagon worth jumping on because the holidays are when your customers are most likely to act on impulse and splurge more than the usual. But how do you go about creating a hot holiday buzz that will command attention and motivate action? Here are the top 5 tips to helps get your started!

Make your product or service relevant.

You should carefully select the product or service you’re promoting based on what is relevant to your customers’ wants this time of year. For example, a salon that runs a sale on its summer lipstick line isn’t going to connect with its customers. It may be tempting to promote the product that you want to move or offers you the biggest margins, but this won’t connect with your audience. Instead, pick a promotion that “makes sense” for the holidays. Put together a holiday gift set that is packaged and priced perfectly for a small gift for a loved one. Or offer a special on a service that is most likely to help your customers this time of year. Whatever you choose, first ask yourself, “Is this relevant?”

Build excitement.

You should decide on your promotion at least two months in advance of the holidays. This will give you enough time to build excitement with your customer base. Give them a sneak preview on Facebook or allude to the “very special holiday promotion” to come in your next newsletter. Prime your customers to be on the lookout for this exciting deal and then be sure to deliver!

Create incentive.

In order to create an effective holiday buzz for your business, your promotion or sale should offer an incentive (or benefit) for your customers to buy now. Set a limit on how long the offer will last. Will it expire on a certain date? Will it close after enough offers are claimed? Creating scarcity will help to create a buzz. It will also make customers prioritize your offer as urgent and motivate them to act now.

Make it more than an afterthought.

The more thought you put into creating a holiday promotion, the more business you’re likely to get out of it. From mid October through the holidays, your core marketing focus should be on positioning yourself to capture holiday business. Sure, these are busy times for everyone, but don’t get distracted or split your marketing efforts by announcing other news to your customers at this time. All of your communications should tie back to your holiday promotion.

Spread the word!

You’ve gone through the effort of creating a promotion, now you must market it across every communication outlet to make it truly effective. The biggest mistake many businesses make is running a promotion, but forgetting to inform their customers. Create articles for content marketing and circulate them via Google Plus, Facebook, or Twitter to segmented audiences. Use your web site, newsletter, press releases, other social media niches, blog, and anything else to spread a consistent message. Create a signature graphic for this deal that you can also place on all of these pages. We are visual people, so the more we see the offer the more likely we are to remember it when it comes time to gift buying.

The holidays are a time to both give and receive – for businesses as well! By giving a great deal and a little extra to your customers, you are more likely to receive their business in return. But simply running a holiday promotion won’t have people lining up at your door, proper placement and marketing is key. Try out these top 5 tips to help create a hot holiday buzz for your business this winter season!

~Stephanie


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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Email Campaigns, Facebook, Google Plus, Holiday Blog, Marketing, Newsletters, Press Release Writing, Social Media, Twitter

Seven Ideas for Writing Better Email Newsletters

By My Web Writers

Billions of emails are sent every single day, and estimates from the Radicati Group show that in 2013, each user sends/receives more than 100 email messages daily with a majority of those – 78, they predict – coming into your inbox.

Once that email comes in, there’s no guarantee it’ll be read. According to mailchip.com statistics, email open rates vary among industries, peaking at 45.4% for food service and agriculture, and sinking down to 26.5% for vitamin supplements.

So how do you make your email newsletter stand out from all the rest?

Seven Tips for Writing Better Emails:

1 – Keep emails conversational. Sharing a story with a friend over coffee is much more enjoyable than watching a corporate PowerPoint presentation in a large conference room. Use that same approach to your email newsletter writing. Save the formal prose for your print newsletter and keep it casual online.

2 – K.I.S.S. You might remember this acronym from your grade school teacher: Keep It Simple, Sweetheart! Except in this case, you might want to change the “simple” to “short,” especially if you hit send frequently. The more you send, the shorter it should be.

3 – Drive traffic online. One way to keep your email newsletter short is to summarize your point one click away. It’s a great way to move customers to your website, which is a goal for many of us. A commonly accepted link-to-text ration is one hyperlink per 125 words.

4 – Know your goal. Want to gain awareness of your brand? Drive sales with click-throughs? Gain trust from your audience? Your desired end-result determines what you write. If writing isn’t your expertise, or if you just don’t have the time, find an expert writer.

5 – You think timing is everything? Think again. According to a post by email-marketing-reports.com, it really might not matter. Case in point: the author’s traditional every-other-Monday email was slated for a January 1 distribution if he kept to his regular schedule. He decided to keep it on that day just to see how big of a difference the distribution date makes. It was minimal. More important than timing, we believe, is consistency. Once a week on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., every day at 6:00 a.m., or the first of each month are all great examples.

6 – Know the rules. The CAN-SPAM Act was created in 2003 to protect consumers, and it carries hefty penalties for abusers – to the tune of $16,000 per email. Ouch! The Bureau of Consumer Protection has a nice summary of the rules and regulations if you need a refresher.

7 – If you’re an online store, share customer feedback – positive and negative – and provide your own commentary. This will give your customers insight into how you run your business, and create a trusting relationship between you and your (potential) customers.

What has and hasn’t worked for you in the past?

Leave your comments below.   ~Joanne


Other Posts:

How Gmail’s New Look will Change Email Marketing

Adding Content to their Website Increased Our Client’s Keyword Reach

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases in E-commerce Content

Corporate Holiday Email Do’s and Don’ts

Five Considerations when Marketing to Women

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Filed under Content, Content Marketing, Email Campaigns, Narrative Writing, Newsletters