The lead of your promotional newsletter should be a short paragraph. It can even be as short as one word. Then follow it with a few paragraphs and quickly hit them with a subhead. This gives your story a fats pace.
Here are five types:
1) The benefit lead – answers the reader’s questions, “What’s in it for me?” “Cut your air conditioning bills in half. No, not with scissors. With the right landscaping”.
2) Direct address – sift out your best prospects by speaking directly to them. “Retirement! It’s a time of life we all look forward to. Bask in the sun, play golf, attack those projects you’ve always wanted to.”
3) Problem/ solution lead – Set up the format for a problem/solution article. “Have you ever found yourself at a ‘gala’ event starring at a piece of boiled chicken, a hard potatoes and a spoonful of peas while a monotone speaker drones on and on?”
4) The Unusual lead – write something odd or unusual to nudge readers to continue out of curiosity. “Although not widely publicised, Mumps has been spreading rapidly in the medical computing community.” The article goes on to describe a new software programme called Mumps.
5) Narrative – Set your article in action by describing an event. “When Monica Ball arrived to work Monday morning, she was greeted by the smell of smoke.”
Why is the lead so important? The following article from a marketing consultant demonstrated the answer to this question. The 15 second buzzer Basketball uses the shot clock. In the pros, the offensive team has 24 seconds to take a shot at the basket or face a penalty of turning the ball over to the competition.
In marketing your product or service, a similar clock resides in the market of prospects. It’s the time available for you, the marketer, to attract the prospect’s attention and motivate that person to invest more in reviewing your benefits. How much time? It could be as little as 10 to 15 seconds before their mental buzzer sounds, and you lose the prospect.
Can you express your company’s advantages to a prospect in 15 seconds? Work with others in your company on your 15-second strategy. The results can point the way to inexpensive adjustments you can make to score higher with new business opportunities.
Keep in mind your 15 second shot clock when writing leads. Use a benefit lead to attract as many readers as possible to your articles. Benefit leads answer the reader’s question, “What’s in it for me?” and can even be used when writing straight news style articles.
Look at the following examples. The first one is written from the publisher’s perspective. The second one is rewritten to include readers during the first few seconds.
Before: House prepares to consider catastrophic health care plan
The House of Representatives will soon consider legislation aimed at protecting the nation’s elderly from catastrophic health care costs. There are more than 28 million elderly and three million disabled people in the US.
After: Protecting the nations elderly from catastrophic care costs
Over 28 million elderly people and three million disabled people could be helped by upcoming legislation considered by the House of Representatives. Not all newsletter articles are written alike. To keep your newsletter fresh, you’ll want to include a variety of lead styles.
Check for “You” versus “We” Keep in mind that your newsletter is promotional. When appropriate, you should write sentences from the reader’s point of view.
A good test to make sure your articles are on target is to check for the use of “you” rather than “we”. Using “you” not only gets the reader involved, it also gets you thinking in terms of the reader. Avoid using “we at…” “We at First Financial are proud to announce that….” Sounds stuffy. Instead say, “First Financial now provides you with…”
As with the headlines, don’t begin every article with your company name.
Source by Peter N Harrison