How to Write Effectively, Even if You’re Not a Marketer

We all know that building personal connections with clients leads to repeat business and referrals. That’s why the personalization of American Lifestyle magazine is so powerful.

With each issue, we write a default letter for you that is tailored to the issue’s content. But when you read a message written by someone you know, doesn’t it make a stronger impact? Take the time to write your own custom Front Inside Cover letter about upcoming events, special promotions, or personal messages, as this will resonate with your clients more than anything we could say. It will also make your mailing even more personal to the recipient.

But if you’re not a writer, this can be a challenging task. Here are our best suggestions on how to make your writing more impactful:

Make it personal.

Even though your letter is in a magazine instead of on stationery, it’s still a letter. You should write it like you would any letter, and use  first person. More specifically, use first person singular (I and me), unless your magazine is from you and a partner. Remember, the letter is from you, not your firm.

You also want it to sound personal to the reader. Picturing a specific person as you write can help you get the tone right.

Write like you speak. This isn’t a high school paper or college dissertation. It’s okay to be informal. In fact, it’s better to be. Use contractions. Use sentence fragments. Start a sentence with and or but. You can even break some grammar rules to sound more conversational (but let’s not get carried away—improper grammar and spelling can diminish your credibility).

Make it easy to read.

Use short words. Don’t write commence when start will do. Get is a better choice than acquire. Most long words have shorter synonyms. Keep a thesaurus handy as you edit to find alternate words.

Use short sentences. Limit each sentence to a single thought. After you’ve written your letter, look for sentences that are joined by and, but, and so; replace these conjunctions with periods whenever possible. Also, eliminate all unnecessary words.

Use short paragraphs. Big blocks of text often go unread. Try to keep your paragraphs to five lines or less. Sometimes, even a single sentence can be a paragraph.

Use active voice. Verbs can be either active or passive. To spare you the full grammar lesson, think of it like this: In active voice, someone does something. In passive voice, someone has something done to him or her. Here’s an example:

Passive Voice: This magazine is being sent to you.

Active Voice: I’m sending you this magazine.

In most cases, active voice is clearer and stronger.

Tell stories.

Think back to when you were a child. Which do you remember: someone telling you not to falsely call out for help or the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf?

That’s the power of storytelling in action. Stories illustrate points in a way that telling simply can’t. The reader can see it in their mind’s eye, and relate to the situation. Stories tap into emotions, and leave a lasting memory.

Draw from your own life. Sharing a personal experience can make a story more impactful. Plus, it provides a great opportunity for follow-up conversations. Challenge yourself to plan ahead. You can always find the upcoming editorial calendar on the American Lifestyle website. Choose an article about a location you’ve visited, or want to visit, and draw attention to it in your letter. There are always seven articles in each issue, so choosing one to talk about should be easy.

Follow a process.

Putting pen to paper is not always easy. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to write, but this technique has proven effective for many. You might find it helpful too.

First, do a little brainstorming. What would you say if you were meeting the reader in person? Write down everything that comes to mind.

Next, write an outline. This will help you hit all the important points in an order that makes sense. Not only that, but the words will also come much easier when you know what you want to communicate.

Now it’s time to get writing. Action is key here. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect; that’s what editing is for. Stopping to refine in the middle of writing will stall the process. Keep your momentum going until the end.

Finally, read over what you wrote, and edit it. This is arguably the most important step in the whole process. In fact, David Ogilvy, who wrote some of the most successful ads in history and several books on advertising, once stated, “I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor.”

Pay particular attention to grammar and spelling. You don’t want to make any embarrassing mistakes. Read your words out loud. This will make it easier to notice when something doesn’t sound right.

There are many ways to make your American Lifestyle magazine more personal. Our marketing advisors and design team are always available to tailor the magazine to your individual needs. After all, if American Lifestyle magazine is a part of your marketing mix, it is an extension of you. Why wouldn’t you want your clients to think of you when they receive it?

Go to our website to check out all of your customization options, or contact a marketing advisor to start personalizing your magazine right now.