Whether you are writing text for direct mail, e-mail, blog posts, or any other type of marketing or fundraising material, ask yourself: “Sound like a human or Wall-E?”
When competition is fierce, it’s tempting to throw in a bunch of superfluous details in an attempt to make things sound more appealing. But that kind of hard sell has a tendency of isolating your audience. Readers are still people first. You have to catch their attention and draw them in. You won’t do that with copy that reads like a spec sheet.
Effective marketing and fundraising copy should sound human, and it should speak to the real needs, priorities, and challenges that members of your constituency have. It should sound like it’s written by a real person for a real person. When it comes time to write your next batch of content, keep the following in mind:
1. Use natural language. Instead of “Helps you optimize efficiency and maximize organizational control,” say something like “Helps you get done faster—and done right.”
2. Be playful. Target audiences don’t have a sense of humor, but people do. Busy people look for content that isn’t just informative but that is also entertaining. Keep people coming back by loosening that neck tie a little and joking around. You can even add some funny pictures that might incentivize sharing.
3. Speak to personalities, not demographics. Content marketing experts always tell you to create personas which are largely based on demographic information. Marketers then assign ages, genders, and levels of education to these profiles. But real people with real personalities also have fears, wants, and differences. Make sure you keep that in mind.
Next time you sit down to write, be more relatable. This applies to all kinds of business writing, non-profit and for-profit. You’ll find yourself with an audience that is more highly engaged—and isn’t that what we’re looking for after all?
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