The Essential Announcement Element to Lure Readers to What You Write

“The danger of the Web is that you can go from idea to public announcement in under ten minutes.” —Seth Godin

 

by pedrojperez
by pedrojperez

We do much work to write an interesting blog post, article, or book. Yet our announcements to promote our work fail to draw people to it. We ignore the one thing that works. I say ignore, because experts are constantly encouraging us—begging us—to use this important bit of wisdom. 

Here are examples to show you what I mean.

What Many of My Incoming Emails Look Like

Set 1:

Subject: Jane Doe Is My Guest Today

First Line 1: Come by and see what Jane has to say.

First Line 2: Stop by and hear about her writing journey.

First Line 3: If you have time, come by and encourage her.

First Line 4: You don’t want to miss what she says about her writing journey.

In Set 1, even though the senders address the readers, using “you,” they don’t tell them anything. We need to find at least one thing in our content our audience will want to know. And lure them with that tidbit.

by Jusben
by Jusben

This is what experts keep telling us:

Tweetable

To lure people to read your words, tell them what’s in it for them. Click to tweet.

 

Might This Email Work Better?

Subject: How You Can Win Over Unsupportive Family

First Line: Author Jane Doe gives several successful ways she won over her unsupportive husband and children.

by Prawny
by Prawny

Set 2:

Subject: I’m on Jane Doe’s Blog Today

First Line 1: I talk about my characters.

First Line 2: I’d love to hear your thoughts on my post.

First Line 3: Novel Baby is available; hop by and meet my characters.

First Line 4: See what I went through last month with my characters.

In Set 2, notice the words “I” and “my”? Most people probably don’t care about us, the blog we’re on, or that another book is out. We must find something in our content that will make readers want to go to Jane’s blog.

Tweetable

Give people a reason to care about your spot on someone’s blog. Click to tweet.

Might These Emails Work Better?

Subject: Romance Readers: 3 Reasons Experts Say You Must Read Novel Baby

First Line: In Blogging Books today, you’ll learn why readers, such as you, endorsers, and reviewers, loved the characters in Novel Baby.

OR:

Subject: How to Rebuild Your Life After Losing Your Job

First Line: From character Drew Peters’ journey in Starting Over, Blogging Books lists 3 pitfalls and 4 successful efforts to handle the loss of you job.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Set 3:

Subject: Revamped Blog

First Line 1: Friends, I’ve revamped my blog. Check it out.

First Line 2: Fellow authors, I’ve got a new look! Tell me what you think.

In Set 3, when we write requests like this, we give people no reason to stop what they’re doing and go to one of millions of blogs to see our new look.

So, except for family members, this option may work better:

Tweetable

Instead of invitations to your new blog, write a great post & draw people to it. Click to tweet.

Which types of promotion emails do you seldom read?

Will the Opening Line of Your Non-fiction, Fiction, or Presentation Grab Your Audience?

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” —Plato

by Melodi2
by Melodi2

Why should I care about what you have to say? Sounds rude, doesn’t it? But that’s what many people in your audience think when they approach your work.

So, how much time do you spend on the opening of your speech, sermon, non-fiction book, children’s book, play, activity, novel, song, blog, or magazine article?

Study these first lines quoted from various types of writing. Notice how they set the tone, attitude, purpose, or genre of the work.

  Non-Fiction

  • by Andalusia
    by Andalusia

    “The water was so hot, it was almost burning my face—but I could barely feel it.” —Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money by Dave Ramsey

  • “The Kings Gambit, the darling of the romantics, is a swashbuckling opening synonymous with attack, sacrifice, and an exciting open game.” —Modern Chess Openings by Walter Korn

Speeches

  • “Presumption is one grand snare of the devil, in which many of the children of men are taken.” —Sermons of John Wesley – Sermon 86: “A Call to Backsliders”
  • “My fellow Americans, I come before you tonight as a candidate for the vice presidency and as a man whose honesty and integrity has been questioned.”  — United States Senator, Richard Nixon’s “Checkers” speech

Picture Books

  • “The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another his mother called him ‘WILD THING!’ and Max said ‘I’LL EAT YOU UP!’ so he was sent to bed without eating anything.” (3 pages before a period) —Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
    Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    “Chimps don’t wear glasses and zebras don’t cook and you won’t see a kangaroo reading a book.” (3 pages before a period)  —Chimps Don’t Wear Glasses by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Joe Mathieu

 

Children’s Books

  • “There was nothing Otis Spofford liked better than stirring up a little excitement.” —Otis Spofford by Beverly Cleary
  • “A wild, ringing neigh shrilled up from the hold of the Spanish galleon.” —Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

Young Adult Fiction

  • “There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.” Holes by Louis Sachar
  • “One year ago my mom got traded in for a newer model.” So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones

Novels

  • “She didn’t know how far she’d driven—all she knew was that it wasn’t far enough.” Abomination by Colleen Coble
  • “He always said if I left he would kill me, but there are far worse fates than death.” Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes

Short Stories 

  • Image courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
    Image courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    “With the many interruptions to her already loaded schedule, when would she find the time to kill Rita?” —“Plotting Murder” by Zoe M. McCarthy

  • “A steady ticking awakened Murdoch.” —“The Ticker” by Dori Renner in Writer’s Digest, July/August 2013

Articles

  • “One day, a funny thing happened: An unknown, frustrated writer named Joe Hill got an envelope in the mail.” —“The Once and Future King” by Zachary Petit in Writer’s Digest, July/August 2013
  • “Here’s an oxymoron for you: Cancer = Renewal.” —“An Unexpected Gift” by Nina Fuller in WHOA Magazine for Women, Spring 2012

Tweetable

  • Study the first lines of these writings and learn how to hook your audience.
    click to tweet

Which, if any, of these first lines made you want to read or hear the work? Why?