In honor of the season premier of “Mad Men” this coming Sunday, I wanted to share a favorite quote from David Ogilvy, “The Father of Advertising” (and, no doubt, the inspiration for the hit TV show).
“You cannot bore someone into buying your product.”
Ogilvy understood people. He knew how to write ads that made people want to read them—and buy the products.
Today, if we could ask him, I’m sure he’d say the same thing about business writing: You can’t bore someone into reading your blogs and articles, reports or proposals. You need to offer something extra to keep them reading—and to encourage them to buy in to your message.
How do you do that?
When you’re editing (don’t worry about this in the writing phase), add creative business writing touches like the following tips. Sure, it takes a little more time, but if you don’t, you’ll probably completely waste your time (i.e., no one will read what you wrote!).
- Headlines and subject lines: Grab readers’ attention from the get-go. Catchy headlines wake up blogs, articles, even white papers. Interesting subject lines get e-mails opened. Use keywords, provocative questions, and journalists’ favorite trick of the trade—alliteration (e.g., Wild and Wooly; Better Business Bureau).
- Vivid verbs: Replace boring verbs, especially “is, are, were” with colorful action verbs: abandon, collaborate, festoon, galvanize, neutralize and oppress wake up your writing—and your readers.
- Similes: Compare your topic to an architect or astronaut, a conductor or a convict, and your readers will get on your wavelength faster.
- Anecdotes: Tell stories that illustrate your point to engage your readers. And the best part? Stories are fun to write—and read.
For more business writing tips, check out these Free Resources.
How do you keep from boring your readers? What creative business writing techniques have worked for you?