By Tommy Yan
It was in Bermuda, 1998, when my mentor suggested everyone at the bootcamp create a newsletter. I agreed. But I didn't know how to produce one.
I didn't know how to write it, market it, or even know who'd be interested. I didn't even know how to type—except with my two index fingers.
Seven years later...
It was in Orlando, 2005, when the same mentor suggested everyone at the conference publish an e-zine and create a database. I agreed. But I didn't know how to produce one.
Another repeat performance...
But this time I took some action. I subscribed to other e-zines, read related articles, and was given the blueprint to get started. (Still typing with my two index fingers.)
What became the hardest part?
Content. The technical stuff like templates, autoresponders and software can be learned, or farmed out. But the most important element for a successful e-zine is your material.
Without valuable, unique, and original content—you'll appear like all the other e-zines competing for the same marketshare. And that may mean you'll build a pathetic database who might buy from your competitors instead of you. Which generates a hobby income for you.
If your titles, articles, and resources are similar to your competitor's—why would subscribers choose you over them? What is it about your information that makes you stand out from everyone else? What would draw them to look forward to your newsletter?
If you want your e-zine to stand out from the herd, you must write with impact. You write in a style uniquely your own. And presenting your message in a way no one else in the world can duplicate.
Here's how you create impact to build a growing database...
1) Write like you speak. Use a conversational tone. It's the friendliest way to get your message across.
This flies in the face of conventional wisdom because you've been "trained" by your high school English teachers and college professors to write properly, use big words, and follow grammatical rules.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
Those rules work in the classroom to impress your teachers, but you'd fall flat on your face in the real world. Real world impact writing demands to be understood and nothing is clearer than conversational style writing. And it's rather simple...
Picture talking with your best friend over a cup of coffee at a diner. You'd say something like, "How was that movie I loaned you? Did Mary like it? I hated it because it was so shallow."
See—that was easy.
Don't try to impress anyone with your use of big words or blathering corporate mumbo-jumbo. That will have the opposite effect. You'd sound sterile and your message will end up forgotten.
2) Engage your readers. Write as if you were writing to one person at a time. This will keep the tone personal and warm. Nothing stinks of a mass mailing more than writing:
"Hey gang! I've been thinking about all of you. In our next meeting we're going to look at how to improve our membership numbers. If you've got a great idea, share it with the rest of us."
The person reading that will assume someone else in the group will come up with the idea. And so will everyone else reading that same message. But if you wrote:
"Hi Joanna. You've been on my mind. Do you have an idea that will grow our membership? If you do, I'd love to hear it."
Now you've engaged your reader. You've asked for help on a one-to-onel level. And you'll receive more replies.
Another secret to engage your readers is the power of stories. Stories always seem to take people on a magic carpet ride. Especially those from your own experiences.
It's not always a good idea to borrow your stories. Original content is much more interesting and powerful. Your readers will intimately bond with you.
I was in a client's office and I noticed a gold medal and jersey with the words "Iron Man" on display. He was a fierce competitor at one time. Now a family man, I believe he is as fierce a competitor in business.
I suggested he use these points of interest when he engages his newsletter readers. Subscribers want valuable information, but they also want to know WHO is writing them. The days of dry stats and facts are gone. People want to be totally engaged and absorbed with you.
3) Reveal your personality. People are curious to find out what makes you tick. Express your hopes, opinions and desires when appropriate. Give us a piece of your mind.
Don't be afraid you'll offend people. Those in agreement will appreciate your honesty. And those who disagree can read your point of view.
If you try to woo everyone with some song and dance, you end up branded as a "people pleaser." Someone with a spaghetti spine trying hard to appease the masses. And you'll be the first one readers dismiss for lack of backbone.
Because there's nothing worse than stale copy...
You read an article from author #1, which sounds like the article from author #2, which sounds similar to the article from author #3. Then you wonder if they're not copying from each other in some sort of incestuous literary relationship. And then you ask, "What if the original author made an error? Aren't these copycat authors guilty of the same error?"
To avoid this, tell your readers what you think. Use your own words. And it's important to...
Tommy Yan helps business owners and entrepreneurs make more money through direct response marketing. He publishes Tommy's Tease weekly e-zine to inspire people to succeed in business and personal growth. Get your free subscription today at www.TommyYan.com.
If you're a speaker, trainer, coach, or a consultant—the major challenge you face is connecting with your audience. You talk, shout, or recite your message while they are dreaming about dinner. Their eyes are glossy, their minds' elsewhere, and their bodies ready to bolt. You don't have a lot of time, so you've got to grab their attention fast. Or else, you'll die wrestling against audience resistance. But it doesn't have to be this way