Make points, not bullets

What do you write that you want people to fully absorb? Is it emails, letters, grants? Is it newsletters, Web copy, brochure copy, blogs? Is it ads, coupons, direct mail pieces, PowerPoint presentations? Perhaps it’s white papers or technical briefs. Maybe you’re finally writing that book.”Keep it brief and use bullets or you’ll lose their attention.” Not true! Have you ever read a good bulleted story?Consider this point from top United Kingdom marketing consultant Robert Clay: “Most adverts and sales letters fail dismally because they are little better than communication by bullet point. …People don’t buy bullet points. They buy well-reasoned explanations that take them step by step through a process that attracts their attention, increases their awareness, builds their desire and motivates them to take action.”I’ll offer the best way to capture readers’ attention so that whatever your message is, it will be thoroughly understood, persuasive and motivating.Grabbing, keeping attentionConsider this recent tweet from Scott Ginsberg, a brilliant entrepreneur that I follow: “The hunger to know is a basic human appetite. How does your business feed it?”Right there, folks, is the million-dollar question. People are starved for easily digestible education on what will help them succeed in their businesses and careers.First you must walk in your audience’s shoes (cliché but true) and empathize with them and their issues, problems, pain and on the positive side, values and profits.Write from their viewpoint, not yours. Please don’t gush about your capabilities, your offerings, your strengths, your experience, your clients, your products, especially in the opening messages.There’s a time for all that – when the prospective client asks for it.I’m solicited by email quite often and I want to reach through the computer and shake the salesperson by the lapels when they write nothing but a barrage of product information with no clear message to grab my attention – why I want or need what they have.Have you ever read something that first asks a question you’ve been pondering? You stop everything and read more. Everything else disappears. You’re absorbed in reading the answer to your burning question. Need I say more?Whom are you talking to? What are they concerned with right now for which you have the genuine answer or solution? Craft your message accordingly and it will be read top to bottom, cover to cover.Another tip is to write as if speaking intimately with one person, not giving a speech. Would you want your trusted friend to speak to you from a podium? Not likely.Why do I ask so many questions? Because questions engage the mind. Statements and proclamations are usually perceived as self-serving and are largely ignored.Ask great questions up front and inquisitive minds will want to know the answers – your answers.Chuck Sink is a sales director at the Manchester marketing firm of wedü Inc. He can be reached at