7 Marketing Secrets for Writers: When the Message Takes a Lot of Words (part 2)

by Diane Holmes, (a) Chief Alchemist of Pitch University, (b) lover of learning, and (c) writer of fiction, non-fiction, and the occasional manifesto.

How Do You Get Your Reader or Client to Take Action?

You have a website, a brochure, a newsletter… but does it work?  Does it sell books?  Does it bring you clients?

Simply put, do your “longer” marketing materials make a difference?

“Free Our City” Does It Right

(And they have a much harder message than you do.)

Free Our City.  Non-profit.  Horrific topic (sex slavery).

foc banner

They need everyday people (who cringe at their topic) to take action.  And to do that, they have to get across a lot of information.  They must take a reader from 0 to 100 (not just 0 to 10).

Tough job.

Their mission?

As their back cover quote says: No, we are not satisfied and we will  not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water.” –Dr. Martin Luther King.

FOC BackThey use a 4-page, postcard-sized “booklet” to get this mission across and turn the reader into an activist, a bringer of justice.

This is marketing at its best, most useful, most hopeful.

It’s about the power of words to communicate.  And as freelance writers and fiction writers, you, too, need to harness this same power to communicate for your own business.

This isn’t about tag lines or jingles. This is about how to take a complicated message and share it with the world in a way that doesn’t disappear into the static.

If they can do it, so can you.

Last week, we looked at how they chose to (#1) own their message and( #2) use a tried and true structure to make it easy to digest.

There are 5 more things you can learn from Free Our City.

FOC Front

3. Marry The Message With Skim-able Design.

Form matters.  When you have a long message, all those words act like a visual brick wall of text.  Bonk.

Your long marketing? It’s an automatic brick wall.

The exception, of course, is if the design allows us to see something important in your message so that we can enter the message at a point that interests us.

Up until then, we’re not convinced we should spend the time on your brick wall.  Maybe we should just file it away for future reference or walk on by, fingers in our ears, singing, “La la la la laaaaa!”

That’s the genius of good design.

By making your content skim-able, engaging, and  even appealing, you invite an otherwise skeptical reader “in.”

FOC Page 2 FOC Page 3

When you open the Free Our City booklet, this is what you see.

Genius Design #1.

This looks like a book.  You hold it like a book.  Not like a pamphlet or a flier.  The reason this is genius?  Books are all about reading long content, page after page.

Immediately, our brain expects and accepts the deep reading this piece of marketing requires.

Genius Design #2.

Notice how Free Our City calls out just the right keywords by making use of…

  • font size and style,
  • emphasis,
  • color palette,
  • layout,
  • flow,
  • white space

…and so on, to quickly convey key information and break down the “brick wall” into easily digested pieces.

As your eye moves diagonally from upper left to bottom right (a typical pattern in the U.S), your eye “sticks” on the keywords they chose for you.

Their thoughtful design means that you skim and pick up meaningful information,,, almost by accident.

Also notice how the surrounding content supports the skim-able bits of information. Whatever keyword really speaks to you, you can instantly read a full sentence about it.

Is your message more readable because of your design?

Q.  What are your “accidental words”?  The words that pull your reader in, would cause her to pause and wonder if perhaps what you have to say isn’t a brick wall after all.

Perhaps it’s something she actually wants to read after all.

And maybe the key, skim-able words offer a complete message when put together, just like Free Our City.

A skim-able, message mosaic.

What’s your skim-able bottom line?


clip_image004Diane writes two alternating columns for Freelance-Zone:Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and Marketing-Zone:Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book.

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