“Wait, what do you know about writing with impact?” Now, that’s just hurtful. You didn’t have to go there. Besides, writing is all about being imperfect, so of course there are occasional lulls in what I write. If that sounds like an excuse to you, trust me, it’s not. The truth of the matter is, you’re still reading because of a little self-deprecating joke, and I’m ready to share teach you, who knows very little about writing, the basics of making an impact with your written words.
For those of you who are outgoing, and would love nothing more than to simply sit down with a group of potential buyers and tell them what makes your product the breakthrough that they need, rather than having to sequester yourself in a room and stare at a word processor trying to conjure up the same words you would tell them to their face, I have a secret for you: You can write with impact. Yes, you! There’s an interesting psychology to writing; everybody believes that it is different from speaking somehow, and that it’s harder. I have a lot of experience writing, however, and I’m here to assure you that if you can give a good speech or a good sales pitch, then you can write it down (the inverse, it turns out, is not always true). The key is to let yourself ignore the rules until you have something to work with.
Ignore the rules of writing? Blasphemy! Your English teacher would have you burned at the stake! Actually, not really. Writing is, at its core, a method of communication. Thus, most of the rules of writing have everything to do with being understood properly. As such, one of the best things you can do when you first sit down at your computer is to just talk to it. Okay, that seems a little weird, but what I really mean to say is that it’s okay to make a grammatical mess.
Picture a client that you would really like to have. Imagine this person, and learn as much as you can about them. Then, instead of speaking the words that come to your mind when you think about selling to them, just write them down. For the vast majority of people, writing takes longer than speaking, so you may have to replay the speech a couple of times in order to get it all down. However, what you’ll have at the end will be a messy, but true-to-voice, sales letter. That’s when you step back, look at it, and start wondering what rules you’ve broken. Your job from there is to change as little as possible and still make it look competent.
“No way,” you say. “What about the writing process? There are supposed to be like eight revisions or something, right?” Well, yes. You can (and should) revise to your heart’s content. However, before the revisions, there is the first draft, and the first draft is where you inject your emotions into what you’re doing. Without it, you’re just not going to have any “oomph” to your writing. And “oomph” is pretty important when you’re trying to sell.
Incidentally, “oomph” is a funny word. I need to use it more often.