SIMPLE SALES SERIES
Reading Is My Life
We all learned to read and kept on reading. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here. I went on to learn about readers and literacy — how folks interact with text and ideas became my field.
Knowing about reading is a tricky thing. People think that because they can read they must know how it all works. Just underneath the surface are secrets they don’t realize . . . Why would they, unless readers have been their customers for years?
I’m going to share those secrets with you.
The 7 Secrets to a Fiercely, Loyal Community of Readers
Ever been to a great restaurant or club where the mood is right; the service is grand; and every offering is spectacular? When the whole experience comes together in just the right measure, we leave a place already thinking about when we’re going to go back.
Written information, when it’s presented well, has the same effect. It’s a great fit that’s so satisfying, we’re thinking about the experience as a whole and the feeling that we came away with.
These secrets have been researched with every age group from pre-school to graduate school and every reading level from pre-literate to way over my head. But I know you’ll know they work, not because I said so, but because when you read them they will totally make sense.
- Be interesting. Be entertaining. Be silly. Be informative. Be controversial. Be anything but preachy or boring. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN tell. You DO know. Take the time to look. If you don’t, you’re lost before you start.
- Be simple. Put away the big vocabulary words and the long sentences. Only use that incredible word once in an entire piece. Elegance is understated. Impact is quiet. Take away all of the words you can without losing meaning. Extra words get between your message and me.
- Be positive. Know what you’re saying and show me how to get to a positive end. No one wants a problems without a solution. No one wants to live every day reading about doom. Think about how you invest your time with friends . . . do the downers really get more than the ones who help make your world better?
- Be trustworthy and respectful. Be who you say you are. Deliver on your tagline. Make sure your headlines tell the story of what you write. Answer comments. Most of all, know what you don’t know and invite your readers to share what they do.
- Be consistent. Let folks know what to expect of and from you . . . and in like manner, what you expect of and from them. Every relationship is based on an exchange. Readers and writers exchange the same way. It’s okay if folks don’t like one of your features, if you are consistent about how you label things or when you offer them, you make it easy for folks to get to the content they appreciate.
- Be readable. Make sure that every word you write is readable without distraction in every browser that your readers use. Configure your content to serve readers. Some folks get confused and try to do it the other way around.
- Be generous and satisfying. Care passionately about what you write. Care even more about the folks who come to read it. Know that readers want to like you and what you write, just as diners want to like the chef and the food in a great restaurant. Let us look smart. Let us help. Let us feel important, connected, and a part of what you’re doing. In other words, make readers the stars.
Readers and a writer work have a relationship like diners and a chef. Only part of that relationship is what is served up from the menu, the rest is the experience. Every successful chef . . . writer . . . first grade teacher knows that.
That’s how we’ve been getting folks to come back for years.
Got more to add to the list? I’m thinking you do.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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