11/16/15

Stop marketing. Start writing thoughtful letters.

By Melanie Spring

Remember the last time you wrote a really thoughtful letter? You pulled out your personal stationery, found your favorite pen, and sat at your dining room table while you painstakingly wrote out each word. Think of who you wrote this letter to. Remember the words you carefully crafted. You may have even written out a draft before copying it onto your stationery. For many of us, it was years ago. Back when email was still new. 
 
Letter-writing is so thoughtful. Thought-filled. Filled with thought. The art of explaining how we feel.
A lost art.
After you were done writing the letter, you signed it with “yours truly” and your beautiful signature. Then you folded it up and searched for an envelope. You looked through your Rolodex to find their address. And then licked a pretty stamp and placed it in the top right corner. Then you walked it out to your mailbox and put the flag up. You felt accomplished walking back to your door. You were about to brighten up someone’s day.
 
And what was the feeling they got from the arrival of a hand-written letter in their mailbox? Joy. They knew you cared about them. They walked back to the house slowly opening the envelope and reading the contents of the letter. You made them feel something. They smiled while reading through it. Because you thought about every word you wrote.
 
Branding is a feeling. Your business evokes a feeling. Every word you write. Every conversation you have creates your branded feeling. And the best way to do that is through great content.
 
When did we stop writing “letters" to our clients? When did newsletters become about the latest news in our businesses? When did blog posts become quick sound bites - easily skimmed? We end up throwing content at others willy-nilly - without ever thinking about how they’ll feel about us. Or how they’ll feel receiving it. 
 
If you had to write letters to all of your potential clients, referral partners, current clients, and past clients, what would they say? If you had to painstakingly hand-write every word and put thought into each, would you draft them up first and write clean copies? Let’s go back to the days when we filled our marketing with thought - to make our clients feel something.
 
While writing your next newsletter, the latest blog post, scheduling your tweets and Facebook posts, and even all the emails you furiously type daily to keep up with your ever-growing inbox, let’s take this letter-writing concept into all of it with truly great thought-filled content. Let’s stop “implementing our marketing plans” and start “writing thoughtful letters” with great content.
 
The four tenets of great content are as follows:
 
1. Great content educates.
It teaches them something. It gives them new information they wouldn’t otherwise find. You have learned about your profession for years and have great things to teach people. It may seem simple to you - and it may seem like everyone else has already written or taught it - but your clients want to hear it from your perspective - your voice. 
 
2. Great content motivates.
It gets them off the couch to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do. It gives them a reason to make something happen. You push them to do something they’ve never realized was possible by giving them the possibilities in a way they’ve never heard. Your clients are searching for this and they’ll remember you for giving it to them. And come back every time they need it.
 
3. Great content inspires.
It gives them lightbulb moments - new ideas. It shows them what they’ve been missing all along. It lets them know there is something bigger out there for them and that they can go get it. It makes them think of things in a different light. 
 
4. Great content engages.
It gives them a way to connect - with you or others. It makes them want to share it with others, leave a comment, or let you know personally what they thought. If the content is engaging, it’s less likely someone will skim it - they’ll want to do something with it.  

Melanie Spring
Chief Inspiration Officer
Read Melanie's bio


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