Promising and Delivering in Writing

Promising and delivering are fairly central to any business. After all, if we don’t promise, no-one knows what we have to offer, while if we don’t deliver on the promises, our reputation won’t last long.

So how does that apply to writing?

The Promise

Why should anyone read anything you write in connection with your business? After all, there are millions of blogs out there to choose from, and everyone’s email inbox is daily flooded with far more messages than we actually have time to read. Why should anyone visit your blog or open your email? Or carry on reading past the first sentence?

The first problem is down to your broader marketing and reputation-building, but the way you write can determine whether readers are likely to carry on to your call to action at the end. Most of all, the effectiveness of your promise.

The opening few sentences of your piece need to hook the reader, and one of the best ways of doing that is to show that what you’re saying is relevant to them. If you’re a B2B business, for instance, you’d be pretty safe beginning by asking “Are you worried about GDPR?” Of course they are; everyone is. Then again, everyone’s writing about it.

If, on the other hand, you’re largely targeting one-man-band businesses, it might be more effective to ask something like “Do you have sleepless nights wondering how you can grow without needing to take on employees?” Yes, anyone who has a business with staff may stop reading, but they’re not the people you want. The right people (such as me) will be engaged by your promise that they’re going to learn something valuable specifically to them.

The Delivery

The opening of your piece is the promise; the rest is the delivery. A promise without delivery is worse than no promise at all. The reader will feel let down, will certainly not follow your call to action, and probably won’t read anything else from you.

The delivery of your promise may be coherent advice (in the case of a blog, for instance) or it may be the offer of a service, but it must come over as genuine and authoritative.

For instance, if you’re selling Alpine skiing holidays, you’ll start by engaging readers who’ve thought about but haven’t got any further, then offer information about various resorts that will help them to make a decision. Of course, you’ll emphasise the resorts you deal with, but it’s important that the advice is accurate and informed. Otherwise, you won’t have delivered on your promise, and your reputation will suffer.

Using the Promise and Delivery

The promise and delivery model can be a very simple way of structuring any marketing content you write, or have written for you, whether it’s a blog or a targeted email.  If you want to know more about this and the many other ways of structuring your content effectively, why not come to my workshop in Stevenage on the 26th April?


Image by airpix, licenced under Creative Commons

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