sticky writing

[obligatory disclaimer: what I write does not represent my current or former employers. names or other details may be changed/made vague to protect the innocent.]

Made to Stick is rocking my world.  (Book about what makes messages that people remember and act on, from urban legends to charity pitches.)  It was smart and funny and engaging; to be honest, it really used all of the principles that the authors describe.

Today I’m working on some web materials for an upcoming project. As usual (here and elsewhere), the printed materials are snazzy graphically, but a little light on copy.  I went hunting for related resources, and that copy almost put me to sleep.  So I was on my own.

I had a couple of false starts, and then I picked up the library copy of the book from my desk, wrote their five principles (simple, unexpected, credible, emotional, story) on my whiteboard, and tried again. I focused down to the most core messages, and realized that I had two entirely different audiences that I was trying address with the same words.  And that was making my writing bland and sucky.

I opened another file (I do web copy-writing in Dreamweaver, btw) and tackled just one.  I kept thinking about what was central to my message, how to tie it to the emotional needs of that particular audience (w/out getting too corny or sleazy), and what kind of internal story I wanted to provoke.  Same thing, again, with the 2nd audience.

And I feel really good about the results, as did the people I ran it by.  Keeping that list in my head (and my peripheral vision) helped me to be more creative and more specific.

I highly recommend it, even to those of y’all who are not marketing types. 🙂