Writing Skills

Why Your Writing’s Not Working

What’s wrong with this email I copied and pasted below? (Ignore the tweaks I made to keep it anonymous.)

Dear (Job Title),
According to ABC Research, more than XX% of employees in the United States are (challenged by something). Does your business have the tools and strategies ready to meet their needs?

Join us for a webinar on May 6, Webinar Title Here where attendees will hear from a manager from one of the top something businesses in the nation.

For more information, visit URL here or click here to register.

We hope to virtually see you there!
Name, etc.

At first glance, it looks fine. It’s clear written, right? Concise, professional, error-free…but something is missing. Do you see it—or the absence of it?

It fails to answer the “So what?” question, a.k.a. the “What’s in it for me?” question. And that’s a fail—a major fail—because if your writing is not working, what’s the point? Your writing has a job to do. If it’s not doing its job, it’s not writing—only words on a page (or a screen).

Think about it: Why do we write anything? To communicate. Whether it’s your to-do list to yourself in the morning, your emails to co-workers during the day, or a text to your mom that evening, all of your writing is intended to communicate something.

Now this email that I copied and pasted above, it’s kind of communicating. It has the who, what, when and where but it lacks the why. Not that every piece of writing requires a why. But this one does, because it’s trying to drive action. This email is intended to get the recipient to do something, to register for the webinar. But it doesn’t ever say why someone should register. There’s nothing about what we’ll learn or walk away with or why we should give up an hour of our busy days to listen in. So why would we?

When you write something intended to drive action, remember to include the reasons why someone should want to comply. Otherwise your writing’s not working—literally or figuratively.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.