Most business blogs and email newsletters promise to deliver tips or keys to success. The problem is success is a generic term that tells us nothing about what motivates people, what catches their attention, or what persuades them to make purchases. But motivation is simple, right? Without getting into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we know businesses want to make money, while individuals want respect, comfort, entertainment, sex, and, well, money.
But are these the best goals to focus on? What other types of motivation can you focus on to win readers’ attention?
Ever watch your kids playing video games and wonder, “Do I look that crazed when I’m playing?” Of course you do. But why? Because if you could just manage to do this one thing, which you keep coming really close to pulling off, then you would make it to the next level.
Can you help your readers feel like they’re mastering some topic or some process—or at least laying the foundation for that mastery? If you pull it off, your readers won’t be able to help themselves. They’ll have to keep reading.
This category is similar to mastery, but it focuses more on the general direction of your readers’ endeavors—or rather to the fact that they have a direction. Do you wake up every morning thinking that today will be just like almost every other day? One of the most valuable things you can offer people who feel this way in a brief exchange is a hint of better days to come.
The hint doesn’t have to be grandiose—in fact, the subtler the better. The idea is simply to find a way to help your readers come away with the sense that their business is growing, they’re getting better at their jobs, that they themselves have unrealized potential and that their futures hold untold promise.
The drawback to all the newsletters that talk about strategies and tactics for improving sales or streamlining processes is that they assume the people involved are robots who after some reprogramming can adjust their practices and produce better outcomes.
The way to avoid this reprogramming approach in a newsletter is to acknowledge that your readers all have unique identities and that the strategies you’re passing along not only can but must be tailored to their individual styles and needs.
Hey, did you know that Elvis was a blond? Yeah, he actually had to dye his hair and his eyebrows black? Everyone enjoys being able to throw out conversational tidbits like these in company. Can you sneak a joke into your newsletter? How about a thought-provoking quote? If your newsletter includes anything that might give your readers an interesting conversation piece the next time they’re out, they’ll likely want to return to the source.