Earlier this week I posted some thoughts and considerations about email marketing content in general, with a focus on subject lines and headlines. Today, I’m going to introduce you to another aspect of email content and online content in general.
Don’t expect rocket science (yet), I’m still introducing some things before we really get going. I would like to introduce you (in case you never heard about it) to a general principle of online copy writing in general that applies to writing email content too.
Now, you might already have heard about the inverted pyramid principle. But, still, unless you’re a copy writing pro, I invite you to read on.
Whether you are writing online copy for a web site, an email newsletter or a blog: the metaphor of the ‘inverted pyramid’ is the first thing you will ever hear or read about if you learn how to write good online copy.
However, the term doesn’t apply only to online media. In fact, it was ‘invented’ for writing good news stories (in printed media).
The metaphor illustrates that the most important content in the news story should come first (the title, the introduction, the first paragraph) and that the rest of the text contains more detailed material of diminishing importance.
The reason of course is that readers can leave the news story at any point and should be able to understand what it is about without having to read the whole thing.
Now think about online media…
As many usability studies have shown and as is proven every day again people don’t read online, as I said before they scan pages, emails, etc. and decide in a few seconds, whether there is content that seems relevant for them.
You can imagine that in an online context the inverted pyramid is like the first lesson in writing killer copy.
Grabbing attention with teasing headlines
The reason why it is called ‘inverted’ is because many ‘older’ forms of written content (think how a novel is structured, for instance) work the opposite way: gradually, you get to know more and more (about the characters, for instance) and the plot is at the very end.
Well, online and in email it’s the other way around. And the reason is simply: the way people ‘consume’ (read: scan) content online, the need to grab their attention with teasing headlines and introductions, the short attention span of the recipient, you name it.
So in emails (and other online media) you always start with a catchy headline that indicates what the reader can expect and ‘teases’ him to read more.
Then you provide the main information in an introduction or the first paragraph, still ‘teasing’ him to read further. In email marketing, you might stop here (or even before) and provide a link to read the whole story on your website. As, I said it’s a matter of finding the right balance between providing valuable and teasing content and getting people to click.
In the online world content is still king. Marketers need to have teasing and effective content in their email newsletters and on social media to attract customers and brand followers.
Valuable and relevant content is what makes people subscribe to your newsletter, click a link and become customers.
Later this month I’ll tackle the details. Deal?
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