When reading blog posts, articles, and letters, you’ve probably noticed three different types of writing. Some write to communicate. Some write to impress. And some write because – I don’t know. Perhaps they were trying to communicate, but got lost along the way. Or maybe someone told them they needed content, so they wrote something.
When you wish to promote yourself and your services, you must write to communicate…
…because writing to impress is very likely to have a negative effect.
And of course, trying and failing to communicate won’t get you anywhere at all.
Why must you avoid writing to impress?
When you try to impress by showing off your vocabulary, or when you turn a simple statement into a word puzzle, many readers will not understand what you are trying to say. As a result, they’ll simply go read something else. And worse, they’ll probably dislike you for making them feel ignorant. Your prospects have a choice, and they’ll choose to read what is clear, informative, and easy to comprehend.
Another dangerous way of writing to impress is to fill your copy with “I’m so great” messages. If you’re anything like me, your immediate reaction to such bragging is to be repulsed.
When you write to impress, readers see you as pompous, arrogant, and self-important. And very few of us want to work with that sort of person.
Bob Bly offered a good example of failing to communicate…
A recent message from Bob Bly regarding clarity in writing included a Buckminister Fuller quote that he labeled “What did he say?” writing.
The sentence was “Physical points are energy-event aggregations.” I agreed with him. I don’t know what that says. But it sure does sound brainy, doesn’t it?
By the way, what Fuller wrote might be fine when written for the correct audience. Just not fine for prospective real estate clients who may not be architects, systems theorists, inventors, philosophers, or futurists.
Always keep in mind that when writing for an unknown audience, you should keep to a 6th or 7th-grade reading level.
When you write to communicate, you WILL impress, but subtly.
When you share your ideas and knowledge with prospects in a simple and clear manner, you’ll impress them without bragging or trying to overwhelm them with your vocabulary.
Heather Lloyd Martin’s blog posts are a good example of impressing subtly.
I follow her for advice about SEO and the real story about what causes Google to give a site high (or low) rankings. Her articles, such as this article on stealing content, convey good information while also showcasing her knowledge.
Follow her lead…
In blog posts:
When you write blog posts, talk to your readers about current market conditions, inform them about new developments coming in, give them tips on house-hunting or getting their homes ready for market. Share color trends and inexpensive ways to spruce up a home or yard. Showcase a new listing or (with permission) introduce the new owners of a home you just sold.
Of course you can also mention that you’ve just received an award, attended an educational convention, or earned a new designation – and why. (To better serve them, of course.) Present facts like this as an invitation to your readers to celebrate with you.
In listing presentations:
Instead of saying “I’m wonderful” during your listing presentations, share your statistics, include client testimonials, and list both your designations and their meaning in terms of benefits to your clients. (Of course you also need to share market conditions, talk about your marketing plan, etc.)
In your agent bio:
Your agent bio should reveal your expertise and experience, but in a subtle manner that emphasizes your enthusiasm for helping your clients achieve their real estate goals. (If you need help with that, get in touch. I love helping agents look their best in writing.)
In your prospecting letters:
Yes, your prospecting letters are sales letters, and you want them to impress the reader, but they don’t need to look that way. Instead, capture their attention with a statement or question of interest to them. Talk about the situation they’re facing and offer good information. And then, of course, offer your assistance. You won’t need to say how smart, knowledgeable, and wonderful you are, because the content of your letters will demonstrate the fact.
If you don’t know what to say, help is right here. Click through to choose from more than 60 prospecting letter sets ready for you to personalize and send.
Avoid this sad mistake when you write to communicate…
The article that prompted today’s post was written by that third type of writer I mentioned before. I think he had something real to communicate, but he simply couldn’t get to the point. He hid it behind too many rambling words, beginning with all the reasons why you needed to know what he was going to tell you.
Note: Plenty of writers do this, and I think they’re missing the obvious. With all the articles available to read, the only reason someone chose to read theirs is to obtain the information they promised in the subject line or headline. They don’t’ need to be convinced.
This article had a subject line that promised 3 ways to thrive in our changing market. And I guess those ways were hidden there among all the extra words, but they certainly weren’t obvious. They were hidden among layers of “filler copy,” which may have been written to increase the word count.
Contrary to what many believe, word count is not as important to Google as good content, and good content often means fewer words.
On being wordy…
“This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.”
We need to recognize the way many (most?) people read these days.
We scan and skim, in search of the promised information. If we can’t find it easily, or if it’s garbled, confusing, or boring, away we go. We simply have too many choices to stick with an article that doesn’t hold our attention. We’ll begin to read a long article, but stop if it begins to ramble and repeat.
The bottom line is that we need to get to the point.
With that in mind, a long article offering 3 ways to accomplish something might be well received if the writer put those 3 ways in bullet points at the beginning. Later paragraphs, prefaced by sub-headers that told the reader what to expect, would make it easy to read and understand. Still later, the writer could explain how these 3 activities would work together to produce success.
Think about how you read.
While it’s true that different methods of communication appeal to different people, do consider your own reading habits. Read what you’ve written and judge it against what you would be willing to read. Then, if necessary, reorganize and clarify.
Clear communication is what will bring new prospects to you, so write to communicate!
P.S. If you’d like to share your ideas for thriving in this changing market, please do so in the comment section below.