Lead with your most important message. Don’t waste time on long introductions.

Listen, this isn’t the 1800s anymore. People used to have time to spend the first thirty pages of a novel reading about a black horse standing in a field at night before the actual plot got started. Life moves faster now. You’re busy, I’m busy and your prospective clients are certainly busy. Just ask them. They’ll tell you just how busy they are for hours.

There’s a reason the butcher puts the meat in the window.

We’re all raised with a natural sense of narrative. The long build-up to a big climax. The epilogue of the characters getting married or whatever characters do at the end of stories. It’s ingrained in our nature. But that’s fiction, not business.

Too many copy requests come from clients, and sometimes writers, that start out with an entire paragraph on how they know the value of people’s time these days. The irony of it isn’t lost but the interest is.

Don’t let the need to humanize your message make you think you’re there to fill people’s spare time. Like any other business you’ve got to put the goods out front, whatever your marketing piece. “But it’s a teaser piece,” you say? “By its very nature that’s a longer…” then get to the point of the teaser. Most people assume that whatever carrot you’re dangling in front of the isn’t worth their time, or their contact info. Unfortunately, they’re usually right. Prove they need what you’ve got.

There is little chance that anyone will intentionally sit down to read your piece. It will catch their eye by accident and they’ll only read further if the first thing they see is important to them.

Once you’ve got that initial hook, you’ll want to flesh out all of the details of what you’re offering.


Or, if you do, be ready to go back and start cutting out frills like a dressmaker at the dawn of the jazz age. Keep them moving through your marketing and on to the part where they contact you for all the details of how you’ve indicated you’ll solve their problem.


Just email us already.

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