Letter #3: What makes your writing memorable
Six simple tips to make your message stick
Hello hello! 👋
This week I’ve got 6 principles to make writing memorable for you and some M&Ms for me (before you ask, sorry I don’t share chocolate).
I’ve plucked these principles from Dan and Chip Heath’s Made to Stick, translating their principles on how to create sticky ideas into how to write memorable content.
Let’s dig in:
Keep it simple. Never throw a bucketload of ideas at your readers — it’s a recipe for confusing them. Instead, pick one idea. Then, refine it. Peel its layers like you’d an onion. Settle at the core so you’ve one simple message to share.
Take the unexpected route. Generate interest by opening gaps in readers’ knowledge. Incite curiosity. Example: ‘Get hundreds of ideas for the next quarter in 30 minutes.’ Then, take them by the hand and give them the answer. They’ll come along happily.
Use descriptive language. Tease readers’ senses — smell, sight, sound, motion. Concrete language lights up neurons in the brain that process this information. So make sure you tell ‘em the sun’s bright (or whatever) to light up their internal cinema.
Leverage emotions. Our brains process emotions faster than thoughts. Plus, the emotions you trigger come with pre-programmed motivations and reactions. Meaning: triggering the right emotions helps you not just grow readers’ understanding (of a topic) but also shape it.
Tell stories. Yes, we’re wired to love stories — you’ve probably read that a bajillion times. But here’s the juicy bit: stories are the best (and most effective) vehicles for sharing lessons. So wrap all that data you want to share in convincing stories — I’ve shared a 3-step framework in the first issue here.
Keep things credible. Studies and statistics help back your case. Even better? Talking to experts. And those external links in your piece? Those also show you’ve done your homework.
That’s all, folks.
It’s simple, isn’t it? Nah, I’m just kidding. Writing good stuff is never easy 😄
Question for you though: what’s the one thing you can do today to make your writing more memorable?
And to keep you in the loop: we’ve an expert in the house next week who’ll tell us how to make content memorable (and useful) by making it clear and accessible.
Over and out,