Concrete details make great invitation leads
When I teach the feature-style story structure, communicators nod. It seems reasonable that readers would prefer concrete, creative stories to a hierarchical blurtation of facts.
BUT — and as Pee-Wee Herman said, there’s always a big but — they wonder, is the feature-style story structure for everything? Even emails? Even event invites?
Yes, Virginia, the feature-style story structure works for almost everything — emails included, event invites include. And here’s proof, thanks to Sarah Herr, employee communications manager at Sensus.
Sarah and her team have brought me in for two Master Classes this year, so these folks are serious about using best practices for reaching readers.
Which of these parties would you rather attend?
In our most recent workshop, Sarah was working on the Sensus holiday party invitation. Here’s where she started:
Reserve your spot at the Sensus Holiday Party and experience the event in a whole new venue this year! Based on your feedback, we’ve moved from a country club setting and into the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.
During the event you will have run of the entire new portion of the museum, complete with science displays on three levels. While you mingle, enjoy drinks, live music and heavy hors d’oeuvres and carving stations.
But the key to a good invitation lead is to make folks want to attend the event. So tell them what they can look forward to in a concrete feature lead.
How would you find a feature lead for this story? I suggested that Sarah visit my BFF and research assistant, Google, to find out what her colleagues could do at the science museum.
Within minutes, Sarah has rewritten her piece:
Take a ride thousands of feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, touch a stone that’s traveled through space for millions of years or find out just how much DNA you and “Fido” have in common. Do all this and more at the Sensus Holiday Party!
We’ve moved from a country club setting and into the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. During the event you will have run of all four floors of the new Nature Research Center, complete with interactive science exhibits and dioramas. While you mingle, enjoy drinks, live music and heavy Hors d’oeuvres and carving stations.
Need a last minute Christmas gift? Be sure to enter the prize raffle — or pick up a gift at the museum store. The store has bugs encased in candy, fossils and models interesting enough for the scientist in all of us.
Features work for virtually all media, channels, topics and audiences. Why not make your next message — email invites included — more creative and compelling with a feature-style story structure?
Think Outside the Pyramid
Our old friend the inverted pyramid hasn’t fared well in recent research.
According to new studies by such think tanks as The Readership Institute and The Poynter Institute, inverted pyramids: 1) Reduce readership and understanding; 2) Fail to make readers care about the information; and 3) Don’t draw readers across the jump. In short, researchers say, inverted pyramids “do not work well with readers.”
At Catch Your Readers — a two-day Master Class on April 20-21 in Atlanta — you’ll learn a structure that can increase readership, understanding and satisfaction with your message. Specifically, you’ll learn:
- How to organize your message to grab readers’ attention, keep it for the long haul and leave a lasting impression
- Three elements of a great lead — and five leads to avoid
- How to stop bewildering your readers by leaving out an essential paragraph. (Many communicators forget it)
- Five ways to avoid the “muddle in the middle”
- A three-step test for ending with a bang
Browse all upcoming Master Classes.
Would you like to hold an in-house Catch Your Readers workshop? Contact Ann directly.