Write like no one is watching, edit like you had a gun to your head and mean what you say

With the cost of postage rising ever higher, my plans to revert back to more direct marketing has taken a tumble.

Email often drives me insane.  When I sign up to newsletters I really don’t want to be bombarded with stuff on a daily basis, although I do want to read well written and interesting articles.  These work for me.


A good headline will always get me.  Original, crazy, positive, clever play on words and possibly a dot dot dot.


Use little words that are easy to understand.  Not everyone has a dictionary handy to look up your latest intelligent sounding word. In short never use a long word when a short one will do.

Be a ruthless self editor

My writing always without fail is long winded on first write.  I write, leave it and come back and edit like someone was holding a gun to my head. If you don’t need a word, kill it.

What’s with the jargon?

I know it’s easy to forget that in your industry you have snazzy little names or letters for stuff that you do, make or sell, but the rest of us, don’t have a clue what it is.  So please do make it easy for us to understand what you are on about.

Get the important stuff in first

I scan read and I like to know straight away what’s what.  I hate too much detail.  I want to know very quickly what is needed from me as a result of their email. Ask yourself this question every time “what do I want someone to do as a result of my email?”

Look for repeated words

Word processing products have Thesauruses’, use them.  When you review what you have written, look for more suitable simple words.  You may need to restructure your sentences, but it will be worth it.

Use headings

I like to read things in small batches.  If there aren’t any headings I have a tendency (as you know) to scan read.  I will and have missed important points.  Please make it easy for me and others to read.

Read and reread

When I think my writing is complete, I email it to myself and re-read it as if I were receiving it.  In this way my mind perceives it slightly differently.

Something strange happens when you send your very beautiful email to different email systems, fonts go awry and spacing either disappears or increases.

So test, test, test.


Who else will be reading this email?  I once sent an angry email to my boss and copied a friend, he sent it on to several others.  I was embarrassed.  Needless to say I never did that again.  Oh the folly of youth!  I always think, would I be happy if this was published in the newspaper? Think before you click.

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