Put your customers first with this simple writing strategy

November 22, 2017

How often have you seen social media posts, articles, web pages or bid/ tender responses which focus on the experience or gravitas of the writer?

Would you prefer to read…?

‘WidgetMakers Ltd has been in business since 1997 and over this period has delivered over 200 successful projects. We propose the following solution for SmartTech.’

OR

SmartTech’s 2018 objective is to expand into the Hospitality Market in EMEA. This proposal details how WidgetMakers Ltd will help you achieve that.’

The difference between the two statements is a writing technique called ‘Frontloading’, also known as the ‘Inverted Pyramid Style’, where the most important information is read first.  The Inverted Pyramid has its roots in traditional journalism, dating back to the time of the telegraph. New technology meant that journalists had to change their writing style to get their point across succinctly (a bit like Twitter in 2017!)
It’s not so much that no-one cares about you and your business, but more that their care and attention only exists in the context of what you can do for them. Nowadays, we spend more time on technology than we do asleep! (BBC) This has led to traditional reading behaviour changing with more time spent browsing and scanning. Frontloading makes it easier for your reader to work out what’s in it for them and if they should carry on reading.

Frontloading works because

  • Your point is clearer
  • Your priority is customer first (or if it isn’t, it should be!)
  • Customer experience improves

The great thing about frontloading is that it is easy- all the writer needs to do is change the focus of your sentence so that the key details are at the front. Statements before and after frontloading are below:

  • Enter our competition and win a Mini
  • Win a Mini by entering our competition
  • We can help you recruit the right employees
  • Recruit the right HR Business Partner
  • WidgetMaker’s new software will help you manage your utilisation rates
  • Improve your utilisation rates with WidgetMaker’s new software.

When writing for the web and putting your keywords upfront and central both the reader and SEO benefit (Neil Patel). Readers make a decision on whether to continue reading after as little as two words!

I find Frontloading invaluable in crafting social media post updates when there is a small amount of space to make an impact. Twitter has a maximum of 140 characters, and research has shown that the ideal social posts for other platforms are shorter than you might think. On Facebook, posts with 40 characters or less receive 86% more engagement compared to longer posts and the optimal length of a LinkedIn post is only 25 words. (Visit Buffer’s excellent blog if you’re interested in the research behind this and more) When you only have a few characters you need to make them count!