There’s a great temptation to keep your best writing in your back pocket when you’re writing newsletter or marketing copy, especially a “freebie” bait piece intended to attract the attention of prospects. We want to withhold the best stuff–the great advice, the most carefully-chosen words–for paying customers.
But your newsletters, Web site, and bait pieces are your shop window. If an ice cream store only gives out free tastes of their broccoli-and-garlic flavor, their sample program won’t win them much business. It’s fine to go in after you’ve written and select a few goodies to hold in reserve (keeping in mind the bikini principle), but make sure that your most visible pieces are of exceptional quality and are something your customers won’t find anywhere else.
There’s another, subtler point as well. Whenever you write thinking, “this will be second-best,” you damage the part of your brain where the words come from.
A writer who’s holding his best words back for his literary novel–and giving short shrift to his mysteries or romances–is quickly going to find himself with a hellacious case of writer’s block. And a marketing writer who holds the real gold for the expensive eBook she’s planning on writing will find that the eBook never seems to materialize, and neither do any customers.
Create the very best stuff you can every time you sit down to work. If you want to improve as a writer, a marketer, or a communicator, take every sentence seriously. Even forum postings. Even email. Even IMs.
Is each word the right word? Is your thinking precise? Is the language clear and concise? Have you trimmed all unnecessary words? When you read it aloud, do you stumble?
Here’s some homework. Spend a day taking every sentence seriously. End the day by making some notes about what that practice teaches you.