A newsletter is not the place for formal writing. Even if your readers are academics or others steeped in formality, they’re people before they are lawyers or professors and unless you have a good reason not to, write to them the way you would speak to them—informally.
Are you picking up what I’m laying down?
“Oh, I could never write like that,” says many a lawyer. They don’t want to appear un-lawyerlike.
You don’t have to go as far as I go sometimes. You don’t have to write completely informally to write less formally. (But you have to admit, it might be fun. Guess what? It’s fun for your readers, too.)
What you have to do is make clarity and simplicity your top priority.
When you do, not only will your readers be able to quickly understand your message, they will appreciate you for lightening their cognitive load.
(Sorry, some old starch found its way onto my keyboard.)
The simplest way to keep things simple, as I mentioned in a recent post, is to write an email, not an article.
If you need a little help to do that, follow the advice of writer Laura Belgray, who uses what she calls the Email From a Bestie (EFAB) technique:
“I write each email as if I am writing to a good friend, one who happens to have the needs of my target audience.”
Try it. Write a salutation. Write to your bestie (and leave out the starch). Close.
Then, remove or modify the salutation and close to suit.
When you do this, your readers feel there is a real person behind your words, and you’re speaking just to them.
That’s when they connect to you. That’s when they feel you’re the one.
When you’re done with your first draft, you may feel a little naked and self-conscious and want to add back some of the starch.
A little starch is okay. Because lawyer. Just don’t overdo it.
Ya feel me?
If you want to know how to do it right, with lots of examples, templates, and sample language, get my Email Marketing for Attorneys course