The attendees of the Knowledge Exchange were fortunate to have Alecia Hancock from Hancock Creative run a workshop on “how to write persuasively”. Alecia was able to share her wisdom and experience in writing with the group and also discussed her passion for storytelling and love of words. This is an excellent technique for people working in health promotion, trying to encourage healthy behaviour change.
To write well you must be persuasive and make the readers want to be a part of something. As Alecia said you need to ‘tell the right stories, in the right place, to the right people, at the right time’. One of the key tips to writing like a professional is to write about the benefits of a product rather than the features.
“People desire the benefits not the features so you need to let the reader know what’s in it for them”.
It’s natural for people in injury to try and sell their amazing new fact sheet on child drowning for example. That is a feature. What people want to hear are that fact sheets will benefit them. Instead of “amazing new resource” try, “Keep your children safe with all information you need in one, easy-to-read resource” ! That way, people know that they only need to look in one place (saving time), don’t need to be an expert to read it and can ultimately keep their children safe from drowning.
“You must always talk to the reader and not yourself”.
Alecia also discussed the importance of finding the emotion in your writing, “Facts alone don’t inspire, so you need to find a way to connect on emotional level”. The best way to do this is to write the way you would talk; keeping your writing casual, real and genuine. And get to the point.
Alecia summed up the session by discussing the use of social proofing to back up your writing; using others to demonstrate the importance of your product and providing examples. Generally, people believe more what they hear about you, not what they hear from you so it’s important that you have people out there willing to vouch for how great you or your service are!
Written by Alyson Vanderwal, Injury Control Council of WA