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How To Incorporate Useful Information Into Letters To Editors
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The trick with using letters to publicize your work is using a low-key approach to incorporate information into a letter, while keeping the letter relevant to an issue. This is not that complicated, if you remember one cardinal rule:
See yourself as providing information, and not selling your work.
In other words, write as though you had no interest in people buying your services. Write as though that was not even a factor at all. Simply write as if you were just providing helpful information, and the sales will come.
The difficulty is that hard-sell might have worked at some point. Maybe the ancient Egyptians were sold Pyramid condos by hard-sell methods. Maybe. But people won't listen to hard-sell any more. Not now. Maybe not ever. I almost feel sorry for sales folks who have been trained to use hard sell stuff. Aside from their being annoying to deal with, nobody wants them to come near. And the harder their clueless bosses push them to hit people over the head, the more no one wants them near.
You've had experiences with this, I'm sure. People selling insurance, and you couldn't pass them on the street without getting told about some great product they had. And I'm not picking on insurance salesmen: this kind of stuff happens with any field.
I have life insurance. And I bought it from a guy who never pushed me to buy. Instead, he would provide information when I asked for it. And that made me a customer for life. Because I don't like to be hit over the head. No one does. And when someone writes a letter to the editor that's a shameless puff piece for their product or service, my mind screams, "Next!" and I ignore it. Very likely, you do, too.
So let's give an example. Let's say you have a business selling baby-proofing services to new parents. And there's an article in your local newspaper about how parents are worried about their children getting injured on home playground equipment.
Now you'll think that this is just too perfect, that there will never be an issue brought up that's so tailor-made to publicize your work. But there really are often situations like this. It's just your job to provide information about the problem, and suggest solutions.
What you do want to do is provide helpful information, and just enough to interest the reader to check out more about your work. And it's easy to do. Here's an example of how I might handle such a case.
In today's issue of the Daily News, readers spoke about being afraid that their children might be injured on home playground equipment. And while this is a real fear, there are solutions for such problems, ones that will allow children to play, enjoy themselves, and have a good time, as well as providing a safe playground setting for them.
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