You know that guy… the one who “wins” at life?
We all know someone like that. The guy who’s a little obnoxious at a party or a function for your kids school (because, let’s be honest, his kid is a “winner” too). But seriously, he most likely rocks it at work.
Why? Because he’s a “winner.”
But in all seriousness, winners know how to play their own games.
I’m not exactly comparing your environmental organization or green business to a game. But, like the guy who thinks back-to-school-night is a competition, there are always winners and losers.
Winners get donations, orders, customers, loyalty and success.
Losers, well… their causes suffer, their businesses go under, and their staff end up with the chance to polish up their resumes.
Your environmental copy needs to “win”
Today, how you present yourself to the people playing your game depends not just on the great work you do, but how you present that work to the world through your writing.
There is (or, well, there should be) a lot of writing out there about your environmental organization. And that writing needs to win, otherwise, you’re wasting your money.
So, how do you win with environmental copy?
Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but believe me when I say these 7 tricks just might make you a winner too.
#1 Make me trust you
The importance of this ability to come across in your communications can not be overstated.
Give me a reason to believe what you’re saying. Building trust is how you build loyalty, and a loyal fan is worth your marketing dollars.
Do what you say you will. Only speak with authority on things you are directly involved in. Build your track record.
Getting donors to trust you will take time, but it’s well worth your best efforts.
#2 You have to actually believe in what you’re promoting
I don’t mean this in any sort of abstract way.
I mean YOU need to believe in your cause or green product.
Don’t care about the environment? Believe fighting cancer/bedbugs/insurance settlements/midlife muffin tops is more important? Then put your talents to use elsewhere.
If you’re not passionate about the environment, it’s going to shine through in your environmental copy, and that’s not a good thing.
#3 Give your readers a good reason to abandon their excuses
Your reader already believes in whatever it is you’re writing about. Sound too good to be true?
It’s not. Almost anyone who is taking time out of their busy modern lives to read about an environmental issue already believes it’s important.
This should make your job very simple.
Find the one thing that is preventing them from completing your call to action and give them the rationale to do it on a silver platter.
#4 Don’t wrap up that one reason in tech talk
No matter who is reading about your environmental issue, whether a PhD, a CEO, or a stay-at-home-mom, no one wants to be lectured to in their spare time.
Take it down a notch, and write like you’re talking with a 4th grader.
If you can’t explain your complicated scientific issue to a 10-year-old then you haven’t figured out how to sell it to one either.
Seriously, would you use the word “photovoltaic” to explain solar power to a kid? Not likely. Make it easy to understand, and your donors will thank you for it.
#5 And in a related issue, don’t talk down to the rest of us either
Whether I’m a stay-at-home-mom or a PhD, I don’t want to read anything – from a donation letter to a blog post to a grant summary – that makes me feel stupider than you.
Making an issue unnecessarily difficult to understand is the quickest way to lose at your environmental copy.
#6 Read it out loud
If you sound like you’re trying to win at life through this one piece of environmental copy, hands down you won’t win me over.
Read it out loud and any sort of posturing (see reasons five and six) will be easy to spot.
Make your copy sound conversational, friendly, and, one last time… easy to understand.
#7 Walk the fine line between selling me on your cause and communicating its importance.
No one likes to be sold to, and these days, everyone is an expert on spotting salesman. I can’t really give you a firm direction on this one. You have to go with your gut. When you read your environmental writing out loud, does it sound like you’re selling me something?
If so, try again.
And try again after that.
That obnoxious guy at the party? The “winner”? Chances are he keeps trying until he gets it right.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, with a little time, you, too, can be a winner.