“How many ‘friends’ do you think will read that?”
Ed’s soft voice cut into my writing concentration. “Well?” he demanded.
Ed was my first real writing mentor, my boss on a job where I was writing direct response letters. I didn’t get the point and I knew the best course was to ask Ed what he meant, so I did.
“You just wrote ‘Dear Friends’ as a salutation.” Ed said. “How many personal letters have you ever gotten that started with a plural greeting?”
Suddenly, I got it. Only one person reads your copy at a time, whether it’s in a letter or in a blog post or on a web page. So write as if you were writing or talking to one person.
Forget “Hello everybody” and “Dear Friends” and write for a single person, your reader. That person is reading your copy all alone. Write like you understand that.
If you want to write effectively, write to a single person.