One at a Time, Please

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“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.

Bottom Line

If you want to write effectively, write to a single person.

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