Features work for emails too

businessman looking at new email on mobile phone

Before you hit “send” … Make sure your invitation shows instead of tells what people will be able to do or learn if they attend.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Wylie Communications’ Reach More Readers blog.

Concrete details make great invitation leads

When I teach the feature-style story structure, communicators nod. It seems reasonable that readers would prefer concrete, creative stories to a hierarchical blurtation of facts.

BUT—and as Pee-Wee Herman said, there’s always a big but—they wonder, is the feature-style story structure for everything? Even emails? Even event invites?

Yes, Virginia, the feature-style story structure works for almost everything—emails included, event invites included. And here’s proof, thanks to Sarah Herr, employee communications manager at Sensus.

Sarah and her team have brought me in for two Master Classes this year, so these folks are serious about using best practices for reaching readers.

Which of these parties would you rather attend?

In our most recent workshop, Sarah was working on the Sensus holiday party invitation. Here’s where she started:

Reserve your spot at the Sensus Holiday Party and experience the event in a whole new venue this year! Based on your feedback, we’ve moved from a country club setting and into the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.

During the event you will have run of the entire new portion of the museum, complete with science displays on three levels. While you mingle, enjoy drinks, live music and heavy hors d’oeuvres and carving stations.

But the key to a good invitation lead is to make folks want to attend the event. So tell them what they can look forward to in a concrete feature lead.

How would you find a feature lead for this story? I suggested that Sarah visit my BFF and research assistant, Google, to find out what her colleagues could do at the science museum.

Within minutes, Sarah has rewritten her piece:

Take a ride thousands of feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, touch a stone that’s traveled through space for millions of years or find out just how much DNA you and “Fido” have in common. Do all this and more at the Sensus Holiday Party!

We’ve moved from a country club setting and into the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. During the event you will have run of all four floors of the new Nature Research Center, complete with interactive science exhibits and dioramas. While you mingle, enjoy drinks, live music and heavy Hors d’oeuvres and carving stations.

Need a last minute Christmas gift? Be sure to enter the prize raffle—or pick up a gift at the museum store. The store has bugs encased in candy, fossils and models interesting enough for the scientist in all of us.

Features work for virtually all media, channels, topics and audiences. Why not make your next message—email invites included—more creative and compelling with a feature-style story structure?

Learn how to write leads that grab attention. Attend Ann Wylie’s session, “Tear down the pyramid: Engage readers with a more effective story structure.”

Register today!

About the Author

ANN WYLIEAnn Wylie runs a writing, consulting and training firm called Wylie Communications. There, she travels from Hollywood to Helsinki, helping communicators in organizations like NASA, Nike and Nokia polish their skills and find new inspiration for their work. She serves as PRSA’s “national writing coach,” and IABC has named her an All-Star Speaker. Her work has earned more than 60 communication awards, including two IABC Gold Quills—the Pulitzer Prizes of business communication.