How to Establish an Instant Connection With Your Self-Help Audience

Every audience you write for craves a connection. If you can establish that connection, there’s a good chance you’ll make the sale. If you fail to connect, your reader will likely trash your piece before they get past the lead … if they even make it that far.

Connection is especially important to the self-help audience. They want to feel like they can trust you, like you know what it’s like to be in their shoes, and like you have a real solution for them.

There are lots of ways to establish a strong and immediate connection with your reader. Take a look …

1. Identify with the problem you’re offering a solution to.

In the self-help industry, your readers are actively looking for a solution to a problem in their lives. They might want to lose weight, to manage their money better, or to find a successful relationship. Whatever the case, there is something missing in their lives. They know it, and they want to find some answers.

It isn’t enough to just promise the answers. You have to show them that you understand the problem, too. The best way to do that is to show them you’ve shared the problem. Many of your readers might view their need for your product or service as a personal failing – you have to show them that you don’t think of it that way.

For example, if you’re writing for a weight-loss program, you could go with the headline, “Effortlessly Burn Off Stubborn Pounds in Just Three Weeks.” That headline might work okay, but something that connects you with your reader will work even better. Instead try, “I Was 20 Pounds Overweight and Nothing Worked! Until I Found This … It’ll Work for You, Too.”

With the second headline, you personally share in your reader’s problem before promising a solution. And that helps the reader feel connected to what you’re writing.

2. Tell personal stories.

In the self-help industry, anecdotal evidence is just as important as hard proof. The anecdotes of people who have successfully used a product or service to overcome a difficult problem in their life give warmth to your promotion. Facts and figures have their place, but you need the story element, as well.

Work with your client to get the stories from several satisfied customers. If possible, actually take the time to interview several of these customers so you have more than simple testimonials – you actually have a personal account of how the product you’re writing about has changed lives.

Some of the questions you should ask are:

  • What was the problem in your life that you hoped this product would help you overcome?
  • What results did you see after using this product?
  • How long did it take you to achieve those results?
  • How hard did you have to work?
  • What would your life be like now if you’d never found this product?

It’s important to be flexible when you interview. If the person you’re talking to says something interesting and you want more details, don’t be afraid to follow up with additional questions – you can get some real gems this way.

If possible, record any interview you do. This is the most accurate way to preserve the information you get from speaking live with someone.

3. Warm up your language.

Nothing kills a connection with your reader faster than stilted, highbrow language. Think about who your reader is and how she speaks. Then attempt to write in a similar voice.

If you did those interviews I mentioned in the above tip, then you should already have a good idea of an effective voice for your piece.

You can also warm up your language by using contractions, sentence fragments, ellipses to show when there’s a pause in your thoughts, and colloquialisms. In other words, write like you speak.

4. Read it out loud.

Admit it, you skip this step sometimes. It’s really important that you don’t, especially in the self-help industry. Reading your piece aloud will show you where your piece isn’t working and why it isn’t working.

It will reveal if the language is confusing, if your logic is disorganized, if your words are stilted, or if your sentences are too long. Any of these can kill the connection with your reader. Reading your piece out loud is the easiest way to discover these problems, and will help you get your promotion in great shape faster.

Above all, remember that you’re having a conversation with your reader, not giving a lecture. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll create a warm and trusting relationship with your reader. And in the self-help industry, that sells.

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Published: September 2, 2008

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