Perfect Pitch

Writing sales materials that sing

A few years ago, an editor at a large publishing house told me a story about some of her bestselling authors. She claims fans will say just about anything to get their hands on these celebrity writers' latest releases, including "calling my office shortly before the authors' new books are released and saying: `My father's in the hospital dying. Couldn't you just get the book to me ahead of time so he can read it before he goes?' "

Compelling writing elicits dramatic, action-packed responses like these. That's why top sales stars learn to write sales letters with the flair of bestselling authors. Whether it's a sales letter, brochure, flier or other advertising piece, it's important to become a student of the written word early in the building of your business.

Like anything else, good writing is a skill that must be cultivated over time. Here are a few lessons I learned about writing, culled from my experiences in graduate school, during the course of my career as an entrepreneur, and while writing five books.

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This article was originally published in the June 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Perfect Pitch.

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