My 30-Seconds’ Worth

“Write what you know.” It’s a basic tenet of successful writing.

It takes me exactly 30 seconds to write what I know. Sometimes, only 15. And sometimes, all of 60.

15, 30 and 60 seconds are the running lengths of the typical television and radio commercials I create at Mudd Advertising, and for each script assignment, I face the challenge of writing what I know.

This assignment is different. I’ve been tasked with writing a blog post for you – and my 30-second chops won’t cut it.

What do I know? My mind races to find a starting place… Writing. I’ll write what I know about writing.

OK, Mr. 30-Seconds. Let’s see how you handle a longer-format blog post. Here’s what I know about writing.

I know a little bit about how to attract attention, how to lead into an advertisement with a strong, attention-getting statement. “I’m going to prove to you…” for example. Or, “You will become a raving customer when…” If I can get your attention within the first few, crucial seconds, I’m in with a chance.

Next up: I know something about engagement. I really owe rewarding content to the readers or viewers who’ve granted me their attention. The body should be informative. It should be persuasive. It should be motivational and affirming. This copy should reward interest and guide it briskly toward the ultimate objective: positive emotional response; positive action taken on the call-to-action.

Finally, I know how to seal the deal with a simple, compelling close. (I’m still a proponent of using the P.S. in direct mail for this purpose.) However cleverly it’s put, though, the close comes down to, “act now.” And if I’ve done my job, a goodly portion of our customers’ audience will do just that.

But this is just knowledge of technique, right? There is a greater knowledge that any good writer must fold into his or her work regardless of technique, and that’s knowledge of the audience. A thorough, constantly evolving understanding of the customer and prospect.

What’s the best way to gain and maintain this essential customer knowledge? At Mudd, we have a process for that. But that’s for a different blog post, because another tenet of successful writing is “leave them wanting more.”

That much I know. Thanks for reading!


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