For the purpose of this article, there are only two things you need to know about me:
1. I’ve been writing in my business for 35 years. And pretty much regularly, once a week for 22 years.
2. I own two very adorable, wonderful dogs, Dylan and Meera.
One of them, Dylan, is pictured below. As you can see, he’s taken over the chair in my office. Dylan has informed me that he wants to contribute to this week’s ezine/blog article.
Since he’s never told me this was an interest of his, I asked him what he had in mind.
Dylan: Well, I noticed you’ve been writing a lot about how to get attention with emails and you came up with that weird thing, ABDO (Attention-Based Direct Outreach). But I have some ideas on the topic that I thought might be relevant. From what I can see, it’s all about getting people’s attention. And that’s my specialty.
Robert: Yes, Dylan, thanks for your help with this topic. I know it’s an issue for most self-employed professionals.
Dylan: You bet! Half my life is about trying to get your attention. So I’m an expert. (The other half is about finding a comfortable place to sleep.)
Robert: So you know a lot about getting attention. Great. What can you share with my readers?
Dylan: Well, first of all, it’s all about looking adorable, cute, playful, and huggable. You’re a complete sucker for that stuff.
Robert: That I am. But how would we translate that into an email or blog post?
Dylan: You might start with pictures of dogs, of course. Looks like you’ve done that already, so good start!
Robert: OK, great, some graphics to grab attention. So what’s the next thing to draw the reader in?
Dylan: Don’t you notice that I’m always smiling? I have a sense of humor. So play with me, tickle me, or give me a toy. I want to have fun. Otherwise, I get bored.
Robert: Right, so I need to have fun with my readers. Is that what you’re saying, to add some playful humor?
Dylan: No kidding, genius. Look, I know what you write about is very serious stuff, but give me a break. People read serious stuff all day long. Add a little levity and you’re gonna get their attention. Hardly anyone is doing it. So it makes you stand out.
Robert: Brilliant Dylan, but how do I engage my readers in the important stuff, the things that will help them in their business?
Dylan: Well think of all the things you do to get my attention. It’s all about certain words. Treat. Beach. Walk.
Robert: In other words, stuff you would kill for?
Dylan: Exactly. Talk about the stuff that I’m most interested in. I could care less about the stuff you care about like jazz, politics, and dystopian sci-fi. So, for your readers, talk about the stuff that they salivate over.
Robert: Like more clients, more money, easier marketing, having fun in their business, stuff like that?
Dylan: Boy, for a human, you catch on pretty fast.
Robert: Well, I get what you’re saying here. I need to focus on the stuff they want the most and show them how to get it.
Dylan: You betcha!
Robert: Anything else that works to get attention?
Dylan: Well, make it more energetic. You know I love action. I like to play, to run, to wrestle with Meera (Dylan’s sister). So put action into your writing, especially stories.
Robert: Yes, I often do that. Success stories are always a hit: How a client struggled, learned some marketing secrets, and emerged victoriously.
Dylan: Riveting stuff. And then tell people what to do.
Robert: You mean a call-to-action, yes? How do you recommend we get better at that?
Dylan: Well, duh, know what you want and ask for it. When I want to go out, am hungry, or need a run you don’t see me moping around hoping you’ll read my mind. I let you know by barking or jumping all over you.
Robert: Exactly! Well, we have words for that, don’t we? It’s all about making specific requests.
Robert: Hey Dylan, thanks so much for your canine writing wisdom. Looks like you’ve been paying attention.
Dylan: My pleasure! And a final tip: Every once in a while give your readers a rub behind their ears.