Why does receiving a letter make my day?
Emails and text messages rule our lives and we communicate at speed. Let me ask you a question though: Would you sit down and take time out to read a handwritten letter, addressed to you personally? Doesn’t a handwritten letter just hit the spot? A handwritten thank you letter makes me so glad I went the extra mile. And what about a love letter when an admirer shared their heart? Those are words to store carefully in boxes and re-read at leisure. Delightful, delicious to pore over, always exciting, strong emotions.
So, whatever happened to letter writing? Is it dying out? Or is it still a powerful way to connect?
Historically, children were encouraged to write letters from an early age in order to communicate. A useful by-product of this kind of communication was improved social and handwriting skills. Some people were prolific letter writers; from Elizabeth I (estimated 3,000 letters) to Horatio Nelson (5,000 of his letters survive) and Queen Victoria (3,700 letters written to her eldest daughter alone). And then there was Paul the Apostle who wrote a large section of the Bible in the form of letters.
Our national curriculum still requires that children learn to write formal letters. Writing letters is a task that still holds a special appeal for children. Sending and receiving letters is fun. Putting letters into the post box and then having a response delivered by the postman…the brightly coloured stamps, seeing your name on the envelope and knowing that inside is a long-awaited letter from someone special. It shows someone cares and has taken the time to sit down and think about you.
Handwritten letters have a charm of their own. You can take time to think about what you want to say. You can keep letters to read again and again. You can admire the handwriting; share dreams and thoughts. Responding by letter is very different to the immediacy of a text message or an email.
Nowadays, many shrink from formal letter writing because blunders would go undetected by a spelling and grammar checker. Email is so much safer. The fear of looking silly and being exposed and judged is – I believe, the deadliest enemy of letter writing. This vulnerable, thoughtful breed of communication is becoming quite rare. It might be even be on the verge of extinction. There are even societies and organisations out there fighting to keep letter writing alive. And others offering classes in letter writing to build people’s confidence.
Perhaps the nearest we have to the modern-day letter writer is the blogger. Blogging involves an element of risk and vulnerability too. When you blog, you are investing time in your audience and giving away your expertise for free. There is however, a certain risk that:
a) Nobody will read your blog
b) They’ll take your tips and never buy from you
c) They’ll criticise or ridicule you for putting your thoughts out there
d) They’ll copy your blog and use parts of it without giving you any credit
However, on the flip side blogging – like letter writing, is a great way of maintaining a more personal connection with your audience. Helping a reader solve their pain point builds rapport and a chance of engaging with them.
Blogging can convert traffic into leads and leads into customers. You can “warm up” your cold calls and traffic from other sources. If someone receives your cold call, they may be more receptive if they’ve read your blog and received value from it.
Blogging helps you to stand out from the competition. Separate yourself from the majority that don’t blog and enjoy the following benefits:
Make yourself an expert in your field
The best blogs are ones with a thriving, active presence and regularly updated content. One great way to show your expertise is to include a case study from your own experience in the format of: ‘How [company] [did amazing thing] [despite obstacle/in short time period/in surprising way].
Write a book without even trying
Once you have been blogging for a while, you’ll probably have enough material to start thinking of publishing a book. First, decide on the angle of your book and write a content plan (what are the chapters going to be about). Now, find the published blog posts relevant to the chapters you’ve outlined and copy and paste into a Word document. Hey presto! Your manuscript is starting to take shape.
Use your blogs as a resource for social media posts
Recycle material from your blogs to create social media posts, saving you time dreaming up fresh ideas for content and in doing so, direct people to your blog.
Help your audience today and tomorrow!
An education professor, Anne E. Cunningham discovered that reading frequently helps you retain knowledge and remember that knowledge later on in life. You just never know when your blog’s hints and tips might come in handy!
Apart from all the above, the obvious SEO benefits of blogging make it a clear winner for your website. Best of all though, I think that writing a regular blog helps people get to know you and relate to your brand on a deeper level. In the same way that a handwritten note endears the writer to the reader, blogging plays an important role in marketing your brand. So, if you need any help with writing a blog just drop us a line at Cre8ion.