Such was the case with Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by comic geek Scott McCloud.
I loved comic books as a kid and my daughter is a manga (Japanese comics) fan so I figured this book would shed some light on the magic of this art form.
As it turns out, there are some email copywriting tips here for you too, even if you’re not a fan of comics.
Scott says that each cartoonist must make five choices before drawing a cartoon.
As a copywriter you should try to make these same five choices before writing an email:
1. Choice of Moment – This is about showing the moments that matter and cutting those that don’t.
While writing email copy you could call this Choice of Benefit. Focus on only one product benefit in the email. Save your list of bullets for the sales page.
2. Choice of Frame – Showing readers what they need to see and creating a sense of place.
When possible, an email should have a time and place. For example, an opening like, “The other day at Starbucks it occurred to me that…”
This makes your email more personal and of the moment and less like a canned email.
3. Choice of Image. Creating pictures to fill the frame and bring the world of your story to life visually.
An email copywriter does this by deciding what he wants the reader to imagine, such as a fit body, tomato plants overflowing with ripe, healthy tomatoes every August, etc.
Then tell a story or use a metaphor to create a word picture about it so that the reader can visualize it.
The word “imagine” is one of the most powerful words at an email copywriter’s disposal. For maximum impact use it at the beginning of a sentence.
4. Choice of Word. Communicate your ideas and story in a seamless way.
Which type of words should you use to do this? Ten cent words, of course.
And stay away from adjectives and adverbs. Use nouns and verbs instead.
5. Choice of Flow. Clearing your reader’s path of obstacles for a smooth reading experience.
For an email copywriter this means using short paragraphs (one or two sentences).
Insert links in the copy in a way that feels natural, not intrusive, and include a question before the link, such as “how does that sound?”
Better yet, insert only one link in the body of the email, near the end.
Use a line width of 50-65 characters for ease of reading.
Typos and sloppy grammar interrupt flow.
I often use this email structure to ensure a smooth flow: An opening that sets the frame, story, transition sentence or question, short pitch, link, P. S.
As Scott says, storytellers want readers to understand us and we want them to stick around.
This requires clarity and persuasion. If you follow those five tips you’ll be well on your way.