how to go out in style with your ending

how to go out in style with your ending

reader comments (39)

  1. by default, i believe that would be inspire – although i think blog posts on thursdays probably should spell things out 🙂

  2. i agree with everything you say except for the almost offhand comment “do a quick outline.”

    no! outlines are death for writers. your strategy of “working things out in your head” makes a lot more sense.

    i’m a writing & editing coach and i spend a lot of time undoing the damage done by high school teachers who wrongly obsessed on outlines (and forced their captive students to do the same). this wrongheaded technique consistently messes up otherwise good writers.

    instead of outlining, people should be creating mindmaps. this technique — which is super-easy to learn — encourages creativity and makes writing easier, faster and more fun.

    if anyone wants to learn about mindmapping, i offer a free e-booklet on it via my website, http://www.publicationcoach.com
    just go to the “free newsletter” page.

    otherwise, enjoyed your post and thought you did an excellent job of summing up the ways to end an article.

  3. brian;

    depending on what you are writing, the call to action is the only way to end your document.

    if you are writing to persuade, this is a time-tested formula.

    a very interesting study was performed by the scientist howard leventhal on call to actions. it had to do with students and tetanus shots. the results were rather telling.

    cliff hanger: read what i wrote about it here.

    mike

  4. you used all 5.

    1 “endings are crucial because…” = summerize.

    2. “read this post from…” =call to action

    3. “…keys to going out in style” = inspire

    4. “next time we’ll look at the danger…” = cliffhanger

    5. “p.s…” = post script

  5. tom you got it (although i hope someone was mildly inspired by accident). 🙂

    daphne, i agree on outlines, and that’s why i don’t do them. but, some people can’t work things out effectively without putting it down on paper, so some kind of rough outline and stated goal is often better than nothing. i’ve found that mind mapping benefits strong right-brained people the most.

    michael, i’m familiar with that study, and that’s a good post you did on it. and yes, i myself am partial to the call to action as well.

    mike, that inspiration was accidental. 🙂

  6. ask and you shall receive does work! thanks so much brian for this post. i have been waiting for it.

    i am a list and logic person and this is exactly the type of approach i needed. your tips are very helpful and i will definitely refer back to this list.

  7. thanks much for the shout-out, brian!

    a thought on the call to action – unless we’re copywriting for our own enjoyment (and what kind of fun would that be?), ultimately every business piece we write has to include some call to action at the conclusion (buy something. visit something. do something. even wait for something.)

    sometimes it’s smart to begin the call to action much earlier in the process, too.

  8. the “update” on a blog post may not work as effectively as you think. by default bloglines does display updated posts, but it is also possible to turn off this feature off. the new google reader does not display updated posts at all. so, there will be a large percentage of readers who do not see the update.

  9. regardless, just like a “p.s.” an update can catch the attention of a skimmer and prompt a careful reading of the entire post.

  10. hi brian,

    just want to add that, in my experience, mindmapping actually helps left-brained (that is so-called linear, logical) thinkers the most.

    true, right-brained people may find mindmapping faster and more natural to do. but it’s the left-brained people who benefit most because it helps tap into a part of the mind they’ve tended to let atrophy a bit.

  11. the summereyes and call 1-888-4ax-shun are my favorites.

    you cannot be too specific with your instructions to your visitor.

  12. great post brian (as usual). your blog teaches me all i ever wanted to know about copy writing. keep up the good work!

    by the way, have you ever considered writing a book? i’d definitely buy it.

  13. brian,

    excellent tips! i am a huge proponent of strong openings paired with even stronger headlines. so, i unfortunately tend to not spend as much time on my ending.

    i know it makes no sense that i discount the importance of a strong conclusion. i understand that it’s the last thing your readers see, and therefore must be memorable and invoke emotion. i just need a little reminder now and then that it is necessary to spend more time on the concluding pieces (not saying that time should be plucked from the development of a strong headline or opening paragraph).

    so really, you’re serving as the little reminder-string around my finger!

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