Focusing on WIIFM in Your Business Writing
If you want to engage your readers, make sure you integrate a little WIIFM. The marketing acronym WIIFM stands for what’s in it for me. Figuring out what’s going to engage your readers often takes a bit of thought.
To make people care, you must first be able to answer the question yourself. Why should they care? Then put your answer right in the lead or even the headline.
If you’re selling a product or service, for example, zero in on the problem it solves. So rather than your press release headline saying
New Widget Model to Debut at Expo Magnus on Thursday
Widget 175F Day-to-Night Video Recorder Ends Pilfering Instantly
If you’re raising money for a non-profit, you may be tempted to write a letter to previous donors that begins like many you probably receive:
For 75 years, Little White Lights has been helping children with learning disabilities improve their capacities, live up to their potential, and feel more confident about their educational future.
But don’t you respond better to letters that open more like this?
For his first five years of school, Lenny hated every second. He couldn’t follow the lessons, so he stopped trying and even stopped listening. But this September Lenny starts college — because the caring people and non-traditional teaching at Little White Lights showed him how to learn. He’s one of 374 children whose lives we transformed since our not-for-profit organization was established, with your help, nine years ago.
The second version works better not just because it’s more concrete but also because it takes account of two factors that all recipients probably share: a concern for children, and a need to be reassured that their donations are well used.