Yesterday I was a few minutes late to our Mentor class call. My trusty partner Denise asked what happened. My only excuse was watching Rafael Nadal play tennis on TV over at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells. A poor excuse, I admit, but look at it this way: you can learn a lot about writing for your blog, articles, and white papers from the game of tennis.
- Keep your eye on the ball. "See" the lines, the net and your opponent, but always keep your eye focused on the ball. When writing you must "see" your outline, your stories, and your structure, but keep your focus on the purpose of your writing project.
- Serve with force into the server box. If your serve is superior in speed, power, and accuracy, you won’t have to worry about your ground strokes. The same goes for writing a strong headline. If you craft a powerful compelling headline, you don’t have to struggle so much with the content.
- Hit the ball to where they are not. If the opponent comes to net, lob the ball high and deep. Or, make them run from side to side. Same with content: keep them guessing, use variety, and give them information or a perspective they don’t already have.
- In tennis, he who hits the ball within the lines last wins the point. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be pretty. You just have to outlast the opponent. In copywriting, it is often he who gets the most clicks or responses from the reader. That’s it, results count. Your writing doesn’t have to be pretty, just effective. Persist.
- Follow through with your strokes. Forehand or backhand, that usually means from low to high. In writing for the web, you also need to follow up with people who respond. In blogs, thank them for participating in the conversation. For sales copy, make sure your autoresponder confirmation is personable and clear about next steps. Follow through with subsequent messages to ask for feedback.
I could go on and on, but I’d like you to have a try at this fun game. How is writing like…[your favorite sport]?