Why order matters

If you want to get a message across, you really can’t ignore order. No matter what you’ve got to say, if you get it in the wrong place, no one will ever read it.

Sounds simple, but effective writing is not as easy it seems. The evidence, like this email I got last week,  is all around us.

It was entitled “Rip off Petrol”. That’s clear enough. Then it goes down hill.

The first sentence is an invitation: but to what?

Please see what you think and pass it on if you agree with it.

Then it gets worse. It takes five paragraphs, and 196 words to get to the point.  So first we have to read about an unsuccessful attempt last year. Then we get a little plea to keep reading (ignored by many readers, I suspect) and we still haven’t found out what the email wants us to do. Instead we get another paragraph of background. (I’ve summarised it so you don’t have to read it, but here it is.)

We are hitting £1.35 a litre in some areas now and soon we will be faced with paying £1.50 per litre.

This makes MUCH MORE SENSE (we don’t know what this is yet!) than the ‘don’t buy petrol on a certain day campaign’ that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn’t continue to hurt ourselves by refusing to buy petrol. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work.

Please read it and join in!

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a litre is CHEAP, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS – not sellers control the market place. With the price of petrol going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of petrol come down is if we hit someone in the pocket by not purchasing their petrol! And we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves. Here’s the idea:

And then finally, finally, we get to the point:

For the rest of this year DON’T purchase ANY petrol from the two biggest oil companies (which now are one) i.e. ESSO and BP.

The trouble is, it’s probably too late for a lot of readers.

How much more effective it could have been if the writer had given a little thought to the order and started off with the main point. Then we know why we’re reading.

For the rest of this year DON’T purchase ANY petrol from the two biggest oil companies (which now are one) i.e. ESSO and BP.

Why? We are hitting £1.35 a litre in some areas now and soon we will be faced with paying £1.50 per litre.

The only way we are going to see the price of petrol come down is if we hit someone in the pocket by not purchasing their petrol! And this way we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves.

If Esso and BP are not selling any petrol, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact we need to reach literally millions of Esso and BP petrol buyers. It’s really simple to do!!

Whether it’s a great idea or not is beside the point. Unless you think about how to structure your ideas, a lot of them will never get read.


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