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Great Toasts and Great Writing—One and the Same

April 23rd, 2014 by

toast

Life is filled with many occasions, some of them formal, some of them simple, and so many of them simply grand. Well written and eloquently delivered toasts can help acknowledge the spirit of the moment, and radiate the joy felt by all.

When you hear a great toast, you just know it. You feel connected and united by the words when well delivered with the elegance, humor, insight, passion and more that everybody expects and needs.

Great content has the same spirit. When you read the great stories, you know it. Great stories find their way to the top of best seller lists for a reason. Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) find the best content and list it on the top. Social trends point us to what’s hot, and what’s not, on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and more.

Creating the right words for the right occasion can be difficult. Toasts need to demonstrate respect, adoration and love without being the center of attention. Copy needs to connect with readers, and keep them coming back for more. And more. And more.

Here are four rules for creating a great toast:

1.)    Concise Story. Writing is re-writing my dad used to always say. Every word needs to connect with every listener. The story needs to build up to a clever end. No long tributes or lifetime achievements please. Keep it 60 seconds or less.

2.)    Be Direct.  When toasting individuals in the group, directly face them, not the audience. Toasts are not stages for you to preform.

3.)    Just Say No. Never use a toast to ridicule, embarrass or bring a friend or loved one to tears. This might mean saying no if asked to join the band wagon of fraternity brothers in a roast session. Also avoid breakfast toasts under all circumstances.

4.)    Etiquette Rules. Coffee cups and beer mugs– No. All the glasses filled at the table before the toast– Yes. Study up on all the toasting etiquette for every occasion.

Here’s the quick application of those rules to writing, drawing the parallel:

1.)    Concise Story. Your home page should tell your story, in 500 words or less. Same with your About page. If you can’t summarize your business story and value proposition in thirty seconds to one minute, you’re on a sinking ship.

2.)    Direct Presentation. When in Rome, do as the Romans. Your content needs to be written and directed to specific target audiences. Trying to be everything to everyone just does not work.

3.)    Just Say No.  Stop selling. Instead, start listening to the informational wants and needs of your customers. Help them find and access info for different stages of the buy cycle.

4.)    Etiquette Rules. AP, Chicago or Elements of Style– Yes. Spelling errors, syntax issues or slang– No. Run your copy through a copy editor to gain the respect and earn the trust of your readers and fans.

When it comes to great toasts, there’s a clear path to cheers. Same with great writing. But if you don’t follow these tips and advice, you’re likely toasted!

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