How to Arouse Interest in Our Letter?

How to Arouse Interest in Our Letter? :

SUGGEST that you can help the reader of your letter and you have his attention.

Tell how and you have his interest.

Prove it and you are likely to have his signature.

AMONG magazine and newspaper writers the acknowledged form of successful short fiction is the “human interest story” - one dealing with primitive passions, the incidents of which are common experience.

Your wash woman and the heiress at boarding school, your office boy and the director of a great railway, are equally—though perhaps differently—affected by it. It deals with fundamentals. It ignores non-essentials.

Human interest it is which packs the playhouse, which makes possible a penny press, which sells millions of magazines. Properly handled, it may be made the basis of nine-tenths of your successful sales letters.

Human interest is a vague term; one difficult to define and even more difficult to apply to a cold commercial proposition. Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to arrive at an understanding is to cite examples taken at random from several different industries.

Let us suppose we are writing to a woman on the subject of boy’s clothing. This is a subject, which lends itself readily to the display line opening described in the preceding chapter, so we will use it, thus:


“About that Boy of yours.”

We have her attention, of that there can be no doubt, for the boy is the most interesting subject in the world to his mother, whether he be an effeminate little bookworm or the neighborhood terror. Now what statement can we next make to turn that attention into interest and lead naturally to our proposition? What little fact of human nature will open her mind, enlist her sympathy, gain her confidence and bring her to look at our proposition from the right standpoint?

“He is arriving at the age when his spirit of manliness asserts itself. You find him imitating his father’s manners—he is using your embroidery scissors to shave with—he is no longer ambitious to be a policeman, but has his eye on the Presidency. Among the serious problems with him today is this: he is beginning to want manly, square-cut ‘grown-up’ clothes. He is no longer satisfied with ordinary boys’ clothes. He wants something ‘like father’s.’ ”

That is human interest. We touch upon that pathetically humorous period of transformation between childhood and youth in order that we may bring our reader to approach the subject of her boy’s clothes from the boy’s own viewpoint.

How to Arouse Interest in Our Letter?