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Worditude Weekly Swipe

The Prime Minister’s Letter

Welcome to The Weekly Swipe.

In this edition I’ve analysed the Prime Minister’s Coronavirus letter sent to all UK households last week.

Praise-worthy because:

a) The copy strikes the balance between authoritative and relatable - look how it starts with a very formal letterhead from Downing Street, and ends with an informal signature, without the name and title printed underneath which would usually end a formal letter.

b) It is a good opportunity for you to read between the lines and figure out, what does the sender want us to Know, Feel and Do by the end of this letter.

c) It repeats some phrases you may have already heard in previous Government statements, to ensure consistency of messaging.

Open the image to read the copy yourself - along with my annotations.

Engagement Hook Checklist:

The chance to win - no - there are no winners here.

Avoidance of loss - absolutely and interesting that they make a generalized statement ‘save as many lives as possible’ - they don’t get emotive by identifying at risk groups, or asking you to think of your loved ones.

Sense of self - Not really - but keep an eye out for posts on social media that say ‘I stayed home all day today, re-post if you did too’ - these are all about encouraging the right behaviour AND self-expression.

Community and belonging - Yes - ‘It is with that great British spirit……’ (you can almost hear Jerusalem playing in the background).

Efficient fulfillment of basic needs - Yes - Because at times of crisis our first thought is ‘what can I do’ - and this letter is all about answering that question.


FOMO - Everything about the letter communicates a sense of urgency - particularly ‘at this moment of national emergency, I urge you’.

Curiosity - Yes - even in a communication as serious and straightforward as this. The opening line generates curiosity ‘what are those steps, please tell me’.

Last thing to note which I forgot to mention in the video - this letter does not cut straight to the chase. It still takes the time to hook interest with curiosity in the opening line. Then meets the reader where they’re at, engages their attention, with 3 sentences that the reader will deeply resonate with, before leading into why we need to take certain action, and then telling us what that action is.

(Want to know more about
the 7 Human Engagement Triggers (aka What Humans Want) - click here)

See the letter for yourself here:

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