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What is the 4Mat and How Can it Help You Write Better?

We’ve been talking about blogging in this space lately and, of course, one of the points I have to make is that a blog represents more opportunities to start conversations that might lead to a sale. Make sure you include a “Call to Action” in your blog! This might be an invitation to call your sales team, download your free check list, email your sales team for more information, or sign up for your company newsletter. The idea is to get your blog readers to do something – again, you’re trying to start conversations that might lead to a sale.

So that’s my first piece of writing advice for today.

The second is a little tip for anyone who wants to write for more audience engagement. A lot of people struggle with writing and I like to share a template I learned along the way that simplifies it enormously. It’s called the 4-Mat system and it was developed by Harvard researcher Dr. Bernice McCarthy who studied audience engagement. I use it for almost everything I write and here’s how it works:

We all filter the world around us differently and that means different people need different information at different times in order to process what you’re telling them, and in order to engage effectively with your content.

Dr. McCarthy studied thousands of people and determined that if you want to present information in a way that maximizes your chance to engage everybody who might be looking at your information, then you need to do it in a certain order.

Some people are most interested in WHY something is important and if you don’t tell them why they should pay attention to what you are offering first, then they will tune out.

Other people want to know WHAT your topic is about. Although they will sit patiently through an explanation of why it’s important, if they don’t get the “What” information next, then they will tune out.

Still other people want to know HOW something works. And, again, they will plod through the why and what information but if they don’t get the “How” information next, then THEY will tune out.

And, finally, there is a group of people who want to know THE IMPLICATIONS, or the results, of what you’re telling them about. They will listen to why, what and how it all works, but you really need to full circle them to what it makes possible in the world in order for them to truly feel served by your information .

So whenever I write anything, I start with those four headings:


And I put relevant point form notes under each heading. Once I have all the information written down in the right place, I organize each point into a logical order, and then I start writing. I add in an introduction and a conclusion and then I’m good to go!

Does that sound manageable? Would you like some help with your writing? Please send me an email at and let’s have a conversation about how I might be able to support your writing and your business results. With decades of training and experience behind me I am standing by to put my skills to work for your bottom line!


  • Hi Susan : Simone gave me this connection .
    I am using your info around why , what ,how and implications thank you so much ! I am sure our paths will cross in the near future . Blessings Sheilagh

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