You might have heard what the legendary copywriter David Ogilvy said about having superb writing…
“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.” – David Ogilvy”
Now, even though Ogilvy is talking about ads, the same applies to blog posts.
Because regardless of whether you’re writing a sales page, a blog post, or an email. Your aim is to get the reader to take action. That action might be to buy your product, share your post, or even just reply to you.
But for your reader to take action, they have to read your post, and for them to finish reading your post…
They have to have enough interest and desire to continue to reading your post.
Let’s do a little role play…
Let’s say you run a blog for medium sized eCommerce businesses.
Imagine you’ve discovered a new sales strategy for eCommerce sites that could explode your blog readers income by an amazing 70% within the next 3 months, have customers salivating for their product, and get them free endorsements.
You craft a post on your blog revealing this business booming strategy and how to implement it…
After racking your brain and writing your heart out for what feels like forever. You relish in satisfaction as you hit the publish button.
Your buzzing with excitement when you think of all the supportive emails, shares, comments, likes, and links you’ll get that will send in droves of traffic to your site and propel your subscriber count soaring through the roof.
But somethings up…
Two agonizingly slow days have passed.
You’ve got over 500 views, but no likes, shares and links whatsoever.
Followed by two spammy comments from “Johnny Buttcrack” touting his ” secret trading system” that made him a “bucket load” of money online by working only 2.5 hours a year.
( Yeah, right.)
Your post is as interesting as a picture of a lost buffalo eating grass in a field.
You know what the problem is dontchya?
The content you wrote might have been a life changing treasure but it failed when it came to one crucial thing.
Keeping your reader interested and engaged whilst making your posts (or any type of content) feel like a slippery fun slide vs a brain numbing block of text.
You now have two options when it comes to keeping your reader engaged; hire a professional writer to help you craft powerful content that gets results, or use the actionable steps below to supercharge your writing.
So let’s dive into 5 actionable steps you can take to create, straight for the jugular writing that jumps out of the screen and grabs your readers by the collar, dragging them into your posts.
1. Use the Active Voice
You ever wondered how some sentences have a punchy, fast-paced feeling that keeps you hooked?
Well, one ingredient to creating that pace in your writing is the powerful active voice.
Writing in the active voice is writing sentences in which the subject of the sentence “acts”. (The subject is doing something)
Which is completely opposite to writing in the passive voice. (The subject has something done to it)
The passive voice adds horrible bloat to your sentences and lacks the vigor and strength of active sentences.
Below are some examples of lucky passive sentences that will be given sexy linguistic makeover:
- The bat was swung by John
- The fire was extinguished by Dave
- The documents were searched by Fred
- John swung the bat
- Dave extinguished the fire
- Fred searched the documents
See the difference here?
After their linguistic makeover (ooh la la) these passive sentences became shorter, stronger, and clearer. Making them more entertaining and easy to read.
For more information on the active and Passive voice check out “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White.
2-Use “Slap-You-in-the-Mouth” verbs
Writing is a form of communication, and, in order for our writing to communicate effectively, it must be easy to understand, writing is easier to understand (and more memorable) when it is simple, strong and swift.
Your choice of verbs have a huge impact on how strong and enjoyable your writing is. The right verbs give your post a muscular, grab-you-by-the-throat effect that sucks your reader in like a raging tornado.
And according to legendary copywriter John Carlton
Good copy goes light on adjectives, and heavy on action verbs
The strongest verbs have just one or two syllables, with stress on the second syllable to drive the rhythm of the sentence forward.
For Example: lash,reject,unleash,stomp,destroy,hail,smash.
Check out this example below too see first-hand how the right verbs beef up your sentences.
The toddlers had taken control of the mansion.
He quickly became very angry
The toddlers seized the mansion.
He exploded with anger.
Fascinating how three words can be condensed into one isn’t?
Consistently using powerful verbs throughout your posts will make them more enjoyable, accurate and inject more “ummphh!” into them.
3-Make Your Writing Easy for Monkeys to Process.
Write to the Chimpanzee Brain.Simply. Directly.- Eugene Schwartz
That means making your writing itself and its presentation easy to understand and view.
In his book the art of plain talk, Dr.Rudolph Flesch analyzes what makes writing easy or difficult to read. He advocates that 70-80 percent of your writing should be made up of one or two syllable words which will make it easier to mentally digest.
Now, speaking of mental digestion…
Longer sentences mean longer thoughts. Longer thoughts mean more mental effort is needed to process the information.
Take a look at the structure of the page and paragraphs on this article on the benefits if breathing by Leo Babauta from Zen habits.
The zen habits page is crisp, clear and beautifully simple.
- There is plenty of white space.
- There isn’t any visual noise.
- The paragraphs are short and sweet.
- The sentences are simple and concise.
Compare them to this horrific excuse for page.
- The sentences stretch too far across the screen putting excess stress on the eyes.
- The color is inconsistent and wild looking
- The background looks like it was edited by a 4 year old who just learned how to use Photoshop.
It’s just. BLUERGH.
Using short sentences and action verbs creates, hard-hitting, butters-smooth copy that readers can’t resist. Combine that with short paragraphs (3-4 sentences max) and you’re giving readers a tasty looking, engaging post that feels warm and welcoming, when compared to an intimidating chunk of text that makes them hurriedly click on the big red X button.
4- Dump Corporate Language in the Bin
Everyone who is reading your writing wants something out of it. They don’t care about how intelligent or well-educated you are. They want to talk to someone who understands them. Someone who they can relate to and feel a human connection with.
And according to a survey by the National Center for Educational Statisics “40 to 44 million adults have literacy competency skills at the lowest level.” They can understand only the simplest written instructions.
So, over-complicated corporate speak kills the relatability of your writing and makes it harder for readers to bond with you through your words.
Corporate speak can be spotted by its:
- “Fluff” words with no solid meaning
- Unnecessary adjectives
- Sleep inducing bloated sentences
- Large chunks of text that are hard on the eye.
- Over-complicated words
Remember all these things murder your readers attention.
They are to be terminated on site.
Take peek at the paragraphs below.
Would you like to make an extra $10,000 a month importing almost any product of your choice? (Well I’ve been doing so for almost a decade now and have taught my wife Amy how to aswell) Then keep reading. By the time you finish this special report you’ll be well on your way to creating your own importing empire!
Now read this.
If you have an extremely strong desire to obtain an extra of $10,000 a month through importing a vast array of products of your own choice, pay careful attention to this special report providing privileged unprecedented information that is unavailable elsewhere to you.
You see the difference?
Regardless of your readers educational background, simple words and shorter sentences make reading smoother for everybody.
Dr.Flsesh also advocates using definite words. This means using nouns, pronouns, verbs and names to make your writing as specific as possible. The more specific you are, the less processing your reader has to do to understand your message.
For example, instead of:
Want to acquire an aesthetically appealing physique?
Do you want to pack on up to 10-30 pounds of rock hard rippling muscle within a year?
Got it? Good.
5-Inject Emotion by Arousing Your Readers Senses
Which of these sentences is more exciting and interesting to you?
1: You get a delicious smooth Heaven’s chocolate bar that you’ll never forget.
2: You’ll lose yourself once the luscious ,mouth-watering taste of Heaven’s smooth abd rich chocolate seductively melts in your mouth. Caressing your taste buds and lifting your body and soul into “heavenly” indulgence.
Answers obvious isn’t it? The second paragraph is bursting with powerful sensory adjectives. These adjectives create bright, clear, impactful images and feelings.
They allow your reader to picture and feel what you say in their minds which creates something amazing.
It creates an experience.
When reading the first example above. You just saw words across a screen that you processed, it kinda sounded like a marketing claim too, however…
The second sentence arouses feelings and emotion. The words purposefully push visual and kinaesthetic buttons in your brain. Making you picture chocolate slowly melting in your mouth, making you feel the rich, sweet texture gliding along your tongue. It grabs you by the hand and takes you on a sensory journey.
Which makes your writing more “tangible” and more of an emotional experience.
Emotional experiences are created by using the following senses:
- Visual ( sight)
- Auditory (sound)
- Kinaesthetic (feeling or touch)
- Olfactory ( smell)
- Gustatory (taste)
These senses are the “ingredients” of any experience.
In fact, that’s what memory is.
A collection of sensory experiences in your brain.
Think about your first kiss. Maybe you remember the feeling ( Kinaesthetic), or maybe you remember how the person looks (visual), or maybe you remember the smell of their clothes (Olfactory).
Either way, there is a main sensory ingredient that hooks that experience into your brain and makes it a memory.
The secret to skyrocketing the power of your writing lies in activating the sensory elements in your readers brain through your words. Turning up the intensity of these sensory elements is what causes a powerful internal experience that stirs your readers emotional cauldron to the point where they are bubbling with emotion and happily take the action you desire them to take.
Now, go out there and work your magic!
What point did you find the most fascinating and what would you add? Let me know in the comments section below.
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