Perhaps you’ve heard the famous quote of copy-king David Ogilvy –
“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”
Here, although Ogilvy referred to writing ads, the same goes for your blog posts.
Why, you ask?
Because, no matter what you’re writing – a sales page, email, or blog post, the ultimate goal is to make your reader take an action. And that action could be buying your product, sharing your post, or even as simple as sending you a reply.
That said, before your readers take action on your piece, you have to make them consume your stuff. And for them to consume your content… you have to be able keep their interest and desire up.
Now, let’s stage a small role play –
Let’s say you have a blog for mid-size e-Commerce businesses.
Picture that you found a new sales approach for e-Commerce businesses that will skyrocket your audience’s earnings by a whopping 70% over the course of next 3 months. It will make their audience drool over for their products, and land them free endorsements.
You write up a blog post, shedding light on this approach, and how they can put it to use.
After punishing your brain cells and pouring your heart out on the piece, you finally bang the publish button.
You’re exploding with excitement thinking about all the appreciative emails, likes, comments, and shares, and backlinks you’ll receive, that’ll make people flock to your site, and ramp up your number of subscribers.
But something is not right…
Two excruciatingly slow days went by.
Your page views are somewhat over 500 words. But zero likes, appreciating comments, shares, or links.
Coupled with 2 spammy comments from “Craig Johnson” boasting about his lethal trading method that made him a fortune, with 2 hours of work every decade.
(Sure, why not…)
Simply put –
Your article is as boring as a history teacher droning on a scientific lecture.
But deep down, you know what actually the problem is, don’t you?
Your piece of writing may contain a game-changing nugget, but it went out the window for one crucial thing.
That is – keeping the audience invested.
Your content has to take your reader on a journey, and not offer a dry college assignment-like experience.
Now; in order to keep your reader invested, you’ve got 2 options at your disposal – get help from a professional writer to carve out spectacular pieces that give you results, or follow the below steps to turbocharge your pieces.
Let’s jump into 5 extremely actionable steps you can apply to craft content that punches through the screen and arrest the reader’s attention, and keeps pushing them till the end of the page –
Stick To Active Voice
Ever wondered why you sentences are pack-a-punch, fast-pacing, and keep you glued to the page?
Well, one reason behind formulating such sentences is the ‘mighty’ active voice, where the subject is taking an action. Contrarily, there’s the passive voice (the subject is getting done something to).
Often, passive voice makes your content ambiguous and lose its spark. Here are some blessed stack of passive sentences that I will give beautiful linguistic touch –
- The ball was thrown by Jack
- The bucket was filled by John
- The papers were completed by Neville
Now time for the transformation.
- Jack threw the ball
- John filled the bucket
- Neville completed the papers
Are you getting the difference?
After that constructive overhaul, the passive sentences got shorter, clearer, and heftier. Ultimately, making them easier to digest and more lively.
Deploy Jolting Verbs
Writing is a medium of communicating. And for your writing to communicate powerfully, it has to be easy to digest. And a great way to go about it is making your writing strong, swift, and simple.
The verbs you deploy impact the ‘oomph’ of your writing big time. Using powerful verbs muscles up your proses, and slaps your readers into paying attention.
And as the famed copywriter John Carlton said –
The most powerful verbs contain just 1 or 2 syllables, while stressing the 2nd syllable to move the rhythm of your sentence forward.
For instance: reject, stomp, smash, destroy, hail, unleash, lash.
Take a look at the below example to see how power verbs can muscle up your writing.
Without power verbs –
- The children ran through the zone quickly
- He grew very angry
With power verbs –
- The children aced through the zone
- He exploded with anger
Amazing how you can compress multiple words in one, eh?
Using powerful verbs consistently will make your posts more lively, enjoyable and give it more ‘oomph’.
Make Your Writing Dead Simple
You writing itself and its appearance has to be easy to digest.
Dr.Rudolph Flesch, in his book ‘The Art of Plain Talk’ analyzed what makes writing easy or hard to consume. He encourages that 70% – 80% of your writing should contain 1 or 2 syllable words, making them easier to read.
Also, using longer sentences means conveying longer thoughts. Which translates into more mental effort when consuming.
Michael Brenner from Marketing Insider Group covered this too:
Take a dive at the presentation of the page and paragraphs at: The Benefits of Breathing by Leo Babauta, Zen Habits.
- The page is crisp, on-point, and incredibly simple.
- There’s a lot of white space
- There’s no visual noise
- The paragraphs are snippy & punchy
- The sentences are concise and simple
Now, compare that to this page. Here –
- The sentences are way too wide on the screen, making it harder to read
- The color is eye-stabbing, and amateurish
- The background seems as if designed by a 4-year-old who just learned to Photoshop
HORRIFIC!! – in a nutshell.
Short sentences coupled with action verbs generates a pack-a-punch, buttery-smooth writing that readers find compelling. Top that off with small paragraphs (2-4 sentences), and your readers won’t feel intimidated and engage far more than never-ending text blocks.
Trash Corporate Language
Derek Halpern covered this perfectly:
Every reader is wanting something from your piece of writing. They don’t care if you’re super educated or intelligent. They want to connect with somebody who actually gets them. Someone, who they find more ‘human’.
A survey by the National Center for Educational Statisics revealed that 40 – 44 million adults are very low at their literacy competency level. They only understand the simplest of written pieces.
Meaning, jargons almost always kill the relatibility of your piece, making it more difficult for your readers to connect with you with words.
You can spot such corporate jargons by its –
- ‘Fluff’ words that bear no actual meaning
- Needless adjectives
- Bloated sentences that lull you to sleep
- Huge text blocks that torture your eyes
- ‘Fancy’, teeth-decaying words
Keep in mind that these things hamper your readers’ attention. And it’s crucial you eliminate them right away.
Take a look at the paragraphs below –
1st version –
Do you want to make an extra 10 grand every month by importing about any product you like? (Well, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 12 years and have taught my better half May too) Then read on. By the time you get to the end of your amazing report, you’ll get started on your personal importing business.
Compare that to…
2nd version –
If you have an incredibly robust desire to obtain an extra 10 grand every month through importing a wide-ranging amount of products of your preference, pay utmost attention to this special report delivering confidential unparalleled insights that’s unobtainable elsewhere.
See the difference? The 2nd paragraph got far harder to read.
No matter what your readers’ educational background is, short and simple sentences will work for them.
Dr.Flsesh also suggests to use precise words. Meaning that, using nouns, verbs, pronouns, and names to make your writing clear as a crystal. The more precise your words are, the less brainwork for your readers.
For instance, rather than:
On the lookout for an aesthetically attractive physique?
Wanting to pack on up to 10 to 30 lbs of rock-solid muscle in a year?
Can you spot the difference? Good for you.
Add Emotion by Lifting Up Your Readers’ Senses
Here are some sentences; can you tell which ones are exciting and interesting?
1: You’ll get a delightful smooth Heaven’s chocolate bar you’ll never forget
2: You’ll lose yourself once you bite into the scrumptious Heaven’s smooth abd rich chocolate temptingly on your taste buds and sending you to heaven for the moment.
It’s obvious, right? The 2nd sentence is exploding with powerful adjectives. Adjectives that paint clear, bright, impactful pictures and feelings.
They let your reader imagine and feel your words, which gives birth to something superb. It gives birth to an experience.
When going through the first sentence above, you just felt words on screen you had to process, and it sounded salesy as well. However…
The second sentence incites emotions and feelings. These words decisively force kinaesthetic and visual buttons inside your brain. It paints a picture of chocolate slowly melting on your tongue, and making you feel the sweet, rich texture sliding through your tongue. Simply put – it takes on a sensational journey.
All these transforms your writing into something more tangible and much more of an emotional experience.
Emotional experienced are generated through these senses mentioned below –
- Visual (seeing)
- Auditory (sound)
- Olfactory (smelling)
- Kinaesthetic (touch or feeling)
- Gustatory (taste)
These senses are the triggers to your experiences. What’s more, that’s exactly what a memory is. A pool of sensory experiences inside your brain cells.
Think back to your first kiss. Perhaps you recall the feeling (touch), or remember his/her appearance (visual), or the scent on their clothes (OIfactory).
In both cases, there’s a main sensory element that prints that experience into your brain cells, ultimately, making it a memory.
The trigger to ramping up your writing’s power is in activating the sensory ingredients in your readers’ brain with your words.
Emphasizing on these sensory ingredients is what gives birth to a hefty internal experience that resonates your readers’ emotions to the extent where they start bubbling with emotion and gracefully take the action you want them to.
With all that said, it’s time you go out there and do your magic.
Which point sounds most amazing to you and what else would you like to add? Let me know in the comments below.