Proven Tips to Increase Your Reader’s Interest
Clients often ask me what will make their copy stand out from everyone else’s. It’s true that we are inundated with information, ads and calls to action constantly.
What is it that makes us click that social media ad? What is the difference between cold, redundant copy, and copy that resonates and evokes enough emotion to keep people reading?
In honesty, there are hundreds of methods and slight nuances that contribute to enticing business copy. It’s a honed skill. But if you are just starting to create copy for your business, here are nine basic ways I recommend to making your copy voice shine:
1. Varied Sentence Length
This is one of the best pieces of writing advice ever (#wordnerd). I became familiar with this idea long ago from Gary Provost’s 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing: Proven Professional Techniques for Writing with Style and Power.
And I can’t say enough how true it is that varying your sentence length adds loads of rhythm and drama to your writing.
I have horrendous spelling. Here I am a writer, saying I have trouble spelling out words sometimes. Despite this seemingly significant setback, I’m a writer anyway. And regardless of this admission, I am damn good at it. I can render emotion far better in writing than I’ve ever been able to do as a speaker. I find it easy to voice myself in writing and I’m a master at writing for business purposes. Conversely, I’m intimate with Grammarly and Grammar Girl. I don’t use this truth as the opening line in my bio, mind you. But it does fit nicely in this blog and to my point.
If you aren’t sure about sharing something relevant that might be seen as a black mark on your business, find a way to do it that will keep you transparent while also showcasing all the other things you are AMAZING at in your business. People will trust and appreciate a business that can churn out an honest piece of content.
3. Personal Stories
This one is my favourite. I also believe it is the most impactful way to set yourself apart. By telling a personal story that is relevant to your content topic, you humanize yourself to your audience. Your story will attract those with like-stories, show vulnerability and transport your audience from stranger to friend. Personal stories create relationships. Relationships create trust. Trust creates buyers.
Your clients need to feel secure and assured they are in good hands. If content conveys your knowledge of your trade, people will feel you are in expert status. Content that is too generalized or too laden with catch-phrases or cliches will seem flimsy and you will blend in.
5. Concise Language
Keep the length of most of your content short. Short. Short. Not sure if it’s short enough? Make it shorter. Nuff said.
6. Key Messages
Your primary purpose should be front and centre of all your business content channels. If you can’t articulate what you do/offer/sell in three bullets or less, your clients aren’t going to have a clue what you do, or what the point of that fancy three-fold brochure really is. (Also, please stop using brochures. Just. Stop.) More on that in a different post.
7. Reputable Sources
When your writing lacks evidence, it erodes trust. If you are making a claim you need to back that up with more than “because I said so”. Your own opinion can work on an intrinsic level if you’ve built authority, but not ever referring to other similar expert opinions and research will make your content sound hollow.
8. Other Perspectives
Your voice is so important. I’ve shoved that down your throats a lot now. But it DOES matter to have the opinions, perspectives and testimonials from others in at least some of your copy. Testimonials are the easiest way to bring in varied perspectives. But if you don’t have testimonials yet or don’t like using them, you can try these ways of inserting other perspectives into your content:
- guest blogger
- quotes from well known/respected gurus of your business
- opt. Ed blogs: you take a perspective other than your own from an article or blog, talk about its merits and pitfalls and then explain your own, differing perspective
9. Respect for Your Audience
I’ve been known to throw a few f-bombs in my content now and then. But I promise I will never direct them AT you. I’ve seen potentially good content go off the rails by some bad judgement calls on the writer’s part.
Swearing at readers is a more obvious no-no, but watch out for language that is or can be interpreted as bias. Stacie Heaps writes: “Bias is prejudice toward or unfair characterization of the members of a particular group.”
Be careful to ensure your writing isn’t sexist or racist, and that you are referring to segments of people in the most current, socially acceptable manner.
If you want to improve your content even more you can take the Energetic Marketing Type Quiz and learn how to market your business more easily and effectively using the principles of your unique type.