You’ve worked hard to bring visitors to your website, but once they read your website copy, do they stay? And even more importantly, have you aroused their emotions? Have you made an indelible impression, so they remember you long after they’ve left your site? And have you impelled them to act? Fear not! Use these 5 indispensable tips when you write your next piece of content. You’ll hook your visitors’ attention, knock them out of their emotional stupor, keep them reading until the very end, and become unforgettable.
1. Share a Great (but Brief) Story
Storytelling has been around since the beginning of mankind, and for good reason. Stories allow us to feel, see, smell, and sense a place, event, or thing without being physically there. Researchers have even discovered how storytelling synchronizes your listeners’ brain activity with yours. When you tell a good story and feel sad, your readers also get sad. When you’re elated, they’re elated. Want to be memorable? Use a story! A 1969 study tested how well students remembered information that was either contained in a list of words or embedded in a story. The results indicated that the students could only recall 13% of the information immediately after studying the word list, but they remembered 93% when the same information was embedded in a story. That’s a 7-fold increase in memorability! When crafting a story to include in your website copy, you should:
- Keep it Brief
You need to focus on your readers, so keep your stories brief and succinct. No one wants to read through 20 paragraphs describing a single event. As a general rule, limit your story text to less than 20% of your content. This is a general guideline, however, so use your best judgment. Eliminate all unnecessary details. After you’ve written your story, review it and eliminate all events, descriptions and off-topic tangents that don’t strengthen the story.
- Use Emotional Words
Which of these examples helps you better understand and even feel the cold? “The piercing cold sliced through my skin like a lariat lined with razors” Or “It was so cold” Pepper your stories with concrete, descriptive words that paint a picture in your readers’ minds.
2. Use Direct Verbs
Scan through your copy and eliminate all weak and indirect verbs. They dilute your message and bore your reader. Here are some examples:
- He was running -> He ran
- Make it clear -> Clarify it
- This book is helpful -> This book helps you…
Look for and eliminate most instances of:
- “is”: “My book is an example of” -> “My books demonstrates…”.
- “There is / are”: There are a lot of people who think.. -> “Many people think”
3. Use Emotional Adjectives & Avoid Wimpy Adverbs
Poor writers try to prop up their weak adjectives with ineffective adverbs. Don’t do that! Replace your weak adjectives with powerful, emotion-evoking words. Here are some examples to guide you:
- It was really bad -> It was horrendous
- It was so hard -> It was arduous
- She’s not very intelligent -> She’s a moron
4. Break It Up
Readers want to easily scan your content, so limit the length of your paragraphs. Paragraphs that contain between 1-3 sentences are ideal. Using short paragraphs also forces you to make each word count. You won’t be tempted to write a long, repetitive, boring tome when you have to make your point in 60 words or less. Readability is a key factor in attracting and retaining your visitors’ attention, so be sure to add pull-quotes, images, blockquotes, lists, and “click to tweet” boxes throughout your content. This breaks the text up even more and creates massive visual appeal.
5. End with a Compelling Pep Talk
How many times have you gotten to the end of an article online and saw this line: “What do you think? Share in the comments below”
You just spent all that time crafting a stellar piece of content that engages emotion and entrains your readers with your mindset, and you’re going to end it with a fizzle?
The closing is your last chance to rev up their emotions, remind them of your key points, grab them by the shoulders, and make them get up and take action!
Maybe your reader has been sitting at the computer for hours, apathetically clicking from one website to another.
They’re bored. They’re unmotivated. They’ve seen it all before.
This is your last chance!
Wake them up!
Infuse them with emotion! Shake them out of their stupor and impel them to act now!
The best way to do that is to imagine that you are in your reader’s place.
What words would reach out to you, wake you up, and inspire you?
If you don’t know, get a friend or colleague to review it before you hit “publish”. Ask them if your ending inspired them to act. If not, go back and try again.
The Internet is rife with hum-drum content that no one remembers 10 minutes after they’ve read it.
You have an incredible message to share, so it’s up to you to reach out and enthrall your readers.
Are you just starting out with content marketing? Content marketing quite often takes months of effort before you see the results of your hard work. If you need some inspiration to stay focused and keep going when the going gets tough, take a look at these 50 inspiring quotes about determination and perseverance.
Use these tips to ensure your content stands above the rest, endears your readers to you, and becomes indelibly imprinted in their hearts and minds for days, weeks, or even years. I can’t wait to read your incredible article!