Kiss Your Prospects: 7 Steps to Writing Inviting Content
If I am correct, you want to help others and I want to help you in making your business more successful. Writing inviting content that is compelling and converts prospects to clicks and customers is key.
In this post, I want to motivate the copywriter within you so that when someone visits your website (or reads any type of marketing material, for that matter), that person resonates with your message. He or she will gladly read your content instead of moving on and clicking onto a competitor’s site.
As a creative, heart- and soul-centered entrepreneur or business owner, one of the most important tools you have in offering your programs and services is the copy you use to communicate your message.
So the question arises: How do you best express your passion to your audience in a way that reaches out and get results?
There is one magic bullet for communicating your passion, attracting more clients and making a difference in their lives. That bullet is copy—or the words you use to express your message. After all, you can’t have marketing materials—whether it’s a brochure, direct mail letter or a web sales page—without the words, can you?
Mark Twain wrote, “The difference between the right word and almost the right word, is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.” And little has changed since he wrote that.
The KISS Method for Writing Inviting Content
When you want to write compelling copy that is easy for your prospects and customers to read . . . KISS them!
While some people equate this acronym with “Keep it simple, stupid,” I prefer to use “Keep it simple, sweetheart.”
Clarity is extremely important in writing marketing content—be it a brochure, blog, direct mail piece or website. As Herschell Gordon Lewis said in The Art of Writing Copy, “Clarity has to come first, no matter what you’re writing or to whom.”
Dr. Flint McGlaughin puts it this way, “Clarity trumps persuasion.”
You want to create a conversation between you and your audience, but how do you do that when you’re not face-to-face?
Creating Conversation in Your Writing
- One way is to imagine you are sitting across the table from your ideal client and having a conversation. Close your eyes and visualize the scenario. What are the problems your client brings up in the conversation and what are the solutions you offer?
- After visualizing this, sit down with a pen and paper and write down what happened. You’ll have some wonderful copy points to incorporate into your marketing message.
- Keep in mind that the difference between conversation and writing is that during a conversation, you give the other person time to understand what you’ve said. You pause between sentences, repeat yourself and space your ideas apart.
- The secret of writing is to leave space—create these pauses—on paper (or on the Internet).
I encourage you to go to Amazon and pick up a copy of The Art of Plain Talk by Rudolf Flesch. (I got my copy from my mentor Eugene Schwartz back in 1988—it was first published in the ’60s as In the Art of Plain Talk). In that book, he outlined these seven steps that will really help you make your writing inviting. Below is his list combined with my added thoughts.
7 Steps To Writing Inviting Content
1. Use short, simple sentences to start out.
Average sentence length in words:
- 8 words or less is considered very easy
- 11 words – easy
- 14 words – fairly easy
- 17 words – standard (Average Reader)
- 21 words – fairly difficult
- 25 words – difficult
- 29+ words – very difficult
2. Two short sentences are easier to read than one long one.
In direct marketing the rules of grammar may not always apply. (For example, sometimes copywriters use one-word sentences. Break long sentences into shorter ones.) It does depend on your market—if they’re highly educated (i.e., lawyers, educators, etc.), they may be seeking language that is grammatically correct.
I admire what copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis advises about grammar: “Copywriters are communicators, not grammarians. What matters isn’t your knowledge of which tense is which; it’s your knowledge of how to transform the lead of drab fact into the gold of lustrous attraction.”
2a. Break content up so it is easier to read.
One piece of advice I often give when reviewing content (and I know you’ve heard it before—not just from me), is to use bullet points.
When there’s a lengthy paragraph, rather than make your audience plow through that, break it up into easy to read bullet points. Make the content inviting to the readers’ eyes.
3. Be personal. Use the word “you.”
“You” is one of the strongest words in the marketing lexicon. You’re writing to a reader—one who is a current customer or prospect—so talk to that reader. Avoid mentioning “the client” or “the customer.” Let your prospect know you’re talking directly to him or her, one-on-one.
The readers come first—start writing to people (not at them). Incorporate a friendly, conversational tone as if your reader were sitting right there—across the table from you.
In his book, Direct mail copy that sells!, Herschell Gordon Lewis explained, “When you write a letter that says, ‘Only you . . .’, you’ve told the recipient that to you he isn’t a unit, an anonymous number in a computer, a faceless organism with a zip code . . . You also project an attitude of friendliness.”
4. Whenever possible, talk about people.
Tests show that we enjoy, and are better readers when, reading about other people more than about anything else. Sentences can be written so that the logical subject is a person. Use personal pronouns (you, yours, theirs) or human interest words (woman, man, child, girl, boy).
David Ogilvy says you can strengthen your headline by adding emotional words such as darling, love, fear, proud, friend and baby.
5. Use active verb forms that have life in them (i.e., dance, sing, add, run, etc.).
These words make your sentences “move.” Here are some examples:
Passive: The stadium was the site of a rally led by CU’s Buff Boosters today.
Active: CU’s Buff Boosters led a highly-spirited rally at the stadium today.
Passive: The basement was flooded with water.
Active: Water flooded the basement. Or better yet—Water rushed rapidly through the windows, flooding the basement.
Passive: The door was opened by Joe.
Active: Joe opened the door. Or better yet—Joe kicked open the door!
6. Punctuation makes reading easier.
It gets pauses down on paper and stresses important points. Use hyphens, dashes, and ellipses to achieve this effect.
7. Give the reader helpful advice or service.
This tip comes from ad man David Ogilvy, who said, “It hooks about 75% more readers than copy which deals entirely with the product.”
Now you’re ready to KISS your prospects and make your content writing inviting.
Have one you’d like to add to the list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below because I’d love to hear from you.
This is an excerpt from my book Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget™: How to Attract a Steady Stream of Happy Clients, Make More Money and Live Your Dream.
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