If you’re online, then you need to write snappy, engaging, interesting copy. It’s an important part of the business. For many people, facing a blank screen is confronting, even excruciating. If this is you – relax. These six strategies will help get your writing juices flowing.
1. Who are you writing for?
Even before your fingers hit the keys, work out who you are writing for. Is it customers? Colleagues? Prospective customers? As Henri Junttila from Wake Up Cloud suggests, “Imagine sitting across from your ideal reader and having a cup of tea. Answer their questions, anticipate their worries, and write only for them. Exclude the people that aren’t right for your writing.”
Example: Keep one person in mind. It could be a client who asked a question, or an imaginary person who holds several characteristics you like in readers and customers.
2. Address a Deep Need
This is an oldie but a goodie. The best copy solves the problems of your readers. “What is a pain point, problem or deep need that you can address in your article?” asks Junttila. “What do your readers want? What problems are keeping them from achieving their goals? What’s keeping them up at night? Dig deep and you’ll find gold.”
Notice the headlines that get your attention. What elements made you stop scanning and start reading? “There’s a formula for writing headlines,” says Henri Junttila. “The same ones are used over and over again for a reason.
Use them, make them your own, and your inbox will be full of praise from enthusiastic readers.”
“You need to have a strong opening that keeps your readers attention,” advises Henri Junttila. “Jump right into a story with some drama and keep people hooked until the end.” Write as though it’s a thriller. Ask what is at stake, set up roadblocks and then give the payoff.
Example: Brian Clark writes: “The massive pool of blood in my head pressed precariously against my brain. The doctors marveled that I was alive, much less walking and talking.”
5. Call to Action
“Once your article ends, you have to be clear about what you want your reader to do,” advises Junttila. “Do you want them to share your article, sign up to your newsletter, or simply use what they’ve just learned? Your article needs to have a goal.”
“Go through your article multiple times and cut out the fluff,” says Henri Junttila. “Write your first draft, sleep on it, rewrite, sleep, and rewrite.” Write like you speak. Cut out superfluous words such as ‘however’ – do you ever use it in conversation? Coming across filler words is like getting a red light in traffic. It slows you down.
“In order to improve your writing and improve the results you get, you have to implement what you learn.” Yup, that old practice makes perfect wisdom applies to writing. In no time, it’ll be like brushing your teeth. Automatic.
Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1280072