Your writing can not only communicate a message, it can also convey a particular intention. When writing is done well, it can influence and guide readers to take a specific desired action. That’s the power of the written word.
In this module, you’ll learn when and how to use your writing in ways that will enhance your business by leading readers towards particular end results.
- Lesson 1: Engaging
- Lesson 2: Persuading
- Lesson 3: Selling
- Lesson 4: Difficult Situations
Lesson 1: Engaging
Grab Your Readers’ Attention
When you’re communicating through your blog posts, emails, or social media content, you want to engage your readers’ attention so they stick around. Building a following is a great way to build a brand and grow your business. Therefore, your writing needs to draw in your readers and encourage them to take action.
Start by speaking directly to your audience and addressing their needs. The emphasis is always on them, not on you. Only share information about yourself that is appropriate and helps them in some way.
Be relevant to your readers and give them what they’re asking for, not what you assume they want. Tailor your language to the language they use. You identified this in an earlier module, so use this data now to make your content more engaging.
If you’re unsure, use tools like Buzzsumo and Google search to look at what’s engaging readers in your field. Take note of which content is getting the most shares, ranking highest in Google searches, and being talked about most online.
Guidelines for Writing Engaging Content
Here are some key ways you can keep your writing engaging:
- Use first person (I, me, etc.) and second person (you, your, etc.) For example, when you use the words ‘you’ and ‘your,’ readers know you’re talking specifically to them, so they’re more likely to engage right away. If you start talking too much about yourself (I, me, my), they may tune out unless it’s a particularly interesting story they can relate to. Always keep the emphasis on them and what they want.
- Write attention-grabbing headlines. This is especially important when you want to engage people. We looked in a previous lesson at ways to structure the headline, such as “How To …” and “7 Ways To …”
Another way to make an impact with your headline is to use language that relates to the challenges your readers are facing. This will work especially well in your blog posts and articles. For example:
Want to find more hours in a week?
Need to bring in more income fast?
Can’t cope with your work load?
Always ask yourself, “Would this entice me to read on?” If the answer is no, go back and revise.
- Use the active voice. As we’ve said before in the course, the passive voice should be reserved for scientific or academic publications. Passive voice sounds exactly that: passive. It also tends to make sentences sound awkward. Business writing needs to engage the reader, and you need the more dynamic tone of active voice to do that.
- Use action verbs. An action verb can express something that a person, animal, or object can do. For example, read, look, sing, hop, shout, dream. An example of a non-active verb would be belong, know, feel, prefer, love.
- Use sensory and emotional words to help readers picture or feel something. Sensory words are more powerful because they make your reader see (gloomy, dazzling, sparkling), hear (thumping, pounding), smell (fragrant, pungent), taste (zesty, bitter), or feel (fluffy, gritty) your words. They are often used in novels when the author needs to paint a picture of a scene, and they can be successfully used in business writing, too.
- Add rhythm to your writing. Punctuation and the stress patterns of words in a sentence dictate rhythm. Long sentences sound smoother, while short sentences make your content snappier. Vary the structure to bring more interest to the piece. Read it out loud to hear the tempo within the text.