Get ready to maximize your writing potential. In this post from CTQ’s Jason H. Parker, you’ll learn seven simple tricks to engage and compel your audience. Learn these basic online writing tips and be amazed at the compliments you’ll receive across CTQ’s virtual community.
Content Your Audience Will Read and Share
Prepare for a content-marketing knowledge bomb.
Actually, I’d bet that you’ve already incorporated many of these simple tricks in your writing (but gentle reminders never hurt anyone).
These seven simple tricks will ensure that you’re creating compelling content that engages your audience and spurs your readers to take a specific action.
Make sure that you don’t forget to ask your readers to act: subscribe to this blog to learn more about content marketing and crafting a compelling blog article.
1. PRIME YOUR WRITING
Here’s a tip that I’ve picked up from one of my mastermind groups: use the power of positive psychology and prime your writing.
It’s simple, takes 30 seconds, and in the very least can help you focus.
Positive priming works because your positive thoughts or actions spread activation within your brain. It can be achieved through associations with a specific positive memory or performing an action that will evoke a positive emotional response within your brain’s neural connectors.
Okay, too technical, perhaps. Did I lose you?
Here are two of my favorite positive priming activities:
- Tell yourself a joke, or recall a time in the last week when a friend made you laugh
- Spend 30 seconds to think about a recent piece of writing where you know that you absolutely nailed it – remember to smile
Now, you’re primed to write compelling and engaging content. It’s okay to let your emotion carry you through your piece – it’s humanizing and your readers will be able to “read between the lines.”
2. USE EFFECTIVE HEADERS
It’s a basic tip, and you’ve heard it a thousand times. So why haven’t you incorporated this into your writing – every post, every online publication. Here’s the thing about publishing on the Internet: your readers are distracted easily, and they’re in control.
Make it easy for them to read your sentences and paragraphs. Seriously.
Breaking up your text with short, concise paragraphs is an excellent idea. Take it a step further and use subheaders to please the eyes of your reader and keep them focused on your content.
3. WRITE SHORT
Is this the shortest possible way to open the paragraph?
No, but it’s probably pretty close. And it gets the point across.
Note my opening sentence for this article. Did it “hook” your attention? If you’re reading this line, and if I was a betting man (but I’m not), I’d bet it did.
4. USE A CRAZY METAPHOR
Don’t use boring metaphors or similes or analogies. They’re worse than whacking your head on a cupboard that your significant other left ajar.
Use visceral, descriptive language in your analogies, and be as creative in your writing as Michelangelo is with his nunchucks (yes, that is a TMNT reference).
5. BRING IT HOME WITH IMAGES
The best images are those that you’ve taken or designed on your own. The worst images are those that you’ve taken or designed on your own.
Both of those statements are true. Does the graphic capture your eye? Will it capture the eyes and attention of your audience? If you answered no to either question, consider finding an image on Creative Commons (here’s an incredible how-to guide on finding compelling images).
6. USE THE SELF-TEST
Back in my startup days, a colleague of mine and I tested all of our content and our customer-facing emails with the “self-test.”
It’s simple: Would you open a link with your headline or your summary? Would you read it all the way through based on the first screen you see when you do click?
You wouldn’t? Well, your audience probably definitely won’t, either.
You would? Wunderbar. Job well done. High five yourself (self-five!) and drink a glass of water in celebration.
7. REMEMBER: WRITING IS ENJOYABLE
I have a friend (let’s call her Jane) that agonizes over writing – absolutely agonizes over the entire process.
It’s painful to listen to Jane’s agony, especially because she’s extremely knowledgable about her subject area and has an impressive established readership.
Yet Jane still spends hours – days, even – attempting to write a perfect post. Often, she’ll end up over-thinking and psyching herself out.
She’s told me on a few occasions “Some people are just not very good writers.”
Baloney. It’s a cop-out to assume that some people are great writers and some aren’t. Virtually everyone can develop the skills needed to write compelling blog posts (heck, if I can learn to do it, so can everyone). I know this is true, because everyone has stories worth sharing – especially YOU.
Writing compelling content is simple, but it’s not easy. Writing is an enjoyable experience – and following these seven simple tricks will help you extract more joy from the writing process.
Let your passions, your interests, and your expertise carry through your writing.
Good writing to you, and if you like what you’ve read, come and join me in the Communications Lab to learn from and with leaders in the CTQ community!