One of the goals with every piece of content you create is to make sure people hang on your every word. In other words, you want to make the content engaging so that people read clear through to the end. And this checklist is your key to creating engaging content your reader will love! Check it out…
Stories engage readers on an emotional level, which is a good thing. Stories also make content more memorable. That’s why books like the Bible are told in stories, rather than merely listing a bunch of “do or do not” behaviors.
Keep these points in mind:
· Bring the reader’s senses into the story. For example, if you’re telling bodybuilders a gym story, describe the musky, sweaty-sock smell of the locker room.
· Tell stories with a purpose. For example, tell stories about people who are just like your readers, so that your readers can identify with the subject of the story. These stories can be motivational as you explain how someone just like your reader overcame the same problem your reader is experiencing.
Use a Conversational Tone
Write as if you’re talking to a friend. Keep these tips in mind:
· Inject humor. But do so sparingly, as humor doesn’t always translate well across different cultural groups, or even to people who don’t share the same sense of humor as you do.
· Avoid stuffy language. Don’t flash your big words just to impress your readers. It won’t impress them if they need to get a dictionary out just to understand what you’re saying.
You can engage your reader’s imagination and make the content much more engaging by coming up with creative ways to describe and explain concepts.
For example, don’t just say something is “slow.” Instead, say it’s “slower than a snail carrying a backpack full of molasses.”
Surprise the Reader
Your reader has mind on all sorts of other things. He’s only half paying attention to what he’s reading. So if you can surprise him in some way, you’ll be able to get a hold of two of his most important assets: his time and attention.
Here are three ways to surprise the reader:
· Say something he didn’t expect. For example, most dieters expect they’ll have to give up their favorite desserts to lose weight. So you’ll surprise readers if you say something like, “Lose weight while you eat chocolate cake!”
· Share a startling fact. For example, if you’re writing an article about how to stop smoking, you might share data about how many people are killed by smoking each year.
· Use surprising words. Simply injecting single surprising word is sometimes enough to grab attention. For example, instead of saying something is “big,” you might say it’s “ginormous.”
Arousing your readers’ curiosity keeps them hooked and engaged. And this is especially true if you follow a pattern of arousing curiosity… satisfying that curiosity… then arousing curiosity again about something else…satisfying that curiosity… and so on.
Be sure that when you arouse curiosity, there is ALWAYS a payoff. If you don’t reward your readers by satisfying their curiosity, they’re simply going to stop reading.
So here are examples of how to arouse curiosity:
· Tell readers they’ll get a benefit, but don’t tell them how they’ll get that benefit. This works even better if it does against what people expect. For example, “Double your conversion rates… without touching a word of your sales letter!”
· Get them excited about a “secret.” People are naturally curious when it comes to a secret. That’s why merely using words like “secret,” “discover” and “reveal” will arouse curiosity. For example, “You’re about to discover the ancient dieting secret that boost your metabolism fivefold!”
· Ask them a question that arouses curiosity. For example, “Are you making these parenting mistakes?”
· Use a question mark. The idea here is to share a benefit that seems almost unbelievable, and then use a question mark at the end. It’s not so much of a question as it is a way to arouse curiosity.
For example: “Lose weight without hunger pangs?”
· Create a cliffhanger. This works particular well when you’re telling a story. For example, “So how much money did Suzy make with her first Facebook ad campaign? The answer is pretty surprising. I’ll tell you about it in just a few moments, but first [pivot towards some other related topic]…”
Avoid Passive Language
Passive language puts people to sleep. That’s why you’ll want to use the “active” voice, where there is a definite person or thing performing a specific action.
Let me give you a couple examples:
Passive: The phone was answered.
Active: John answered the phone.
Note: Whenever you have a phrase like “was answered” (was [verb]), you have a passive sentence. Rewrite it to tell your readers WHO answered the phone, as in the active example above.
Passive: The bill was paid on Tuesday.
Active: I paid the bill on Tuesday.
See how that works? Simply put, your readers will quickly discover that a whole paragraph or page or more of passive content is difficult and boring to read, so be sure to write using an active voice.
Use Reader-Oriented Language
Readers really don’t care about you. They’re primarily interested in you to the extent of wondering how you can help them solve their problems. That’s why you want to create reader-oriented (rather than author-oriented) writing.
How do you do this? Simple: you use the word “you” whenever possible, while avoiding words like “I” and “me.”
For example, here’s an author-oriented “me” sentence: “I will reveal my favorite weight-loss tips to blast fat away!”
Now let’s rewrite that to make it reader-oriented, by replacing the “I” and “me” words with “you”:
“You will discover weight loss tips to blast your fat away!”
Simple, but very effective!
Now that you know how to create more engaging content, your next step is easy – use this checklist to guide you as you create your next piece of content. Your readers are going to love it!