March 29, 2018
Content is just content, except when it isn’t just content. Much of the time, the blog posts businesses add to their websites provide relevant and useful information to their current and prospective customer base. They solve problems, educate and inform, just like the mighty Google wants.
However, there are other times when you need your content to be more persuasive in nature. Think landing pages and emails. With this content, you want the people reading it to take a specific action to help guide them through the buyer’s journey (who came up with that goofy term?).
There is something to be said for all content being persuasive to a certain degree, but when you need the reader to sign up, provide an email, or make a purchase, that writing needs to be different, or you won’t get the results you need. Here are some proven tips to use when you need your content to persuade rather than simply educate or entertain.
Keep It Conversational
We go on about writing conversationally a lot here at The Content Company, and for good reason. It should be the goal for any type of content, but it’s crucial if you hope to get people out there to take a specific action. It should be noted that writing conversationally could mean different things to different people.
For our purposes, let’s say that you should write as if you are having a conversation with just one person. Imagine that ideal customer or prospect sitting in front of you and then start writing. There are limits of course; if you routinely drop f-bombs in your daily conversation and are writing a landing page to get people to sign their kids up for a daycare, then you’ll need to modify.
You still need to write to your audience and use language and phrasing that will resonate and help persuade them to take action. Just remember that you’re having a conversation and let the words flow from there and you’ll see much better results because you will create rapport and trust.
Short and to the Point
In order to persuade, you need to keep the reader’s attention. Once that mind starts to wander, it won’t be long before they have clicked away to something else before doing what you wanted them to do. One tip you can use is to write shorter sentences and stay focused on the task at hand.
It’s true that in many cases, longer emails or sales letters have outperformed shorter ones. But we aren’t talking about overall word count. If you read through them you’ll see that the sentences are short and to the point, and they are all laser focused on the offer at hand. It’s easy to get lost in long, rambling sentences, so remember that brevity is your friend.
Organized and Easy to Read
Whatever form your persuasive content writing takes, it needs to be easy on the eyes. When that prospect first sets eyes on your landing page, email or website, she will take in everything as a whole before getting into the details. If the images and text are all bunched up and look disorganized, then the likelihood of anyone diving in and reading your message is slim.
Benefits First; Features Second
One of the oldest and most coveted rules of persuasive content writing is that people buy for benefits, not features. Everyone that ever comes into contact with your business or your clients’ businesses wants to know, “what’s in it for me?” We all do; it’s just human nature.
And the way you can let them know what’s in it for them is by illustrating all of the benefits of your product or service. And it’s important to distinguish between benefits and features because it’s easy to confuse the two. If you are selling a car, high-performance ABS brakes are a feature of the car; being able to stop on a dime and keep your family safe is the benefit.
Record-setting processing time for new computer software is a cool feature; the benefit is that you’ll have more time to spend with your family or devote to other tasks. Take the time to extract the benefits from every feature and your powers of persuasion will dramatically increase.
Use Your Selling Points Strategically
There are several different tips / tricks / hooks persuasive content writers and copywriters use to highlight important points, let the reader know that this info is must-read stuff and to keep them engaged. Things like effective use of subheads, bullet lists, bolded words and phrases, images and captions within the content can all be highly effective.
It can take some trial and error to find the right mix and placement for these items, but be aware they exist and use them to your advantage. Remember, you are having a conversation and these are the tools that will enable you to really grab your prospects and keep them fully engaged until the message is complete.
If you can implement these tactics when writing persuasive content, you will notice more engagement and higher conversions, which is never a bad thing. If you’d like to have a conversation about anything content-related, or learn about our proven process for producing high quality content on a regular basis, get in touch for a Free Consultation.
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