Cutting Through The Noise

content writer

Our news feeds are crawling with headlines that triple-dog dare you to tap them, screaming something like, “She Opened her Freezer for a Popsicle and You’re NOT GOING to BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!” It’s accompanied by a head-scratching image of a bloated kneecap, or a horned toad, or something you can’t quite identify.

What choice do you have but to click?!? And there goes three minutes of your life you’ll never get back.

So wages the daily battle to win the eyes of the reading public. There’s only so much information a person can take in, so it’s a helluva battle for content marketers, who are competing with these clickbaiters – plus social media, email, texts, voicemail and the rest of the internet – for attention.

So how can you, a Content Writer, ensure that your message rises to the top of the noisy heap? How can you most effectively communicate with your audience in a way that cuts through the babble, builds a trusting relationship and culminates in a conversion? There are a few proven ways to grab your reader’s attention … and keep it.

START STRONG. Studies show that the average attention span of an adult human is about eight seconds. So if you haven’t grabbed them with a headline and the first sentence or two of copy, you’ve probably lost them. And, to complicate your noble cause, let’s not forget that you’re competing for eyeball time against the thing “THAT MADE MY JAW DROP!” So it’s got to be a powerful headline and lead without being incredulous.

What, then, should those first sentences evoke? EMOTION. Whatever you’re selling needs to stir something in a potential buyer’s gut. The book Great Leads  says that, “80% of emotional impact will be determined by the first 20% of the copy.” So, from the start, your audience should know that your product or service will benefit them by giving them MORE of something: free time…control over their health…money in their pocket…attractiveness…popularity.

ENGAGEMENT. Chances are that your customers are looking for something meaningful or useful in their lives – something they can “buy into” before they buy. They want to learn something: a newer way, a better way, a more enjoyable way, a “greener” way, a more righteous way to go through life. If your product can deliver there, say so!

RELATABILITY. If a person can’t imagine himself or herself using your product or service, they’ll most definitely look elsewhere. Your goal should be to make them feel like the hero in the story you are telling in your ad copy.

BELIEF. Somehow, maybe not in the very first sentence, but sometime soon, the copy you write has to give some proof of the claim you’re making. Selling a weight-loss program? Give some results from clinical studies. Promoting an insurance company? Tell readers how they’ll save on premiums. You can’t just STATE something without providing a little back-up. There’s no trust built there.

At the end of the day, honest/useful/engaging copy will always trump the thing “YOU WON’T BELIEVE!” You can believe it.

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