Let’s face it.
Creating killer content is hard. Very hard.
Dig facts out of your brain. Find unique ways to present information. Create posts every week.
Despite punishing your brain to give birth to valuable content, crickets are still chirping in your comments section, traffic is stagnant and your social media feeds are dry.
The problem isn’t your content, but the way it is written.
When it comes to your writing… people aren’t reading for fun, they aren’t reading to kill time, and they aren’t reading because they care about you.
They’re reading your content in search of a solution to a burning problem.
Think of your content as a dose of medicine, and your writing as a spoon to deliver medicine to the reader to fix his problem.
Your reader wants the solution as effortlessly as possible.
He doesn’t want to sludge through your writing, force his brain to find the solution, pick it up and put it in his mouth.
This means if your content isn’t written in a way that smoothly seduces your reader into wanting toread on…
All the countless hours you’ve spent burning the midnight oil to produce killer content will go to waste because no one will stay to read it.
So here are 6 easy writing hacks that’ll get you cranking out content that hooks in readers like a freshly landed rainbow trout and keeps them glued to your writing, consequently boosting engagement and rocketing traffic.
1. Cut out Bloaters and Fancy Babble
Which of these paragraphs is easier to read?
“Want to improve your copywriting skills? No problem. I can help. You’ll be a razor sharp wordsmith able to cut through any reader’s resistance while they absorb every single word you write.”
Compare it to this.
“Are you searching to dramatically improve your copywriting skills? I’ll assist you in your search to increase your copywriting chops. You’ll possess a very unique skill set which will probably allow you to overcome almost any objections from your readers, and keep them fanatical about your product.”
Choice is obvious right?
The first paragraph knocks the second one out the park.
The second message is obese with filler words and uselessly fancy vocabulary that bloats the message and its delivery.
Making your readers brain feel like it’s painfully fighting through quicksand to get the solution, instead of having it effortlessly delivered to his open mouth.
To immediately make your posts more reader friendly, cut out fluff words that don’t add any real value. Words like very, really, almost, probably etc.
And don’t say:
Converse when you can say talk
Difficult when you can say hard
Utilize when you can say use
Remember, no one cares about tongue twisters you’ve learnt from dictionary diving.
They care about what your words will do for them.
2. Shorten paragraphs and sentences
Let’s imagine you’re feeding a child.
You’re doing the whole airplane in the mouth thing.
It’s going well.
Rice pudding hasn’t erupted over your new shirt yet, and there isn’t a slippery mess on the floor…
Eager to get back to work, you decide to speed things up and feed him bigger helpings, but your idea backfires.
He spews out the last mouthful and stops eating.
The same thing happens with your readers and your writing.
Long sentences and paragraphs with multiple points bombard your reader’s brain, forcing it to process more. This makes it harder for your reader to swallow your points, which causes his interest to dwindle.
Shorter sentences and paragraphs on the other hand, transform your writing into a fast paced, smooth, entertaining read. Making your reader feel like he’s gliding down your post instead of being forced to digest heavy blocks of information.
To maximize the effectiveness of your paragraphs and sentences, express no more than one main point per paragraph, and one point per sentence.
Use your next sentence to say the next point.
3. Front load sentences
Front loading means to start your sentences and paragraphs with the “meat” of your point first and keep your writing active.
It helps create powerful writing that locks readers in.
The ball was pounced on by the kitten, who was chased by the dog.
The bat was swung into the tree by John
The nail was hit by the hammer into the wood
The kitten pounced on the ball while the dog chased it.
John swung the bat into the tree.
The hammer hit the nail into the wood.
Before frontloading, the sentences are passive and the main point is pushed further down.
This dilutes the power of the sentences, is harder to grasp and forces the reader’s brain to work more.
After frontloading however, the sentences feel better don’t they?
This is because the meat of the sentence comes first, which means the reader does less work to get closer to answering his burning problem.
As a writer, you want your reader to do the least amount of work possible. He should feel as if his brain is magically absorbing information.
Frontloading will help you do just that.
4. Replace Cliches with Killer Analogies
Cliches are bland overused phrases and words that have struck your reader’s ears so often, that they are numbed to them.
As well as drawing out yawns from your readers, they stomp out any hint of your personality and voice in your writing. You’ll think up tons of them during your first draft, which is fine, as long as you prevent them from weaseling their way into your final submissions.
One sure fire way to kill cliches is to replace the critters with analogies.
You know how they say a picture can speak a thousand words?
Well, analogies can do the same…
Analogies are a comparison of two different things to highlight a point of similarity.
They allow you to capture and condense ideas, and then show them in a way that triggers a vivid understanding. This magnetizes your writing, keeps readers wrapped up in your posts and lets your personality seep through.
“We were sitting ducks out there on the field.”
“It was like target practice, with big red bull’s eyes tattooed on our backs”
“As writers we must come out of our comfort zones to become better”
“Just as caterpillar breaks out of its cocoon, transforming into a butterfly. We must break out of our comfort zones to transform our writing.”
Analogies grab attention, paint pictures and deliver messages of generic cliched statements with more depth and power whilst keeping your posts fresh.
5. Let Your Readers Eyes Breath
Ever wondered why popular blogs like Copyblogger and Zen Habits have simple designs with tons of white space?
According to research cited from www.humanfactors.com, white space can increase comprehension by almost 20%.
The use of white space around the text and around the website makes the page simple, clear and digestible. It feels refreshing and easy to read.
The viewer’s eyes are also subtly drawn to the headlines and boxes on the side without causing any visual strain.
The lack of white space and consistency creates a visually noisy page that stresses your brain and there’s too much information competing for your attention.
It feels loud, cramped and “pushy”.
The opposite of the smooth seductive environment you want to create.
To let your reader’s eyes breath, inject a healthy dose of white space in your posts by using a simple design with low visual activity and aim 2-3 sentence paragraphs (4 being the maximum) to get more space around your text.
Throwing in the occasional one sentence paragraph won’t hurt either.
6. Hijack Space in Your Readers Brain
An excellent way to keep your reader hooked is to hijack his brain.
You do this by taking the following senses:
Then using them to turn fuzzy, unclear thoughts, into loud and colorful sensory experiences that invade his brain.
Here’s what I mean…
“Our writing course will teach you how to make your writing extremely powerful. We cover you everything you need to know to keep people engaged and excited about your posts.”
“Our writing course will have you firing words that burst out your screen and hit your readers in the jaw with a hard fist, keeping them straight-jacketed to your posts up until the very last word.”
Both options sell the same thing.
But the second option uses the senses to create bright images that barge into your reader’s brain snatching up space and attention and keeping him riveted to your posts.