3 Rules to Engage Your Readers and Kill Your Dull Business Copy
Updated: Nov 16, 2019
Engage your readers! Boost your conversions! Make more sales! Sell, sell, sell!
What’s the secret?
Ditch the business lingo and get real. Better yet, get emotional.
“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” Michael Corleone, The Godfather.
It probably is a good idea to separate your emotions when you’re making business decisions or running an Italian American crime syndicate. But when it comes to your business copy and communications, the opposite is true.
Communication is about making connections, and we make connections through our emotions. Whether you’re creating copy to convert clients or writing an email to your company director, making your reader feel something is crucial to getting them on board with your message.
Despite most of us thinking we are rational human beings, our emotions have a huge influence on how we perceive something and the decisions we make.
Imagine sitting down for a presentation and the speaker shows no enthusiasm or passion. Not good, right? Well, the same is true for your business writing. So many businesses lose any touch of humanity in their writing. In an effort to sound professional and knowledgeable, they deliver robotic copy. Writing that is devoid of personality and fails to ignite any curiosity or enthusiasm.
3 Rules To Bring Your Writing to Life
1. Get Active, Kill The Passive Voice
Keep your writing punchy and engaging by avoiding the dreaded passive voice. The subject should be doing the acting in your sentence, not being acted upon by the verb. For example:
“The cat was kicked by Michael.”
“Michael kicked the cat.”
See how the second sentence has more energy and invokes more emotion. The passive voice detaches the reader, its happening somewhere in the distance. The active voice is more incisive, it makes us feel something about Michael.
2. Cut The Bullsh!t
Unless your Marlon Brando, the moment you pretend to be something you’re not, your reader will smell it. When this happens you’ve lost them, your credibility is gone. The easiest way to ensure the authenticity of your writing is to check your use of superlatives. The “worlds best,” “life-changing,” “best-ever,” etc.
It’s easy to get drawn into the language of overselling. You want to get an emotional response from the reader, but you want that response to be legitimate. If your reader senses you’re not being genuine, your credibility is gone and so is your connection. Toning down your language to resemble what you sound like in a normal conversation will serve you much better in the long run.
3. Get Emotional
So many company's publish boring content crammed full of industry jargon. Reading business writing like this is like eating a plain rice cake. Hard work. Get some flavor in your writing and some guacamole on that rice cake.
When you read boring content you skim through, and in the worst case abandon it completely. It doesn’t make any impact, and you forget what you just read.
Don’t be afraid to inject some of your personality into your writing. Scan your writing for weak, or flat, words and swap them for strong, or charged, alternatives.
Words like “boost” and “smash” are much more engaging than “improve” and “overtake”. These type of words create an emotional response that encourages the reader to feel something about your writing. If you can make your audience feel something, and form a connection, they’re much more likely to stay engaged and keep reading.
Forming an emotional connection with your reader is essential if you want them to buy into your product or service. We form an opinion of a company or person based on their writing. If the writing is over-complicated or untrustworthy, we assume the company will be the same. If the content is energetic and authentic, we associate those feelings with the company and their product or service.