How much thought do you give to the words you include in your copy?
‘Should’, or ‘need to’? I deliberated over which expression to use in this title for a while. Both convey the same information, but the semantics working behind the scenes change the whole tone and approach of my piece of writing.
If I choose the modal verb ‘should’, my article takes a softer, advisory approach, giving you the option to opt in or out. By choosing the bossier verb ‘need’ I am not giving you a choice, I am obliging you to follow my instruction, and injecting a tone of urgency to my command. Essentially, each word you choose has the power to influence your reader…and customer.
How much thought do you give to the words you include in the text your business puts out there? Unless you are an English Language graduate or a writer, chances are you don’t always pick apart the pragmatics and semantics of every single word you use. You probably don’t thumb through a thesaurus to consider the world of alternatives. Perhaps you do.
To save you time, I have narrowed down the great English lexicon to five simple yet supremely powerful words you should be including in every piece you publish; from social media updates to blogs and web content.
Let’s make it personal. All the best public speakers connect with their audience. They may not know your name, but they make eye contact, smile and address you directly. The pronoun ‘you’ is a form of direct address; I want you to know that you are the sole focus of my attention. Keep your attention focussed on your reader, to keep them focussed on what you have to say.
A true magician’s word. What better way to captivate your audience than to let them feel you have pulled back the curtain and shared a secret? There is something flirtatious about this verb, almost as though you are being lavished with knowledge you hadn’t previously had, and initiated into a secret society. Associated with a mood of exclusivity and intimacy, never underestimate the seductive power of a reveal…
These three simple letters evoke a sense of urgency. What do you think of when you hear the word ‘now’? for me – it’s a real action movie utterance. Push the button on the detonator, dive out of the open window, make a dash for it! ‘Now’ indicates a time for action. If you want to prompt your reader to act, to click your link, to book a consultation, to buy your product, when should they do it? Now.
Motivational and aspirational, used in the right context, this word can get your writing noticed. You want to help people? Are you sure? Wouldn’t you rather inspire people to make better choices? Say that word again, this time with your chin held up slightly and your right hand outstretched. Think carefully about each verb you employ in a sentence, speak it out loud and consider its impact.
It’s human nature to want to get to the bottom of things. Don’t hand out answers, instead, invite your reader to discover them. An empowering word, you’re putting the onus on the reader to click your link, read your article and find out the truth for themselves. Discoveries evoke glittering images of lost treasure, or adventure and insight. Who wants to turn down an adventure?
Remember, words are like keys; they only work when used in the right locks; be sure to use them in the right context.
If you’re struggling to unlock the power to your copywriting, consider the benefits of using a skilled wordsmith to do it for you.
Give me a call…now! (Only joking – whenever it suits you).