All Writing is Compelling WritingGuest_Blogger | Aug 10, 2011
Whether you're submitting proposals or posting new jobs, leaving feedback for a project well done, or maintaining a personal blog or website, you should make sure your words represent you well. Freelance copywriter Bob Younce goes over some ground rules in ensuring your writing has both character and purpose.
You might not recognize it, but every time you sit down at work and put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard, as the case may be) you’re engaging in compelling writing. Every piece of writing your business produces – from office memos to sales letters – is designed to elicit a response. Sometimes, that response is making a purchase, such as with a sales letter. Other times, that response is increased confidence in your business as an authority in your field; this is the case with a blog post or informative article.
So, how do you make sure your writing gets the response you want and need? How do you empower your compelling writing? Simply follow these principles:
Start by identifying the desired response. Figure out what you want the reader to do. Do you want a potential Elance client to select you for a website development project that you would love to work on? ? Do you want to attract new site visitors to your graphic design blog? Do you want to promote your search engine optimization skills to new businesses? Before you string two words together, know what you’re hoping to achieve. Keep that response in mind throughout the entire writing process.
Consider your audience. This is basic composition 101. If you want to communicate anything effectively, you need to do so on a level your audience can understand. The same goes for getting a response. Don’t use technical jargon when dealing with someone outside the industry. Don’t use an example of losing money on a hedge fund if you’re trying to sell a household item through your online retail company.
Make an emotional connection. Even if you’re writing an informative article, you need to connect with the reader. Don’t just talk about how to protect their garden from rodents; describe the frustration of an entire carrot crop wiped clean by a nefarious team of rabbits.
Use the appropriate structure. All writing is compelling writing, but some formats are better for some purposes. Even a basic SEO article has a compelling purpose – to get users who see your result in a search engine to click on your link. That requires very different composition structure than a presell page, for example. Match the structure and format of your writing to the purpose and you’ll get a much higher response rate.
Follow the basic rules of the language. If your spelling and grammar is sub-par, you’re not going to get the desired response. Even something as simple as using “LOLspeak” in a corporate email diminishes your authority and calls your professionalism into question. If you want Elance clients, contractors, vendors, or anyone else you interact with to take you seriously, master basic grammar and avoid the temptation to write too casually.
Use active language. This post is too limited a format to tell you exactly how to use active language. In fact, many other copywriters in my field have been working at it for years, and still haven’t mastered active language. You can get a feel for some active language techniques here, but the long and short of it is this: you want to choose your words in such a way that there is no ambiguity, no passive voice, and use verbs that psychologically inspire action.
Measure your results. Knowing what response you want is one thing; knowing whether or not you got it is another. In some cases, this is easy. With a sales letter, you can simply look at conversion statistics. With an employee memo, you can look at compliance rates. In other instances, it’s not as easy. How do you know, for example, if your blog post instilled confidence in your reader? You need to find ways to track those responses, whether it’s by asking a leading question at the end of a blog post or looking at site traffic statistics to see how long the average reader stays on the page.
Recognize when you need an expert. Chances are you don’t need to bring in a copywriter in order to compose a short memo. If you have the time and desire, you can probably keep a business blog updated, too. But in those instances where you need to really pack a punch, make a sale, or reach a large audience, a professional copywriter is your answer. Elance is a wonderful place to find one who can do the job and get the kind of response rate you need to succeed. Don’t leave your results to chance. Realize that all writing is compelling writing, and take the necessary steps to get the results you want.
About the Author:
Bob Younce is the owner of Composing Business, a freelance copywriting firm currently ranked in the Top 50 writing providers on Elance. Composing Business is dedicated to helping other small businesses get ahead with high-quality, compelling copy. Contact Bob on Elance or visit his website at www.composingbusiness.com.