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How do they do it?
What’s that well-kept secret those A-list bloggers seem to have to grab your attention and pull you in?
I am sure you have asked yourself this question over and over again.
With over 2 million new blog posts published every day, you simply can’t afford to publish average content.
To be honest with you, there’s not one single secret that will make your writing more engaging.
Instead, what if I told you there actually is a whole array of tricks you can use to make your writing more enticing and, almost instantly?
Now, take a moment to imagine this: the next time you sit down to write something, you’ll be armed with tools to make your writing sizzle like the pros.
Think I’m exaggerating?
Below I will show you exactly what makes their writing so engaging, and how you can use these techniques to capture the attention of your own audience too.
Earlier, I used four questions to keep you engaged long enough to read this. Still not convinced it works?
That’s one more.
Questions are quite magical — they interact with our brain in an entirely different way than statements.
They engage us and get people to do things we want them to do, right now, because they are reading the words on this page.
Think it sounds silly? It’s not.
It might’ve been just what you needed to keep reading without getting distracted.
I know Ashley (chief here at Mad Lemmings) continuously gets asked how much it costs to build a website.
So a few weeks back, he wrote this detailed post where he guides you through all the things to keep in mind when thinking about website prices.
He addresses the important points in his headings like:
This is a smart way to write your headings in an informational post like this.
Because even if readers are scanning, these are the questions his audience wants answers to — so they’ll stop and read each section in detail.
Rhythm is not just necessary for musicians and dancers. Writers need to have it, too!
If I wrote nothing but long, endless sentences — would you keep reading?
Not a chance, right?
As a writer, your most important responsibility is to capture and keep the attention of your readers.
That’s why it’s important to vary the length of your sentences, so you keep it interesting and easy to read.
It sounds simple.
And it is.
But if you don’t keep rhythm in mind, you might just lose your reader to a listicle on BuzzFeed… (aren’t they addictive!)
When I learn something new, I like to see examples.
Sure, I could tell you that the advertising formula called AIDA means attention, interest, desire and action. However, I won’t keep you reading unless I show you what that structure looks like in action…
(I would insert an example right here)
Examples give us something to relate to and work from, so we don’t have to figure it all out ourselves.
If you only get the theory, you wouldn’t feel inspired to take action, right?
So get out there and add examples to your content.
This is a technique I learned from NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). It’s called Future Pacing.
I actually used it on you in the introduction of this post, when I asked you to imagine the next time you sit down to write content armed with tools for engagement.
If you followed my instructions, I made you imagine a future scenario of yourself.
I found an excellent example of future pacing in the book The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz:
If you could wake up tomorrow with significantly more positive, focused energy to invest at work and with your family, how significantly would that change your life for the better?
This is future pacing in the form of a question. Most likely, you drifted inside your mind to imagine what it would be like.
Can you see how powerful this is?
Something you’ll often notice is that writers try to emphasize how important something is by overusing the word really or very. And it’s not wrong to use them sometimes (hint: I use them).
We use them a lot in the spoken language. But the written language can, and should, be more polished than the spoken language, especially if you want to take your content engagement to the next level.
Try using more imaginative words like blissful, massive, heartwarming, shortcut, vicious, sleazy, instantly, vivid, soar, and suddenly.
Because these words are quite unusual, they are fuel for your reader’s attention.
Use these words throughout your writing when appropriate, but don’t overdo it. I like to think of them as a sprinkling of eye-catching words, just here and there, kinda like cherries on a sundae.
They are potent, so you don’t need many. But always keep them in mind.
Need some inspiration?
Just take your pick from these 317 power words that will instantly make you a better writer.
Storytelling is one of the most, if not the most powerful way to engage your reader.
Remember when you were a child and looked forward to hearing your favorite story at bedtime?
Humans are wired for stories. Readers get so absorbed in good stories that they almost forget that they’re reading at all.
Personal stories work well — but you may not always have one that is relevant. So, make one up if you have to.
However, don’t tell a story for the sake it though.
Always ask yourself:
These questions will make sure you won’t get off track and, that you always keep it relevant to your article.
If you want to learn more about the art of storytelling, I recommend you read: the blogger’s guide to telling stories that win hearts and minds.
Joseph Sugarman taught me that when you write an advertisement, it should read like a slippery slide.
What do I mean?
Do you see where I’m heading with this?
Greased slide copy keeps your readers hooked to the page. Obviously, your blog posts could benefit from this technique too.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Kevin Carlton created one of the most amazing resources on this topic I’ve ever seen, with over 502 phrases of greased slide.
As a matter of fact, I used some of the phrases in this post. See if you can spot them!
Greased slide copy can even help you when you are feeling stuck.
Here are some examples, to give you an idea of the power of greased slide copy:
Try using at least 5 phrases of the greased slide in your next blog post and see if it makes your writing more engaging.
What have you got to lose?
You’ll be glad you did.
(By the way, guess what those last four sentences were?)
There’s no way around it. To transform your writing from average to amazing, you have to put in the hard work.
But as you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to make your writing strong and engaging once you know how.
Take your time. You don’t have to use them all in every post.
As a matter of fact, you might already do some of these things intuitively.
But do make an effort, as the rewards for both you and your reader are worthwhile!
Do you have some interesting tips to make your content more engaging? I’d love to know your thoughts.
Let me know in the comments below!
Jasper is a freelance blogger and copywriter. He helps entrepreneurs save precious time and energy by writing engaging content that both readers and search engines love. He also writes web copy that converts for solopreneurs. Check out his website for more awesome tips on writing effectively.