I love sex, and I love the seduction that leads to sex.
Storytelling is like sex. As with a first kiss, it’s all in the lead. If you want to get to second base and beyond, make that first kiss spectacular.
If you want your ideal client to stay on your website, engage, and take action, then make it worth their while by respecting their time and intelligence.
Throughout my 20 years as a publicist, a common phrase when a writing a press release was, ‘don’t bury the lead.’ The lead, which comes from journalism, is the first sentence, that concisely conveys the main point of the story. Ideally, a reader should be able to scan the first couple of sentences and come away with a clear idea of what the story is about.
The right lead also lures the reader in to read further. A buried lead forces the reader to do more work to search for the point of the story. In this case, they're likely to bounce, be it from a newspaper article, a website, or an email.
This doesn’t imply that the writing can’t be creative and sexy; it just means let me know why I’m here and why I should invest any time into learning more.
Have you ever heard someone talk and it sounds so magical, captivating, and wow-like, but then you realize you’re clueless as to what they actually said?
Often, this applies when people write their content. It’s filled with fancy buzzwords, deliriously long sentences, a high snooze factor, and is just plain confusing with no clear point of view, information delivery, or call-to-action.
Does your written content actually say anything? Is it representing or conveying what you need it to?
A recent client came to me for a complete website copy overhaul. This company creates clinical trials for medical devices, an area I had no knowledge of, let alone expertise. Truth be told, I was intimidated and not sure how I was going to pull off writing about something I didn’t understand.
After successfully luring them in as a client, I now had to write a story that would seduce their readers, getting them to go all the way.
But holy crap, I read their website and didn’t understand a single word of it, and they had already paid me (I’m a great seductress)!
Following some minor, actually major panicking that I got under control with yogic breathing and jumping on my rebounder, I reminded myself that I got this, this is what I do.
Rather than being overwhelmed by the whole site, I went through sentence by sentence to find their key message points. And alas, I read sentence after sentence for several paragraphs and realized it didn’t say anything. Just lots of words strung together. Once I saw that I hit my stride and was able to go through the whole site pulling the messaging from wherever it was buried.
The end result? My client loved the rewrite (and redesign). It changed how people interact with them, has increased their sales, and the site has even been nominated for some awards.
So how do you tell if your copy is that dreadful kiss that no doubt you’ve experienced, or the romantic, sexy, lingering Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman movie-like kiss?
Here are 9 tips:
· Read through your site sentence by sentence and remove any buzzword/catch-all phrases
· Be crystal clear about your brand messaging
· Make sure the voice of your website copy is in alignment with what your brand is and does – ie, if you’re a medical supply company, don’t use words like awesome
· Have a neutral party – not you family or best friends read your site and tell you what their takeaway is. Is it in alignment with the messaging you’re trying to convey?
· Know who your ideal client is and their pain points, what you offer and how your services solve their problems
· Understand what makes you different from your competition and flaunt it – some call it your ‘secret sauce’
· Tap into your reader on an emotional level. For mental stimulation to be impactful, there must also be stimulation of the heart
· Be vulnerable and credible while still making it about your ideal client
· Be persuasive without being pushy or salesy. Imagine yourself as the reader – how do you want to receive the information
“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”
- An old Native American proverb
Comments and shares are welcome!