“We’ve got this website, but we just need to make it more… engaging.”
Nine times out of ten, our copy briefs ask us to make the copy more engaging. We’ll pretty much assume this as a given really, because if it doesn’t engage the audience it’s not likely to persuade them to take action.
Engaging copy is interesting, inspiring and energetic. It can hold the reader’s attention and make them want more. Yet a lot of business writing is, quite frankly, boring.
You know the stuff – you start reading the opening paragraph, your eyes glaze over, you wonder how long it might take to get to the point, and whether there’s actually anything in it for you.
So here are a few tricks of the writing trade to make your copy engage, persuade… and never be dull.
Let’s get active
Turn passive sentences into active ones, and you’ll immediately have a better chance of connecting with the reader. For example: This solution can be used in your organisation to… is passive, and Your organisation can use this solution to… is active. Not only does a passive structure add unnecessary words, it makes the reader work harder to understand who’s doing what.
Talk to your reader
Talking in the third person about ‘the customer’ or ‘the company’ can make your copy sound unfriendly and dated. Don’t be scared of using ‘you’, ‘your’ or ‘we’, ‘our’. It warms the copy up and makes it more direct.
Keep it short and relevant
Who has time these days to wade through 150-page reports or web pages that go on for screens and screens? Structure your copy to include the most important bits first, and give people a reason to keep reading if you’ve got more to tell them.
Give it some context
Explaining the benefits of your product? Give some examples of how your reader can use it to make their life better – then they’ll relate to it. Nothing beats a good story for getting people interested in what you have to stay, so use short anecdotes, case studies and real-life examples wherever you can.
Have you seen some copy lately that really grabbed you? Let us know what you think is ‘engaging’.