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Janalee SilveyJul 28, 2016 9:08:12 PM3 min read

En Garde! 5 Tips to Sharpen Your Writing Technique

missing-image (1)The pen is mightier than the sword but only if your writing skills are finely honed. All marketing efforts boil down to words and images. It doesn't matter if you put them on a billboard, in an email, on a key chain, or in a blog. If your words and images are weak, then your efforts will be defeated. Here are 5 tips from the Content Marketing Institute on how to make sure your writing is its strongest

1) Open with questions that get the reader to say “yes.”

Inertia, be it mental or physical, is a powerful force. In other words, whether it’s a long-term relationship or a boulder rolling down a hill, the longer it’s in motion the harder inertia makes it to stop. That’s why writers love using it, especially in their introductions.

The idea is that the longer you can get the reader to say “yes” to your honest, accurate statements, the more likely they are to keep saying “yes” and ultimately harmonize with your message. Why? Because they’ll feel like you understand them; like you know exactly what they’re going through.

Make them say “yes” enough, and they’ll get the feeling that your product or service can help solve their problem. Hopefully it can.

2) Double tap the “Enter” button every 1-3 sentences.

As you know, hitting “Enter” or “Return” twice leaves a space between paragraphs. But just because that space is void of words, does not mean it doesn’t serve a purpose.

Just as photographers and designers use negative space to create a focal point, writers can use white space to create emphasis and draw attention to something that’s important.

White space also makes copy appear less intimidating and more readable. It structures the message in a polished, elegant frame that invites readers to dive in.

3) Bold your key benefits.

Bolding the benefits will quickly point readers to the information you absolutely need them to know. In fact, in-text formatting of any kind -- italicizing, underlining, capitalizing, back-linking -- will help you capture and maintain a reader’s attention. That happens because our minds are hardwired to notice change.

Imagine watching a play go from a monologue to a dialogue in the same scene - or a movie fade to a perfectly white screen. It gets your attention right?

Something new, thinks your subconscious. Something that stands out. Let’s focus.

4) Isolate important information using bullet points.

As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “Pity the readers.” That means go easy on them when you write. Consider that they have to focus on and instantly make sense of every word and every little mark you put in front of them. And they have to do it all online where attention is at a premium. So help them out.

Bullets and numbered lists will:

- Organize your text, making it more scannable and digestible.

- Highlight your key points and other important bits of information.

- Draw the most attention after your headline and subheads, making them an ideal vessel for benefits.

5) Start sentences with “Imagine,” “Remember,” or “Picture this …”

These words are triggers. They let readers know you’re about to tell them a story, jog their memory, or paint them a picture. People love that stuff. Always have. According to producer Steven Moffat, “We’re all stories, in the end.”

So think of it this way: The word “Imagine” at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph serves the same purpose as the title sequence of your favorite Netflix show. It signals to you that you're about to experience something you enjoy. It yields an anticipatory sensation. It creates suspense. And that’ll keep you engaged in just about any situation, whether you’re watching TV or reading an email.

Read 5 more writing tips here.

If your writing leaves much to be desired and you need help tweaking your word skills, contact the Word Warriors at Front Burner Marketing. We'll help make your content game strong enough to defeat the strongest blade.

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