It’s a communicator’s worst nightmare.
You have ideas to share, but nobody listens.
You’re asking for a sale, but you’re ignored.
You want to inspire people, but everybody continues doing their own thing.
Sometimes you want to shout HEY! YOU! LISTEN!!!!
But you’d look like an idiot. And you know it wouldn’t work.
Do you ever wonder how you could sound like a real authority and get people to listen to you? Would you like to know how to turn flaky writing into persuasive content?
Let’s look at 5 simple writing tips to make your content so powerful, that readers listen to your ideas, act on your advice, and buy your products and services.
Tip 1: The basis of powerful writing
Flaky writing rambles, rattles, and prattles.
Powerful writing, in contrast, is simple and to the point.
If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.
~ Albert Einstein
Everyone can string a series of sentences together. Writing a lot is easy. But real authorities peel off redundant layers to get to the core of their message. They ignore irrelevant thoughts. They don’t side-step into interesting information that might be related but that’s not relevant.
Wishy-washy writing lacks focus. It communicates too many different ideas. So, before you start writing, think about your message and how it’ll transform your reader. Cut all rambling and irrelevant thoughts.
Tip 2: The full stop is the most powerful punctuation mark
Long sentences are hard to read. They make your readers tired.
And when readers get tired, their mind wanders off. They stop paying attention to your message.
This undulating sentence contains 36 words:
Rather rambling, right?
Now, notice how powerful the same content is when chopped up in 4 sentences:
Using the full stop more often is the easiest way to add power to your words. Look for long sentences in your content, and chop them up.
Tip 3: Authorities are bossy (in a nice way)
Does power make you think of dictators, bullies, and other dominant personalities?
As Sally Hogshead explains in her book Fascinate, power lives on a spectrum. Power’s gentle side manifests itself in the parental nudge and in the sports coach who motivates you to train harder.
Powerful writing inspires readers to take action. A good sales page, for instance, encourages readers to click and buy. Strong social media updates make people click to read more. And authoritative blog posts motivate readers to implement your tips.
To gently poke readers into action, use the imperative form of a verb. The imperative form is like a command. It can be strong or friendly:
Just do it
Sit down, please
Pass me the salt, please
For comparison, the following sentences are statements rather than commands. These sentences start with a “subject” (Henneke, you, the cat) and do not use the imperative form:
You’ve been so nice to me.
The cat tiptoed over the piano keys, creating a wild cacophony of sounds.
Here’s an example of a wishy-washy call to action, without the imperative form:
A bossy call to action uses imperative form:
Using the imperative form in your blog posts is easy, too. Here’s an example of feeble guidance without the imperative form:
When using the imperative form, the same guidance becomes bossier, tighter, and more inspirational:
Want to inspire your readers to take action?
Be bossy. Use the imperative form.
Tip 4: Powerful writing is concise and precise
Redundant and filler words undermine the strength of your message, like adding water to wine. Yuck.
Here’s an example of flabby content:
And this is how you trim the flab:
Powerful writing is fluff-free. No filler words. No gobbledygook. No exaggerated statements. No water in your wine.
Want to learn how to trim flabby writing? Learn how to eliminate weak phrases here. And then learn how to choose power words here.
Tip 5: Borrow authority and steal power
Smart writers don’t solely rely on their own words to persuade their readers:
- Use a client testimonial to add credibility to your statements—a specific and non-sugary testimonial can help overcome a reader’s objection
- Present a case study to demonstrate how your service or product transforms people’s lives
- Get an endorsement from a well-known person or someone working for a famous brand
- Ask authorities for comments, or quote from their books to show you know your field
- Find data and figures to add substance to your words
Stop publishing flaky writing
Don’t wait for your authority to grow naturally over time.
Instead, start communicating with a powerful voice now.
Communicate your ideas with power, and you’ll gain recognition as an authority. People will listen to you.
Powerful writing isn’t an option. It’s a must.
So, next time you edit your content, apply each tip on this list. Write with authority. Win more business. And inspire more action.
What are you waiting for?
Recommended reading on powerful writing:
172+ power words for persuasive business content
99 strong verbs to make your content pop, fizz, and sparkle
How punctuation shapes your voice
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