As an article writer, you use a variety of techniques to create compelling copy to engage your audience. Many of these are so natural, you don’t even realise you’re using them. The following are 5 techniques that elevate your copy and craft your words into articles your audience actually wants to read.
An article writer knows how to use structure
There’s a core structure that sits within every piece of content:
🧁Solution overview (with evidence!)
An article writer is skilled at how to thread the different sections together, so the audience is unaware as they transition through the narrative. For example:
Talking about how cybercrime is on the rise (context), highlighting the cost of doing nothing to protect your organisation (problem) and how Company ABC tackled the problem (opportunity – with bonus points for weaving in a case study!). Making the connection between Company ABC and how the audience could experience a similar outcome (anticipated outcome), and what they need to do to get them there (solution overview). Finishing with a link for them to find out more (CTA).
Furthermore, an article writer knows how to use (sub) headings to tell the whole story, so even if the audience skim reads, they take away the core messages. As well as repurpose and weave in your existing assets along the way – like the above example with the case study.
An article writer knows how to use storytelling to your advantage
Our brains are hard-wired to listen and respond to stories – it’s why people buy based on emotion and rationalise their decision with facts. Storytelling technique taps into this unconscious bias to make a connection with the audience.
For example, storytelling technique teaches us how to frame our messages. Every story has a hero (your customer), a villain (the thing that’s causing them ‘pain’), and a guide (you).
The mistake many companies make is to appoint themselves the hero, so their content becomes self-centred – they talk about being an ‘award-winning trusted partner offering world-class solutions’. The audience doesn’t care about that. The audience cares about what all that means to them – in other words, the value it delivers because it helps overcome their pain.
An article writer also knows how to use storytelling technique to make an emotional connection with their audience. This doesn’t mean romancing them with flowery language. It’s purely about tapping into the audience’s state of mind in that moment, and it comes through in the words and language we choose to use.
For example, rather than talk about business growth, the content could reference scaling up (or down), moving the business dials, smashing goals – or painting a vivid picture of what life will be like once they’ve realised their ambitions.
An article writer knows how to use behavioural science techniques
This isn’t as underhand as it sounds. Behavioural science is about tapping into your audience’s subconscious, so you present your message in the best way.
🧁Admitting a weakness to encourage the audience to trust you (the pratfall effect)
🧁Using rhyme to make your message easier for the audience to process (the keats heuristic)
🧁Letting your audience in ‘behind the scenes’ so they understand what goes in to delivering your product/service (the illusion of effort)
Understanding when and how to use behavioural science techniques is crucial to writing engaging content and encouraging your audience to take action. Without it, your article is at risk of becoming yet more noise in an overcrowded market.
An article writer knows how to use punctuation
You’ve probably seen things like this before:
“Let’s eat, grandma” vs. “Let’s eat grandma”.
I’m not talking about this. I’m talking about how an article writer knows how to be smart in how they use punctuation to keep the audience hooked and reading from start to finish. For example:
🧁You can’t not read the sentence following a colon: it’s also useful if you’re about to cover several ideas around a central theme.
🧁Ellipses points create intrigue…think of the EastEnders ‘duff duffs’ at the end of every episode – they leave you on a cliff-hanger yearning for more.
🧁“Look at my quotation marks.” The moment you enter speech into your copy, the reader’s eye is instantly drawn because they know it’s something important.
🧁Use a hyphen for emphasis – it adds drama.
🧁(add side comments in brackets) It’s a great way to draw the audience in to your personal thoughts or inject some side humour to your copy.
An article writer knows words aren’t everything (controversial when I write for a living!)
Yes, the words are important, but an article writer understand the importance of all the other elements that sit with the words on the page. For example:
🧁The use of white space so the words look visually appealing.
🧁The accompanying images and graphics that support the content.
🧁How the CTA is presented – whether as hyperlinked text or a button.
🧁The fonts used for the body copy and (sub) headings.
🧁Any multi-media elements that help tell the story – like videos or infographics.