By Kate Ford on April 5, 2011
Unleash your unique voice
In the quest to please search engines, it’s easy to overlook an important aspect of Internet marketing: capturing the reader’s interest. Search engine optimization (SEO) can get people to your site, but only riveting content will make them stay there.
You must know what I'm talking about. You've opened emails or read articles that immediately grabbed your attention – and seen others that left you cold.
Compare these two excerpts of articles on the same topic:
During dinner the other night, one of the people in our group looked at me and asked the question I didn't want to hear - "How did you become homeless?"Joe Vitale, author of "The Attractor Factor"
Homelessness categorizes the condition of people without a regular dwelling because they are unable to acquire, maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence."Wikipedia.org
One is compelling and full of emotional impact. The other is dry and difficult to read.
Many people don't know that Joe Vitale, a mentor of mine, was once homeless. When he writes about the subject, you can feel his passion. You, too, must write about your field with energy and passion, if you want to convince people to do business with you.
Take another look at your Internet marketing copy. Could you use it as an over-the-counter sleeping aid? Don’t worry – you can fix that, and it won't cost you a penny.
Unleash Your Voice and Draw in Your Reader
Write as if you were having a conversation with a close friend. It’s the most effective way to create compelling copy from the very start. It will save you the work of trying to convert sterile text to the authentic warmth of your own unique voice.
Here's a simple way to bring out your personal style: Tape a small photo of a close friend – someone who puts you at ease - to the upper left corner of your computer screen. As you draft your Internet marketing content, glance at your friend from time to time. For example, I like having a photo of one of my grandchildren when I'm writing for my board game website.
As you “talk” to your friend about your business, you’ll unleash your one-of-a-kind voice. People will stop and listen – or in the case of your website, read.
Shorter Is Sweeter
People don’t really read on the Web – they scan.
Sure, when you’ve had a long day, you’ll curl up on the sofa with a novel, and savor every word before turning the page. On the Web, it’s a different story. You have only a few seconds to connect with readers.
Engage your visitors with:
- Short sentences
- Varied paragraph length
- Pertinent subheaders
- Lists of 5 points (or fewer)
Acronyms And Other Industry Lingo
Your website or other online communications may not be the place to show off your most arcane vocabulary. Before I started creating websites, I ate, drank and breathed mortgage lending. I loved it! But one day I heard myself say to a borrower, "I need the VOD from your VIP, ASAP."
Luckily, we were sitting across the desk from each other and I could quickly translate my gibberish into plain English. Had I been marketing to someone via email, Twitter, Facebook or even my own website, I could have alienated a valuable customer.
Turning Struggle Into Fun
Sometimes writing is just plain hard. When it’s hard, the writing itself often comes out sounding wooden or stilted – the exact opposite of the personal voice that engages your prospective customers.
When you’re having fun, your voice unleashes itself. Look at your friend’s picture. Get up, stretch, look out the window. Write something outrageous you know you won’t publish, and let its spirit infect your work.
When you write about your field with passion and verve, you’ll capture your audience’s attention – and they’ll reward you with their attention and their business.