5 Ways to Capture Attention

TAKE THESE. I’ve written a lot of copy through the years–as a freelancer, an ad agency copywriter and a copywriter in the marketing department of a major newspaper. Following are some of my free tips for successful copywriting.

Getting attention is job one of any communication. Here are five techniques that work in all media.

1. Use a headline.
There are all types of headlines: how to, news, direct, question, reason why, testimonial and more. Good ones are golden.

2. Tell the audience something they know.
On the surface, this might seem mundane, but by telling the audience something they know you’re making an important connection. You’re saying, in effect, you understand them and you identify with them in some small way, which can be a great way to start a conversation.

3. Ask a question.
There’s nothing like a good, challenging, or provocative question to pique interest. Has anyone ever asked you a question that tapped into a problem, a fear, a desire, or a joy? Did it grab and hold your attention?

4. Share an anecdote.
People love a good story. An anecdote is a story in a bite-size package. A perfect way to reel in your audience.

5. Say something timely.
Talk about something newsy, whether a particular topic, industry, subject, or other area. Tap into something on people’s minds and you will seize their attention.

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Lively Writing Can Improve Response

In the January edition of The Levison Letter, direct-response copywriter Ivan Levison offers five tips for writing it right in 2009. All solid tips, one, in particular, caught my eye:

#3. Keep it lively.

Hey, it isn’t a crime yet in this country to have a little  enthusiasm or a sense of humor. If your marketing materials  are flat or boring, bring a little personality to the party. You  know, your sales letters, email, Web copy, etc., need to communicate more than features and benefits. They have to truly engage the reader and connect at some emotional level. So don’t  be afraid to write with a little punch. The spark you or your  writer brings to a project can make all the difference!

I agree. Obviously, you can’t get too wild, but most B2B audiences are just regular folks who will respond to some well-placed personality and enthusiasm. Try it and track the results.