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.


Afraid to Pick Up the Phone?

“Are you afraid to pick up the telephone?” began a column by Kate Krumpelman, general manager of the Blue Ridge Business Journal.

Kate opined about the lack of phone contact these days. I concur. Email is the preferred communication tool for a lot of reasons, including control and convenience. I’ve often wondered if it’s not also a crutch and shield.

Here’s a bit of Kate’s column:

When you use email exclusively, you send a rather loud message. You are saying you have either no desire to communicate personally, or that you can’t. There are certainly some situations when email is the most effective tool—such as passing on facts, tasks, assignments, announcements. However, with email you will never get the kind of personal touch that comes from picking up the phone and engaging in conversation.

I wanted to tell Kate I enjoyed her column, so instead of dashing off an email I picked up the phone. She answered. We talked, our first conversation.

I hope to pick up the phone more, even when I think I won’t reach anyone or I’m concerned about time.