Keys to Writing Worth Stealing
Speech and language are a part of what makes humans different to any other living creature.
The words we use can inspire, inform or wound.
Leaders tap into the power of the spoken word to motivate the masses for good or evil.
Words were first written on pieces of papyrus, then parchment and paper.
We wrote by hand and pen and now we have moved onto keyboards and touchscreens.
Words and stories are now delivered digitally on mobile devices that can be taken anywhere at anytime. Much like a book really.
Communication mediums are changing but words are forever.
Words take us on Journeys
I remember falling in love with words through reading novels that took me to faraway places. Without leaving my suburban home I was transported to tropical lagoons, sunken treasure and turquoise ringed atolls.
Hiding under the bed covers to read after the mandatory “lights out” curfew was a common occurrence.
Books with compelling words jumbled together creatively provide stories that can be an escape hatch to avoid the boredom of a doctor or dentists waiting room. They can be read in a paperback format, on a kindle or your even your iPad.
Keep it Simple
I thought I was clever when I was young and foolish because I used big words. My cousin who was two years older than me accused me of intellectual verbal snobbery and he was right!
We often fall into the trap of trying to be too intellectual and forget that simple is best.
According to Steven King, the first common tool that you should have as a writer is vocabulary. Some people have enormous vocabularies, but it isn’t what you have, it is how you use it.
His first tip in his non fiction book titled “On Writing” , is to display the power of keeping it simple. Steven uses an example of a 50 word sentence from John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath”
“Some of the owner men were kind because they hated what they had to do, and some of them were angry because they hated to be cruel, and some of them were cold because they had long ago found that one could not be an owner unless one were cold“.
He points outs that of the 50 words, 39 were single syllable!
Tapping into emotions are key, especially as a writer, blogger and communicator. We can use new technology mediums such as videos, images, photos and audio podcasts. The reality is that words are still the core foundation to communication despite the attractive shiny new multimedia toys.
Seeing that we are all now publishers on a social web, it is important to develop our skills to engage our audience with words.
Using words wisely is still key but words are much more than their dictionary meaning.
According to research from Dr. Hakim Chisti in the 1970′s “tonality that flows through language, are in many ways more profound and powerful than the dictionary meaning itself”
What follows from this is that “Communication is the key of effective marketing. And the key to communication is being able to reach the client at an emotional level. Involving them in your copy, and invoking their deeper thoughts.”
Measuring “Emotional Marketing Value”
As a writer one of the first skills you should nurture is the art of writing a headline. This is what your readers will see first. This has to tap the emotions first to get them to take the next step…read your article.
On the social web with time poor readers, making sure you write headlines that attract the first click are vital whether that is on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.
The Advanced Marketing Institute has developed an “Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer Tool” from this research which purports to take the guesswork out of measuring headlines. While many marketers ‘guess’ how people will react to various words and offers, they say they have determined a test which will give you an actual rating that you can use to judge how well received your copy will be to others.
I tested at least 10 different headlines before selecting this headline because it obtained a high rating. If you are here and reading this article it is maybe because this tool is effective.
Some of the other headlines I tested were a lot lower and so were discarded. It does appear to be based upon scientific research and is worth evaluating and trialing.
The 3 Key Spheres to Consider in Your Headline
The free tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute for analyzing your headline uses three key spheres which are dependent on your audience. The headline I am using here is for predominantly a business audience so the “Intellectual” sphere is vital here.
Here are the 3 key spheres that they consider you will need to take into account when constructing a headline as well as using these types of words in your writing.
Key #1. Intellectual
These are words which are especially effective when offering products and services that require reasoning or careful evaluation.
Key #2. Empathetic
Empathetic words are what you should use if you want to resonate with empathetic impact. These often bring out profound and strong positive emotional reactions in people.
Key #3. Spiritual
These are words which havethe strongest potential for influence and often appeal to people at a very deep emotional level.
What About You?
Do your headlines work? Could you do better? Do you think this tool is valuable?
Remember it is a free tool, so I am intrigued to discover your experiences on whether it is sharp or blunt instrument.
If this post achieves one thing, of making you think carefully and creatively when writing your headline, then that is a good thing.
Remember practice makes perfect.
Test it out and I look forward to hearing about your results.