If you are dealing with content, you can’t do without strong copy. Whether in marketing, even in journalism, or even on your native Instagram, it is important to understand how to make what is written attractive to the reader.
Journalist and editor Elena Gvarishvili shared her experience of how to do this.
Create text that identifies and resolves readers’ pain
It all starts with understanding the target audience, its aspirations, needs, pains and hopes.
For example, when Nike launched a sports hijab in 2017, it was not enough to simply offer it to oriental women. It was important to tell them the idea, to show how a simple thing will help in the long-term struggle for inclusion. Nike knew the pain of its audience: women got in the way of their usual hijab when playing sports, it unwound and limited movement.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/F-UO9vMS7AI?feature=oembed&enablejsapi=1&origin=https://netology.ruAdvertising promises them that they will be strong and at the same time will look light and beautiful.
There is not a word about the hijab itself in the text, but the message and demonstration that the authors know an important pain point of the audience ensured the product’s success.
Or another example. At one time, Look At Me (LAM) published an exemplary material from the point of view of understanding the audience “ What job should the smart but lazy choose? “. Not in the eyebrow, but in the eye, because who are we with you, if not smart and not lazy, and where do we put ourselves ?? LAM did a great job of studying their audience of predominantly millennials, who often talk about procrastination, and offered them a solution to this problem. Moreover, they determined it very accurately and ironically, which confirmed the number of views.
Study not only the gender, age and occupation of those for whom you are writing, but also their sore questions. And talk about it. Try to understand this pain, offer a solution, or at least comprehend.
If the pain you speak of in the text resonates with the pain of the audience, posting will help you deal with it.
The reader has a warm feeling that he is understood, helped and taken into their arms. Almost like talking with a beloved friend who is experiencing similar difficulties. Such a text will want to express words of consent, support it with like and repost, and buy a product.
Personal experience of the author
One of my popular materials over the past year was the column “ What are the 30-year-olds crying about ”, in which I talked about crises in our country by the age of thirty and where they come from. “Straight balm for the soul”, “As they took it off the tongue,” “Thank you, it really hurt,” they wrote to me in messages. The audience liked the text, because I understand what worries it, because I am worried about exactly the same thing – I am talking about it.
You can write, revealing pain, not only based on personal experience – you just need to choose a really important topic. For the Afisha portal, I prepared a text about whether there is sex after childbirth , which turned out to be useful and was warmly received by the readers. In the material, we with experts – gynecologists, sexologists, psychologists – laid out on the shelves what happens to a woman and a couple after they have a baby. The audience had a request for material that debunks myths, educates and supports. It was important for young mothers that a well-known doctor throughout the country said: “No, this is normal.” It was important for them that someone talked to them about this delicate topic, which is often bypassed.
Share your personal experience – a person is interested in a person
It is difficult and boring to read about the abstract experiences of abstract heroes. The text, if it is not a dry news bulletin, as a rule, to one degree or another reflects the personality of the writer: his intellect, temperament, life experience, areas of interest. So why not open up further and tell your reader about the personal.
When the American publicist Joseph Pulitzer developed the principles of new journalism that made his newspaper The New York World a bestseller, he introduced the principle of personalization.
The so-called stories appeared on the pages of the publication – small stories about ordinary people: milkmen, seamstresses, policemen. In them, the heroes talked about how they live and shared their personal experiences. Readers expected these stories much more than political news and economic analytics, because everything in them was so personal, honest and vital.
This has borne fruit. When Joseph Pulitzer bought The New York World, the newspaper had a circulation of 15,000. After 15 years, it has grown to 1 million copies. And this is in 1898!
The principles of sincerity and openness are still appreciated by the reader. Many can talk about their experience for hours in colorful detail.
You can push your personal boundaries and let the reader get closer to you. If you write about the relationship between men and women, you can share the experience of, say, your own divorce. Yes, intimate, but clearly and honestly, which means it will respond in the soul of an audience that has experienced something similar.
Popular bloggers, including those on the expert page, talk about expertise primarily through personal stories. Be it the psychologist Maria Brazgovskaya , who talks about self-confidence through personal experiences: “I think I learned to put on myself at school. I didn’t have any special faith in myself then, I had a decision to leave at any cost. Second time after divorce. “
Or coach Tusya , who always talks about the body through her experience of illness and becoming: “In the 5th grade, I heard the conversation of adult girls:“ I read that if there is the same distance between the thighs as between the lower legs, then you are thin. ” I didn’t even have a crack between my thighs. “
Or the writer Alexander Tsypkin , who has everything – one big story: “I call a taxi. The driver is very polite but worried. Go. He has a call … “.
Hundreds of thousands of subscribers, tens of thousands of likes, large conversions and sales, including because people like it when a real person with a real destiny is hiding behind the material.
Personal experience of the author
The most successful materials are obtained when I get the chance to talk about personal experiences and publicly comprehend it. Firstly, this way more material and emotions appear in order to put them in the basis of the text. Secondly, the text thus has a face – the author with his own experience, with whom you can agree or argue, rely on it or condemn.
The reader is more willing and easier to conduct a discussion with a text with a human face – such material is more credible.
For example, on Mel, I periodically write about the teacher’s experience. For me, it is important not just to sprinkle with bare facts and dry statistics. Teaching carries a great emotional charge for me. Such texts involve readers, fellow teachers are more willing to speak out and enter into discussions.
Formulate why we are writing and what we want to tell about it
The first thing they teach at the Faculty of Journalism is to explain to yourself why you started to write a text. Then convey this to the reader. Do you want to tell him something, sell, make him laugh, make him empathize and cry?
Text for the sake of text, as a rule, is born stillborn: weak, scanty, and the worst thing – banal and obvious.
Moreover, the author of such a text usually storms from side to side: he does not know what and why to talk about. So, for example, the second, third, fourth and even tenth main thoughts can appear.
The main idea is the ridge on which the entire text rests. The main idea, like the theme of the text, should be one.
The theme of the text answers the question of what the author wants to tell, and the main idea is what exactly the author wants to say.
To make your text more consistent and focused, try writing down interesting observations, situations, and your emotions.
If something has caused a strong emotional response, it becomes easier to immediately describe and comprehend it in a certain context. There is no need to select words and look for a long time for an answer to the question: “Why am I writing this?” – it is born by itself in the moment.
At the same time, it is important to train attentiveness. The ability to see topics around you, inside yourself and among your loved ones will save you from platitudes.
For every, even a hundred years old, existing problem, you can find a new angle of view if you listen to your own feelings and thoughts.
At the same time, it is important to try not to broadcast the hackneyed and untrue truths that everyone has already heard: “All men cheat”, “Teenagers don’t like to read”, “We all love to watch movies” and other 1000 and 1 banalities.
Personal experience of the author
I have a publication Down With Snobbery: 9 Reasons To Stop Despising Fanfiction . This analyst was prompted by communication with students and colleagues, which caused certain emotions in me. From the name it is clear what the text is about and, most importantly, why it is needed.
The theme is fanfiction. The main point is that fanfiction is useful for teenagers.
Throughout the entire material, I adhere to this idea and argue for it. This makes it easier for the reader to understand from the very first lines whether he wants to read it.
Or the material that I prepared for the publication of “Theory and Practice” together with the scientist – ” Once again about GMOs: a molecular biologist – about the myths and benefits of genetically modified foods .” Both the topic and the purpose of the text are indicated in the title: we will talk about GMOs ⟶ with a scientist ⟶ about the benefits of such products. We wrote this material with an educational purpose: many still believe that GMOs are a continuous harm that causes cancer. The topic is controversial, lively and hot for the audience of the publication. Works well: those who are interested will read, someone will learn new things, and those who disagree will click on the link to argue.
Don’t be afraid to share negative experiences – readers need them
Many people love success stories. People like to appear successful, if not flawless. A large number of stories are based on which author or hero is a great fellow. And this is great – they learn from them, they are inspired, they stimulate.
Don’t be afraid of stories of failure – they are as beautiful as success stories, if not more so.
One of the most popular compositional formulas in storytelling is Dave Lieber’s formula, which is built according to the following scheme: appearance of a hero ⟶ his fall ⟶ restoration or conclusions. Such stories show that behind the text – a living person woven from feelings, failures, frustrations – is the same as we are.
Nobody wants to watch out for constant failure. But the dosed manifestation of weakness and the demonstration of negative experience is what attracts, teaches, and forms an emotional connection.
Airbnb publishes a prime example of a Dave Lieber formula story. In the text ” Emphasis on superhosts: how to return warmth to the house after loss “, readers get acquainted with the sad story of the widow Marianna from California, who lost her husband, and with him the will to live, joy. We see Marianne’s sorrows and failures, but her life changes and takes on meaning when she devotes her to receiving guests. Failures ⟶ fall ⟶ recovery.
Too overwhelming success and unshakable perfection, on the other hand, can irritate and alienate the audience. In life, few people love ideal people. They seem unnatural, and the credibility of them can diminish.
For example, well-known blogger Sasha Mitroshina shared in stories that the audience is annoyed by her successful content.
Sasha tried to explain herself and immediately showed the other side – weakness. She said that she was worried about how viewers would perceive her, that blogging can cause burnout and anxiety, that she does not fulfill all the tasks, despite successful stories. Her revelations were accepted by the audience, who, behind the super-successful millionaire blogger, saw a living girl who has the same problems as everyone else.
Many companies are afraid to admit their mistakes and expose failures. Although this is often what increases the credibility of them.
On the vc.ru portal, there is a great tendency to publish stories of entrepreneurs who failed:
- “ The story of another HR startup. How we got to IIDF and failed ”;
- ” 8 mistakes when starting my startup, which eventually failed “;
- “A story of failure: a longread about how I started a cryptocurrency project, why I failed, and what lessons I learned .”
Firstly, it is very useful: we are told from childhood that we learn from other people’s mistakes. Secondly, it increases the credibility of a brave person who is not afraid to look weak or stupid. Thirdly, it helps the reader understand that he is not the only one like that, there are still a lot of similar stories.
Personal experience of the author
One of my clients, with whom we have an Instagram account, flatly refused to show weaknesses. It seemed to him that for the audience he should appear invulnerable, successful, unshakable – this was the rhetoric of his posts. Supposedly, this is how the audience is more likely to appreciate professionalism and want to work with such a person.
For the sake of experiment, we tried several times to tell about failures, doubts, failures. It was these confessions that caused the most discussion among the audience. The reader’s reaction was the opposite of what the customer had anticipated. Instead of condemnation, he received gratitude and trust from people who recognized him as a living person.
I also try to share my weaknesses as much as possible. So, in one of the texts, I talked about the methods that allowed me to defeat anxiety. It was quite personal material, because in it I admitted directly: I lost my job, broke off long-term relationships, found financial instability and began to struggle with anxiety. I shared my negative experience and received unexpectedly many thanks from the readers in response – they found it bold, interesting and useful. They found a spiritual response in this and recognized themselves.
Add details that make the text lively and memorable
Good text is catchy and memorable. And just the details can be remembered – after all, the devil is in them.
You can say: “Buy our raspberry jam – it tastes better with it.” Or you can add colors and tell how a thick ruby liquid pours onto a fragrant lace pancake, how steam comes from it, and a ray of the morning sun falls on it.
Details add to the cinematic look. Text can render, and visualization is a big plus for the audience. We do all this by reading, for example, a good book.
There is no need to get carried away with descriptions, but subtly noticed nuances, characters taken in close-up, speaking details not only paint a picture, but also create an emotional charge. And the emotional connection with the text is the most important thing that we can give the audience in order to get their attention and loyalty in exchange.
Personal experience of the author
My client wanted to Instagram about moving to another country – very picturesque and sunny. But something was not asked – there were both good photos and useful information, but still something was not right.
We tried to work with her on the text: we added bright colors and details, added sensations and juiciness. They described not just a breakfast cafe, but its bohemian old lady with a huge ring and a cigarette sandwiched between her fingers. Not just coffee in the morning, but fragrant whipped cream that you can eat with a spoon while looking out at the sea. It was the details and cinematography that added liveliness to her texts, and the audience was drawn to this liveliness.
Exactly the same thing happened with my other – commercial – clients. You can’t keep an Instagram account of a beautiful space and not use detail in the texts: how the glare falls, how the colors shimmer, how the room is filled with the smells of fresh peonies. The task was to show how cozy and welcoming this place is, and it is the small details – colors, smells, light, jars on the shelf – that cope with it.
If you are persistently told that good writing is talent, don’t listen. Talent is, of course, wonderful, but text is a purely applied discipline.
Understand your audience, dive into your topic. And also a few ready-made techniques and practice will help you reach the next level.