How to keep your reader reading…
Last Sunday I was featured in the Sunday Business Post with an article by Elaine O’Regan – Confidence is the key to engaging marketing. Check it out here if you get the chance.
Anyway, since then I’ve had quite a few new people go to the site and send me messages about how clear and easy to read the information is.
I’ve blushed lots of times this week because us Irish gals just can’t take a compliment! But one of the reasons, you could consider it a secret, to keeping my copy conversational is the use of connecting phrases or ‘bridge phrases’.
There was a great copywriter in the 60s and 70s called Maxwell Ross. I’ve read his stuff and it rocks. But he prepared a list of sentences that he called his ‘bucket brigade’.
He got the idea from the the old West when towns folk would form a line from a river to a fire and act as a bucket brigade. Back then, there were no such thing as fire-enginges so all the folk would line up and pass the buckets of water to each other. No stopping, just passing the water, bucket by bucket and keeping the water flowing.
And that’s exactly what should happen in your text. It should flow nicely, as if we’re having a good conversation. Punctuation is essential – it’s my favourite part of writing copy.
But better yet is the bridge phrase. You see, the purpose of your headline is to get you to read the next line. The purpose of the first paragraph is to get you to read the second paragraph. The purpose of the second paragraph is to get you to read the third paragraph. You seeing a picture?!
Bridge phrases help you start a paragraph or sentence following up on the previous copy. It keeps the text flowing. If you’re familiar with my work, you’ll have heard me talk about incongruence. Well incongruence makes you stop – and most of the time its subconscious, you don’t even know you’ve stopped. But something doesn’t make sense and you move on.
You as a marketer for your business needs to keep the flow going. Just like a conversation and just like this article.
My favourite bridge phrases include:
- You see
- By now,
- Simply stated
- It’s my experience
- Notwithstanding that
- By the way
- Here’s why
And some of Maxell’s Ross, who was a direct response copywriter so you should consider putting these into your sales letters
- But, that’s not all…
- And now you can…
- More important than that..
- In addition to…
- Better yet…
You need to keep the flow going – copy is different than a conversation. When you’re talking, you can see if people are getting bored and you can change tactic. But your reader is in control when they’re reading your copy. You need to give them reason to stay with you.
Simply stated, if you don’t connect with them, they’re gone. Learning good techniques will help keep them there.
So go practice this technique and drop me a comment if you’ve any particular favourites that you use.