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9 Copywriting Rules To Create Hypnotic Posts Your Readers Will Love

Posted By Guest Blogger 30th of January 2015 Writing Content 36
Image via Flickr user Daniel Lee

Image via Flickr user Daniel Lee

This is a guest contribution from Hassan Ud-deen.

Your blog posts have a purpose, right?

You want your readers to take a specific action after reading your post. It could be to: like, share, subscribe, comment or just think about something. Either way, you’re aiming to elicit a response.

And It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a sale letter, a blog post, or an email.

If you aim to evoke any kind of response or action… you’re writing copy.

Funnily enough, most of the content marketing style writing you read now, is heavily influenced by copywriting principles that marketers (who violently squeezed the power out of every word to make their copy super effective or go to bed hungry,) used to sell to complete strangers.

So let’s revisit the raw “old school” copywriting roots of blogging/content marketing and discover the powerful principles used to make millions from the written word, and how they apply to writing popular posts today.

 

1 Put On Your “Blog Detective” Hat

In the marketing world, a hook is the one story, idea or feature that races out the screen and locks the reader’s attention in its jaws.

Copywriters would dig through sales literature, interview previous customers, and brush up on the history of a product. All in search for the one undiscovered piece of information that made a reader’s eyes jump out of their sockets.

Legendary copywriter John Carlton calls this putting on your “sales detective” hat and getting into a “Bogart-like” gumshoe frame of mind.

The same principle can be used to craft irresistible posts that spread like wildfire.

Jon Morrow is a perfect example of this. The only difference being that he wore a “blog detective” hat instead of a sales one.

Before his posts went viral on Copyblogger, he noted the number of comments on almost every post, analyzed the type of comments being made, and studied the social media statistics for years.

Jon’s thorough detective work allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the heart-warming dreams, worrying problems and crippling fears of the Copyblogger audience, resulting in posts that exploded with comments and shares.

If you want to write posts that go viral, put on your blog detective hat and study popular posts, dig through comments, analyze them, and look out for patterns.

You’ll find exactly what your audience wants to know, and be able to deliver hot content that they will love.

 

2 One Thing Successful Copy and Winning Posts Have in common

Highly converting copy and popular posts have one crucial element in common…

A magnetic, benefit-driven headline.

According to David Ogilvy: “On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

That means if you’re headline isn’t up to scratch, your product isn’t going to sell, and you’re going to be bleeding money.

If you’re a blogger, your audience won’t be sold on why they should click on your links and your your post aren’t going to be read.

Take a look at the popular post section to the right here on ProBlogger.

My favourites are:

The Ultimate Guide to Making Money with the Amazon Affiliate Program

7 Strategies for Growing Community on Your Blog

Can You REALLY Make Money Blogging? [7 Things I Know About Making Money from Blogging]

Notice Something here?

They all promise an irresistible benefit to the reader.

We could spend hours discussing the anatomy of popular headlines, but there are two must- haves for injecting a hefty amount of stopping power into any headline.

  • Promising a mouth-watering benefit to the reader
  • Arousing the readers burning curiosity

If your headline does the two things above, that’s a good sign.

Looking for more ways to power up your headlines? Jon Morrow’s 52 Headline Hacks report is an indispensable guide

 

3 Strong Copy and Seductive Blog Posts Adhere To The Same Formula

Ever heard of the AIDA formula? It’s a known formula for writing sales pages, but it can also be used to quickly create high-power blog posts.

A- Attention. This is your headline and your opening sentence, where you’re looking to snag your prospects attention and quickly show that what you’re selling is beneficial to them.

If you’re a blogger, the only difference is that your readers aren’t paying you with cash.  They’re paying you with their time and attention, and you’re selling them on how reading your content will benefit them.

I-Interest. This is where you’ll pique the interest of your prospects. Nudging them further down your copy by weaving a relatable story or describing a painful problem that your product solves.

In your posts, this is where you’d seduce readers further down the page by sharing a story or arousing their curiosity and emotions.

D-Desire. Here’s where blogging and copywriting have a slight split.

In a sales page, this would be where you describe the benefits of your product and get your reader warm and runny over what you’re selling.

In your posts, this is where you deliver your content.

A-Action. After being swept off their feet by all the amazing benefits of your product, this is where you invite your prospect to take some kind of action. Usually to make an order, cut out a coupon or fill in a form.

As a blogger, after your readers are charged up and inspired by the content you’ve delivered. This is where you invite them to take action by commenting, subscribing or clicking on a link.

Blog posts and sales pages both have the same goal: To get the reader to take action, and that’s what the AIDA formula is designed to do.

So the next time you find yourself gazing at the ceiling with a blank page on your screen. Give the AIDA formula a try.

 

4 Long Post vs. Short Posts?

What’s more effective, long posts or short posts, long copy or short copy?

Joseph Sugarman answers the question perfectly: “Copy is never too long if the readers takes the action that you request. Therefore, it can’t be dull, it must be compelling, it must relate to the readers and, finally, it’s got to be about something the reader is interested in.”

This means that as long as you’re providing value to your readers, keeping them engaged, and relating to them… the length of your post is almost irrelevant.

 

5 Adopt the Gun to The Head Writing Philosophy

When John Carlton started his copywriting career, he had no source of income, savings for only one more month’s rent, and last a tank of gas in his battered car. (Not a nice place to be right?)

But instead of feeling panicked by his situation, he describes feeling eerily calm.

Why?

Because he had to create successful ads, or starve.

To do this, he treated each ad as if it was a life or death matter. Like their was a cold nozzle of a loaded gun pressed into to his head while he wrote.

So, how does one write when they have no choice but to create something that moves people to act?

  • You don’t take risks.

You rely on proven methods that you know will work. In the world of copywriting this means using proven structures, headlines and devices. Relate this to blogging, and it means using proven headlines, blog post types and topics to create hard hitting posts.

 

  • You be as clear as possible.

If your reader loses interest, you lose the sale. Similarly, if your post is boring; you’ve just lost a reader. Use simple language and aim to be as clear as possible.

 

  • You always provide a juicy benefit to the reader

In a sales letter, you communicate the benefit your readers will gain from your product.  In a blog post you communicate how your content will enrich their lives.

What can they expect to gain from your continuing to read your content?  Be sure to let your reader know or risk losing him.

Give yourself no option but to write stellar content, and you will.

 

6 The Most Powerful Word in Your Writing Arsenal

Is the word “You.”

Your readers doesn’t care about what you want. What your interests are, or what you like. However they care, very deeply, about what they want, like and find interesting.

Constantly relate everything back to your readers by use the word “you” generously in your writing. It’s about your reader, not about you.

 

7 Shock Your Readers Into Paying Attention

Another lesser-known copywriting trick used to craft hypnotic sales letters is to anticipate and answer objections before your reader can voice them.

Read any good sales letter, and you’ll notice every time the reader can ask a question, it’s answered immediately. This helps the copy flow and extinguishes any stress the reader may have.

You can do something equally powerful when writing your blog posts too.

In their book “Made to stick”, Chip and Dan Heath discovered that we all have a little guessing machine running inside our heads. It’s constantly trying to guess what’s going to happen next.

And as long as everything goes according to plan, people stay a little bored and disinterested.

A powerful way to snap people out their guessing trance, is to break their guessing machine by knowing what they expect you to say, and deliberately going against it.

So instead of anticipating objections for a product, anticipate what your readers expect to hear and say the opposite (or something they’re not used to hearing).

Take for example this post here by Carol Tice.

Carol predicts what the reader is thinking, and says the complete opposite. She simultaneously educates and shocks the reader. Instantly jolting their guessing machine and forcing them to pay attention.

If you want your posts to snap your readers into attention, attack their guessing machines with something unexpected. It could be unique advice, a controversial view or something that no-one else talks about.

 

8 Use Stories To Bond With Readers

Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic. They are ideally set up to understand stories- Roger C. Shank.

Stories stir feelings and charge you with emotion. Sometimes making you burst with excitement or flooding your world with sadness. Thanks to their extreme power,  they are a popular tool amongst copywriters.

A recent experiment by journalist Rob Walker set out to test the power of stories and how they can add value to almost anything.

Rob hired a group of writers to create emotionally provocative stories about unwanted, cheap thrift store items.

He then placed the items on ebay with the story in the description.

The results?

They sold $128.74 worth of abandoned thrift items for over $3000 dollars. An overall value increase of over 2,700%.

By using stories in your blog posts, you arouse your readers emotions and create sympathy and make yourself more relatable. You’ll also be able to cement ideas and information into readers brains with much more strength and clarity.

 

9 Electrocute Your Readers With Emotion

There’s a reason why sales letters describe painful problems, amazing dreams, and heart breaking stories to readers before mentioning their products.

Emotion.

Copywriters rub salt into readers wounds and paint pleasing pictures to charge people with emotion. They know the only way to get anyone to act and to pay attention, is to get their hearts to beat a little faster. To raise their body temperature up a notch. To make them salivate with desire. To make them feel.

In a special report by Jonah Berger and Katy L. Milkman called “what makes online content go viral” one of the biggest revelations was that content that evokes powerful emotions is more viral than content that doesn’t.

This makes sense. For people to take act, they have to feel.

So for people to actively share and promote your content, they have to be exploding with so much inspiration, ambition or hope that they can’t help but spread your message.

While there are a ton of ways to inject more raw emotional power into your writing, the best way is to charge yourself up with the emotions you want readers to absorb.

Get flush with anger. Get extremely hyper. Get insanely happy. Then, discharge your energy into your writing.

 

One Final Thing

All the tips in this post can do wonders when it comes to creating popular posts.

But, if there’s one thing that could render all the above tips combined utterly useless.

It’s value.

If what you’re write doesn’t bring value to your audiences lives in any way, no tip will ever help you create posts that readers bookmark and share.

How do you come up with killer content for your readers? Please tell me in the comments below!

Hassan Ud-deen is a freelance blogger and email copywriter who helps businesses use content to grow. You can find out more about him on his blog www.f-bombmarketing.com or if you need help with your blog posts or copy, shoot him an email or connect with him on Facebook.

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This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.
Comments
  1. I agree to these kind of rules for copywriter and to my way reader always like original and unique things on posts
    Thanks for sharing with us
    Have nice day

  2. I’ve gone way nuts with stories Hassan and people seem to dig my approach. Why? We all love stories, or else movies and books and TV shows wouldn’t be billion dollar industries. I like tying my whacky travel experiences into blogging but any meld works. Like yesterday; I explained how a woman on an airplane receiving a shower of cashew nuts teaches you a most profitable blogging lesson. Weird, kinda funny I guess, and it pulled folks in quickly.

    Thanks for the tips Hassan and keep on inspiring!

    Ryan

    • Ryan when you said you’ve gone nuts with your stories, you weren’t exaggerating. You really do use stories pretty damn well!

      Loving the style of your posts and the whole travel blog theme. I like how you eloquently explained the first point about stories. Couldn’t have said it better!

  3. You are right Hassan, some body was telling me the other day, write a copy like you would write a blockbuster movie, start with an intriguing title, pack the story with anticipation, drama, emotion and some edge of the seat moments.

    • Yup, true say Cathy. As David Ogilvy said “You cannot bore people into buying your product.”

      Therefore your writing has to grip your readers and suck them in like a demonic vacuum!

    • Cathy,

      Another approach that’s really good too is writing a “call to action” title for blogs and websites. This method attracts Bing, Google, and YaHoO! search engine spiders quickly to crawl and index your content. Emotional blog posts are a good soft sell, because you’re catering to people’s feelings.

  4. Hi Hassan. you had contributed worthy blog post here, It’s a good one, worth rereading even if you read it before. you had played a bigger game! now its your job to come up with the next great thing,love to learn more from you. keep blogging.

  5. There’s word that a new copyright rule is silently in effect. The minute you post something to your blog or website that’s of your original work, you own the copyright on the spot.

  6. Awesome post, Hassan. Your post is an absolutely outstanding example of how psychology is applied to online marketing. Because of this, I’ll definitely run over our client’s copy and put through this strategy that you’ve partaken in.

    • Thank you very much Lily. I guess psychology is important when it comes to get people to act, and writing is no different.
      I hope the tips serve you well.

  7. Great post Hassan

    Point no 6 is the most important. You must use the “you” word. It goes a long way in building connection with your readers.

    And the other most improtant thing about a copy is the cliched but true “conversational” approach. You have to make your user feed that you are directly having a conversation with him or her. These two things work the best for me. Thanks again.

    Neil

  8. Hi Hassan and thank you for some great insight into copy-writing.

    I am myself a copywriter and have had my texts distributed alongside the web for a variety of different website and I have to absolutely agree with and bolster your claim number 6. the power of ‘you’. Frankly, I have noticed a much better response from the general audience to the texts which were specifically designed to refer to the audience directly instead of focusing on something irrelevant and describing a situation from nobody’s point of view….

    Great article, hope there will be more like this one.

    • yeah, you hit the nail on the head there Samanta. The more specific the letter is, the more effective it becomes at eliciting a response and engaging your prospects/audience.
      thanks for the kind words Samata, have an awesome day.

  9. Great post Hasan!

    What many people love is…detail.

    It’s why step by step, how to guides are so loved.

    Because they provide the information to make it CLEAR what action to take, making people understand and believe that they can take action successfully.

    Explaining things IN DETAIL allows you to separate yourself from those other writers who only provid vague information, and offers additional value than the usual blog post.

  10. Hassan great post. I love the 9 rules. I personally have seen so much difference in terms of engagement when I started to use better more eye catching headlines.

    Thank you for the great post. Will be sure to implement all the rules in my next blog post.

  11. Kelly says: 01/31/2015 at 7:27 am

    I think when many people see a list like this, they feel a bit overwhelmed – “shock my readers”; “create excitement” – How do I do that??

    My advice is to start writing and keep writing. Keep all these tips in mind, and just start doing it! Your first pieces of content most likely won’t be stellar, may not attract any attention, and that’s ok! The key is to keep doing it, keep working at it – just like any other skill, it can be sharpened, honed, perfected.

    If you want to be a better writer – any kind of writer, not just copywriting – the key is to read, write, write, write, write.

    • You’re absolutely right Kelly. I didn’t see a noteworthy improvement in my writing until I started writing more. However making writing a consistent habit is where the challenge currently lies…

  12. Every blogger should write these points on the wall for him to look at them over and over again. They are definitely true. Most of us also know most of these points. But to follow these rules sounds much easier as it really is… It is a matter of learning, trying, measuring and adjusting.

    Thanks for this post.

    • Thanks Susanna.

      Yup that’s with everything, following through is much harder than just reading things!

  13. It’s all about captivating our readers- and keeping the pronoun “you” out there is essential. We have to think about THEIR needs, THEIR wants, and why they are even reading to begin with. The reader has the problem to be solved and we have the solution, so it’s always about them. Thanks for this reminder.

  14. Great job Hassan! The act of writing more will improve your writing. Just do it.

  15. This point should be really be kept in mind : Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic. They are ideally set up to understand stories .
    Yes, humans understand stories more than logics

    • I definitely can relate.

      I remember watching breaking bad. Man that story had me adddiccteeed!

      I’d spend hours wondering what would happen next, and was extremely emotionally involved all thanks
      to a good story

  16. I also agree to these kind of rules for copywriter helps a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing with us

  17. Stellar post! I always say that the best blog posts meet people at their point of pain and offer a healing solution of some kind.

  18. I am now hypnotized with your post.:)

    But I do agree with the length of the post. Most people thinks that writing long post is good. Yeah, maybe it is but if the quality is so dull people will just go away from the article.

  19. Hassan, I’ve used personal stories on my blog and readers eat them up. I’ve also used several of the other tips you’ve outlined here, including the AIDA approach.

    It’s nice that you have reminded us all of the basic principles of writing copy. I know new bloggers will appreciate the tips and seasoned bloggers can always use a reminder. ;)

  20. Hassan you kept the best thing for the last I like that.

    Value is indeed the king and no matter how many copy writing rules we apply on the content without giving people value one can simply not expect to get any sustainable results. I am loving all your guest posts here Hassan.

    Keep up the good work..

    -Saad

  21. Nice article Hassan. I think every blogger should gauge what they readers want and write accordingly.

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