More Than Words: Writing with Intent
I love to write. I always have.
As far back as I can remember, I used to sit and write stories, while my friends went out to play or watched TV. I don't mind writing short articles, or long ones, and I like to think that I am reasonable proficient at it. But what I don't always take into account, especially when just writing for pleasure, but also when working on my blog or my site, is that writing should be more than words.
I don't mean add a bunch of images, though obviously, if we are talking about our sites that is helpful. What I am thinking of is what Kyle likes to refer to as writing with intent, and while the idea has obviously been presented to me in the past, the importance of it has been reiterated to me this past week.
Conversational Tone, Not a Conversation
I'd like to think that I am fairly good at writing with a conversational tone, but that doesn't mean it should just be a conversation (albeit one-sided). We aren't writing just for fun. The point of our writing is to help people out, and also to make a success out of our online businesses.
To that end, our writing should have purpose.What are we trying to accomplish? I could write page after page of what I think about something, but if it doesn't help someone, or if it doesn't somehow inspire them to take action, then I have failed.
And, frankly, I think I have been failing.
The Fabled Call to Action
What is it that I have been missing?
Well, aside from needing a bit more focus in general, I often fail to provide a call to action, and that seems to be my biggest downfall.
How often have we all watched movies where a leader of some sort-- whether a football coach or the leader of a rebel army-- gives a rousing speech, stirring up their followers, followed by a stunning victory? Those inspiring speeches end with a call to action.
I don't think I have ever come across one of those scenes where, at the end of the speech, the leader simply stops talking, turns, and walks away, leaving everyone excited and ready to act, but unsure of what to do. And if I have seen something like that, I don't remember it.
Do you want visitors to your site to forget you? Or do you want to inspire them to do something?
Do you get visitors to your site excited? Do you stir up their passions and get them primed and ready to act? Do you then simply sign off at the end of your blog without directing that awesome energy?
Yeah, I have done that.
People Come to Us for Guidance
When someone visits your site, they are coming to you with a purpose. You should meet them with purpose of your own.
You may be the most brilliant writer, with a natural flair for words, but if you don't actually guide your visitors and tell them what to do, they probably won't do anything.
Now, I don't mean that you want to force them into anything. Of course not. But if they want advice on a product, or information on a certain topic, then simply tossing facts at them isn't that helpful, unless you can also tell them how they can take advantage of what you have shown them.
If you are promoting something and you think it is absolutely the best of its kind, that's great, but if you don't provide a way for someone to actually obtain that item, you are not only missing out on a sale, but you are failing your customer. They will, of course, be the ones to decide if they act on what you say, but you have to give them the option to do so, or else you are simply leaving them hanging.
If you offer them a way to act, they will do so. You will be helping them and helping yourself in the process.
Give Them the Help They Need.
I'd suggest reviewing your writing. Take a look at any blogs or articles you have done and see if you have provided effective calls to action. If you really want to help your potential customers, you need to help them all the way.
Don't tell them how great a car is and then not hand them the keys.
Your clients come to you with a need and if you can't help them, someone else will, so take the initiative and do more than just get them excited with nowhere to turn. Use your call to action. Get them moving in the right direction.
Then you know you have done your job right.