For Better Website Persuasion, Get To the Point Faster With Your Message

May 11, 2011Leave a reply

Unless you want your online copywriting to be discarded, you must lead with the point, rather than build to the point.

Your most persuasive website message must be stated clearly and early.

You’ve got just seconds to grab website readers before you lose them to information overload.

In fact, the chances are extremely high that most website readers will only read your opening sentences, headlines, and bullet points. Information Age readers are more appropriately termed “skimmers.”

Effective writing for website persuasion is journalistic, rather than academic. Understanding this is vital, since written content is a fundamental and essential component of modern marketing.

The Difference Between Academic & Journalistic Writing

The purpose of academic writing is to build a case, which creates broad context that leads to a concluding point. Academics amass data, facts, statistics, research, and logical arguments, all of which are carefully crafted and organized to support the point.

Unfortunately, few website readers have the patience to get to the point, no matter how beneficial and logical the point may be.

Journalistic writing, on the other hand, reverses this structure and leads with the point, then gives broader context the deeper you dive into the story.

Newspaper headlines are designed to give readers the point, even if they never read the article text. Consider these recent headlines:

“Jack Kemp, Former Quarterback & VP Nominee, Dies”
“Mexican Swine Flu Death Toll Jumps to 19”
“Iraqi Solder Kills 2 US Soldiers, Wounds 3”
“Officials: Gitmo Court System Likely to Stay Open”

Once the point is identified and articulated in the headline, readers are give increasingly deeper layers of information and context.

This may sound obvious. The truth is that few website copywriters ever implement it properly.

They struggle with making their point up front because they’re afraid readers won’t understand it out of context.

This is partially true, yet a good lead both informs and hooks readers. It gives them enough information that they can derive benefit without reading further, but it also peaks their curiosity enough to continue reading.

A far greater danger than website readers not understanding the context of your opening message is for them never to arrive at the point because it’s buried in context.

The Flip Technique for Better Website Persuasion

If you struggle with the journalistic structure, it’s very easy to overcome. Write your blog article, e-book, press release, etc. as you normally would. Then flip it upside down and take note of the effect.

Simply reverse the order of the paper. Does this make it more, or less readable? More, or less engaging? More, or less catchy from the beginning?

If you think you get this concept, I challenge you to use the same technique. Flip your written piece upside down and watch what happens.

My prediction is that 95% of writers will improve their style and website persuasion by trying this technique, even many experienced writers.

Conclusion: Get to the Point

Effective writing for website persuasion leads with the core point, then develops that point by providing further information and context.

Ineffective writing compiles provides broad information in order to make a point.

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