By Ann Meany published February 3, 2012

4 Critical Steps to Seducing Your Customer with Passionate Storytelling

Yes, chocolate is great, but central to the mystique of Valentine’s Day is the power and importance of the cleverly written word. No other holiday relies quite so heavily on the seductive spell of language. Whether it’s a poem, a greeting in a card, or even a short message — such as an email, a tweet, or a candy heart phrase — content reigns supreme when it comes to Valentine’s Day.

The same elements that make a Valentine’s Day message successful can work for content marketers, as well.  Even a message on a piece of candy could teach us something.

Keep it conversational, and from the heart

Authenticity is one of the most important aspects of communicating well. No one responds positively to an insincere Valentine’s Day message, and readers of a blog, website, or newsletter are no different. Being authentic means you really have to think about whom your audience members are, and then write about what’s important to them (here are some tips). Your focus should be on meeting your readers’ needs, solving a problem for them, providing information, or maybe just entertaining them for a few minutes, all while using conversational language and avoiding impersonal corporate speak.

For example, if you’re writing a post about new tax preparation software, show your human side:

  • Try not to weigh down the content with extensive technical descriptions that may be hard for the typical consumer to understand.
  • Avoid a self-serving sales pitch that merely promotes the item. Instead, write about an aspect of the product that could improve your readers’ lives; for example, how much time it can save them, how it can help cut costs, or how it will speed up their refund.
  • Start a conversation. Speak to your audience in a relatable way that shows you understand what their tax concerns are, and offer them something of value to help them find solutions.

Choose vivid, lively words that paint a picture of your value

Don’t be dull. If you want to capture a reader’s attention in a short time with limited space, make sure the words you use paint a spectacular picture. Allow readers to employ all their senses — they should be able to taste the sweetly bitter, dark chocolate you are writing about, feel the sharp pricks of the freezing rain you mention to set the mood, or hear the rapid-fire, staccato rhythm of popcorn popping that builds intrigue or tension in your story.

For instance, what if you’re writing about an innovative new showerhead? Do more than just rattle off the features of the product. Describe what it actually feels like to use it — “a refreshing summer rain,” or “a luxurious waterfall.” Help your audience imagine the benefits rather than just telling them what they are. Once you’ve created a picture for your readers, your content (and your brand) will be harder to forget.

Use an active voice to build excitement and impact

A Valentine’s Day card doesn’t usually say, “You are loved by me.” Changing it to “I love you” heightens the impact of the statement. An active voice — when the subject of the sentence is doing the acting — is clear, concise, and helps readers get right to the point. It also energizes your writing and eliminates ambiguity and wordiness. Active content is easier to read, and will engage your readers longer.

Think of it this way: Many of your visitors are hastily skimming, and won’t bother to plow through wordy, complicated text. An active sentence such as “The waiter dropped a whole tray of mojitos” captures attention more quickly than “A whole tray of mojitos was dropped by the waiter.”

Create potential for action

Almost every Valentine’s Day message has an underlying motive: to get the reader to take another action (“Say yes,” “Be mine,” etc.). Marketing copy has the same goal. What’s the next step you want your readers to take? Maybe you want them to think about what you’ve written and engage with your site by leaving a comment or question, find out more about your company or just talk to others about what they’ve read. Whatever your goal, make it clear to readers what the intended next step should be so that your carefully crafted content will lead to further action. (Here are some more helpful ideas for pulling prospects in.)

When wielded in the right way, words have tremendous power to influence and persuade. But a dozen roses never hurt, either.

Author: Ann Meany

Ann Meany is managing editor at Brandpoint, a content-based marketing solutions company that helps build exposure, credibility and awareness for brands. Ann has more than a decade of experience in digital media and marketing and leads a talented team of multi-channel content creators who produce engaging, relevant content for Brandpoint’s clients. You can follow Ann on Twitter @annkmeany or join the Brandpoint community @brandcontent and Facebook.

Other posts by Ann Meany

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