Three Steps That Guarantee Every Word of Your Copy Gets Read

Screen Reading

Get someone to read every word? Isn’t that impossible these days?

It’s not impossible if you put your mind to it. Really.

If you want to get visitors to stop what they’re doing, give you their undivided attention and take the immediate action you desire, then grab the closest pen you can find and start taking notes on these three proven copywriting techniques the pros use every day.

1. Lead with an Intensely Powerful Promise

If you’ve done a good job of pulling your readers in with a magnetic headline, then you’ve only won half the battle – now you need to convince them that it’s worth their while to read everything below it. One of the best ways to make them eager to continue reading is to whet their appetite with a promise to deliver an immediate benefit that makes their life easier or takes some of their pain away.

And when you announce that promise, you want to crank up the intensity by using the kind of vivid imagery that engages their senses, getting them to imagine the promise being fulfilled for them in specific detail – so they don’t have to stop and think about it themselves.

For example, I’ve promised to tell you how to get visitors to:

  • stop what they are doing,
  • give you their undivided attention, and
  • take the immediate action you desire.

If you’re still reading, you probably envisioned your readers doing something like buying your products, signing up for your newsletter, or leaving comments on your site. When you use vivid imagery within an intense promise, your readers will custom-fit that promise to their personal situation – just as you did a moment ago.

2. Use Benefit-Driven Details to Establish Credibility

You want to establish credibility in the eyes of your readers, but you can’t just sing your own praises. Your readers only care about what’s in it for them, so it’s in your best interest to spin your story to focus on their best interest instead. For example:

  • Bad: You should listen to me because I’ve driven over $150,000 in sales in the last 12 months for myself and my clients.
  • Good: Discover how to take your sales through the roof using the techniques I used to generate over $150,000 in sales for my clients over the last 12 months.

By ensuring the benefit to your readers takes precedence over your own desire to quote stats, you get the best of both worlds – rapt attention and increased credibility.

Remember, your readers want to know that you’re competent (so they feel comfortable buying from you), but they don’t want to focus on you any longer than is necessary. After all, would you be more interested in hearing me talk about how I front-paged Digg over and over again last year, or would you rather read the six tutorials at Copyblogger I used to stay on the Digg front page in 2008?

Delivering benefits to your reader is the cake – your stats are just the icing.

3. Leverage Readers’ Pain (Or They will Ignore You and Click Away)

It may not be politically correct to advise you to push your readers’ pain points, but if you don’t bring it up toward the end of your copy, the likeliness of them delaying action goes way up (and you may well lose them forever). If you don’t bring the consequences of inaction front and center, they’ll get distracted by some other urgency and click away … and the action you needed them to take gets pushed off to a “someday” which never comes.

Without focusing on the pain, you’ll lose the sales you need to survive, grind your teeth over stagnant subscriber counts or simply get lost in a sea of competing content written by authors who know how to use pain to get your readers to take the actions that they want them to.

But fear not – you don’t have to feel guilty about “bringing the pain.” Once you’ve established the pain that inaction will cause your readers, you remind them of that promised benefit you started out with – and link it directly with whatever it is you’re offering as the way to make that pain disappear. And instead of guiding your readers through copy that focuses on features and credentials and other yawn-inducing text, you’ve used three simple techniques to do exactly what it takes to cause them to take action:

  • You’ve drawn them in with an intensely powerful promise,
  • You’ve used benefit-driven details to establish credibility, and
  • You’ve leveraged their pain points to encourage them to take the action you desired.

And now that you’ve experienced it for yourself by reading every word of this article, go do it for your own readers.

And drop a comment below while you’re at it. I’m glad you stuck with me ’til the end. :)

About the Author: Dave Navarro is coach-turned-blogger who writes at Rock Your Day and The Launch Coach, and loves to do more by 9 am than most people do all day.

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Reader Comments (52)

  1. says

    One more thing, divide your information in points, and not long paragraphs.

    And then further explain every point. Isn’t this what you have done in this article, Dave? 😉

  2. says

    Great summary Dave. “Come and see what has worked for others” is always a great way to hold onto the attention of your audience without focusing on me, us or we. A pseudo-celebrity only helps bring the audience, not hold them.

    Pain is an interesting way to look at it. Agreed that inaction is an angle to focus on, and confidence in your product/service/solution also plays a huge roll. Heck, just confidence in general coupled with some positive results goes a long way.

    Thanks again.

  3. says

    Benefit driven copy works. I’ve always liked how Seth Godin referred to it as the only radio station people care about… “WII-FM” or “What’s In It For Me.”

  4. says

    Really good points Dave.

    Is this the distinction between those thousands of personal blogs which just document their daily life and those blogs like yours which actually help people?

    I know my blog is somewhere in between, I am trying to get the experience in my niche before passing knowledge on to others.

  5. says

    You must know your stuff because I read every word. :-) I love stuff like this because I’m a newbie when it comes to blogging so I’m trying to learn as much as possible. If you keep pumping out good blogs like this, I’ll keep reading every word.

    Follow me @dejon97.

  6. says

    What I’m about to say goes totally against the grain of 90% of blogs and is certainly inappropriate to most niches, but you can also tell a story so well crafted, it draws the reader in and removes them from their day, even if only for a moment. You know, like a book.

  7. says

    Excellent post! I’m always looking for ways to keep my readers reading whether it’s my newsletter, blog or website. These are great points. I can’t wait to start implementing them!

  8. says

    Wonderful post, Brian. The story telling strategy has worked remarkably well for me at WD, but not so much on my other sites. Reader expectations do come into play. Again, it’s all about knowing your audience.


  9. Nicole Hicks says

    Great info! I like the idea of acknowledging the pain and drawing people into the solution with words.

  10. says

    I read every word. Thanks for the tips.

    Humans beings are motivated by two things — avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. Benefit driven copy will attract and hold attention if you’re targeting the right audience.

  11. says

    Great pointers for this new online enthusiast, thanks. I have a tendency to just write about my niche for the sake of manufacturing content.

    I’m good with SEO, now it’s time to take things to a higher level.

    Your suggestions have caused me to think about making a preliminary online by using your pointers as a guide.

  12. says

    The magic word that encapsulates everything you said in your great article is “emotion.” Engage with your reader on an emotional level – with benefits, a story, suspense, mystery, tragedy, or even comedy – and you’ve got them hooked. This is why “literary masterpieces” will never approach the sales volume of Harry Potter.

  13. says

    Sid, I have to take issue with your problem with literary masterpieces. They are wonderful stories that are usually intensely emotional. They take some time and effort to read – in fact, I don’t know when I’ll be able to read them like I did in my teens and twenties – but they are worth the time when you have it.

    That said, books like Harry Potter are fantastic and well written. I only read the second book, but Rowling has a lot of talent, and the book was quite good in terms of its literary value.

    Unfortunately, we’ve all been intimidated by the “importance” of literary masterpieces. They’re so much better when you just read them because you feel like it and when you don’t worry about what people will think of you.

    Dave, great blog post! I know all this, yet you explained it so well that I feel I learned a lot. Thanks!

  14. says

    Tia –

    I’ve been a fiction writer all my life (nothing published, I just dig storytelling and improv).

    It’s practice, plain and simple. Perhaps talent figures into the equation, but talent without practice is useless … practice can “create” a lot of that talent. :-)

  15. says

    Well, you lost me at the end there, but I read almost every word of your copy, so not too bad! =) Seriously, though, good advice…

  16. says

    these are very insightful tips. many bloggers (me included) tend to write thinking about themselves first before the readers. The tips you gave really brings home the point. Thanks a lot.

  17. says

    Good advice and a compelling article.

    My only thought, is the use of ‘Pain’, which doesn’t always fit why a post or email makes a connection with the reader. ‘Need’ seems more appropriate to me.

    I didn’t quite read every word :-), but enough to get a lot from it. Thx


  18. says

    Really good post and it shows in the fact that so many people have commented on this post that you practice what you preach. Good advice and I think it is definitely true that the way content is worded makes all the difference if people become bored.
    Well done! :)

  19. says

    I can understand the plight of a blogger who wants every word of his post to be read. Most of the time, readers just browse through a post, more so if it is a long one, and this is the same with me as well – a bad habit.
    But as your browse through a post, there are certain words that your eyes are searching for in the post and when it strikes your eyes, you decide to spend some time reading it. It is important for any blogger to understand what these eye-catching words are and then sprinkle it across your blogs.
    As I read through this post I was trying to match every word of what your had written to the way it is used in this post to ensure that the reader reads through every word in the post.
    Thanks for the informative and valuable tips.

  20. says

    Paul and R Kumar,

    This blog isn’t so much about blogging as it is about copywriting. That’s where this advice really shines.

    When you address pain rather than need, you really push your prospects’ hot buttons. I don’t like it when this is used in an insensitive way. But as Dave pointed out, if your product or service makes that pain go away, you’re really helping your reader by letting him/her know that you’ve got the answer.

    That’s why Dave emphasizes pain rather than need. It shouldn’t be used lightly, but if you’re selling a good product or service that will heal that pain, it’s a good strategy.


  21. says

    This is great information, thank you. The amount of information you give away for nothing, everyone should be making a fortune!

    One of my most favourite blogs!



  22. says

    Interesting article, but I don’t believe you can be assured every word will be read even by following your good advice to the letter – most of us are on info overload. However, I can believe readers will at least skim to end of an article if drawn in in a masterful or crafty way. At which point, the delivery better be there or we’re dead. Consumers are becoming more and more cynical about having their emotions played with and their pain exploited, as well they should be. Thank you for making us think – always a good thing and always what Copyblogger articles do for me…

  23. says

    I don’t understand what you meant by “Leveraging your Reader’s Pain”. Maybe my English comprehension is really bad, but which Pain are we talking about here?
    Would you care to elaborate please?

    Overall, great post. Thanks!

  24. says

    I agree with Travel Deals above – one of the biggest problems with many sites is just the amount of text they try to put in front of their readers. While that can help with search engine optimization, it does not help with users actually reading the information.

  25. says

    I read every word. Thanks for the tips.Humans beings are motivated by two things — avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. Benefit driven copy will attract and hold attention if you’re targeting the right audience.

  26. says

    Benefit driven copy works. I’ve always liked how Seth Godin referred to it as the only radio station people care about… “WII-FM” or “What’s In It For Me.”

  27. says

    Great article. I love the sensory description you used!

    I especially like how you suggest to leverage the reader’s pain points to get them to take action. That’s definitely something I’m going to try to do on my own sales page for my new eBook launch.


  28. says

    I read every word. Thanks for the tips.Humans beings are motivated by two things — avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. Benefit driven copy will attract and hold attention if you’re targeting the right audience….

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