April is National Poetry Month, so I’m pleased to welcome the following guest post from my colleague Angela Render. She’s an Internet marketing guru, and she also partners with me to present the Self-Publishing Success Intensive. In this article, Angela offers a creative approach to proving that, with the right combination of just a few poetic words, you can get your message across and persuade readers to take action. Check out her tips and tricks and consider how they might apply to your writing and marketing prose.
When confronted with online marketing, particularly with short form venues like Twitter, even writers have a hard time deciding what to say. But like any other form of expression, what you say comes second to how you say it. No one knows this better than a poet.
When words are all you have to convey a message, they matter. But more than simply getting the point across you also have to evoke an emotional response and inspire an action. Anyone who says this is easy is either delusional or selling something.
In honor of National Poetry Month I want to offer up my Haikus on how poetry can make your marketing messages stronger.
The title of your blog post or article may be the only thing anyone ever sees. Your title must convey the essence of your article while enticing your audience to click through and read more. That’s a lot for one thing to do. Use relevant words that excite your reader to action. Spend time on your title and choose your words with all the care of a poet.
Have you ever studied how words appear on a screen? It’s worth a look, especially when something you’re reading has drawn you in. “Negative” or “white” space provides the eye and the mind with a visual pause and forces the reader to mentally take a breath. Free-form poets know this trick and use it to make a point by emphasizing certain key words.
This trick is relevant and especially handy for blog posts or any webpage copy where a reader might be coming in from a search engine result or a random link. Research shows that a visitor to your site decides whether or not they will remain and read your content in as little as three to seven seconds. Your site design can help lengthen that time, but if the reader’s eye catches on a
word or phrase during the first scan they are more likely to remain and read more. Setting certain emotional words or relevant phrases apart by white space draws the eye to them.
This haiku is short enough to have been a tweet with a link. With many poetic forms, the structure restricts what and how the poet can say things, forcing them to approach their point creatively. Try not to look at media restrictions or word count limitations as obstacles. Instead, consider each constraint as an opportunity for creativity.
That three to seven second window of opportunity to grab and keep your reader is of supreme importance. You need to deliver what they came there to discover quickly. That usually means that your point should be revealed in the first paragraph—preferably in the first sentence. Then you build your case in the rest of the post.
Tell stories. Provide case studies. Paint pictures with your words that resonate with your reader. When you grab them on an emotional level, they are far more likely to act the way you want them to.
That said, you need to know what you want them to do—buy now, follow you, subscribe—and make that action easy for them to take.
Angela Render is the owner of Thunderpaw Web Development and author of Marketing for Writers: A Practical Workbook, Second Edition
and Digital Age Marketing for Small Businesses. Find her at AngelaRender.com or Thunderpaw.com.