How to Write More Captivating Content

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I'm Jade Scarfone.
A digital strategist and transformation catalyst, merging a decade of corporate systems mastery with a profound journey of self-discovery. From navigating the high-stakes world of banking to making waves in high-ticket affiliate marketing, I'm now dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through strategic digital innovations. 

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Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s magic. I must admit, writing is one of those things that has always come to me pretty naturally. But I know for a lot of people this just isn’t the case. So I wanted to share a list of tips on how to write more captivating content.

Writing is pretty natural to me. But I know for a lot of people this isn't the case. So here's a list of tips on how to write more captivating content.

The more I learn about my personality; the more I realise writing is what I’m meant to be doing. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been writing. And I’ve never been very good at parting with my writing. I have boxes of old journals stacked up at my parents place.

Not just journals, but school assignments too. I love going back and reading them and seeing how my writing has evolved. If I’m not writing, my head is generally stuck in a book. So you could say it comes pretty naturally to me.

And even though I used to doubt myself, I’ve had enough people say it to me to know that I do ok at it lol. But it’s also something I’ve spent a lot of time learning about.

I have a degree in journalism. I’ve invested in copywriting courses. Storytelling courses.

I’m obsessed with writing. And I love finding new ways to enhance my skills.

Up until recently, I always saw writing as more of a hobby than a career option.

Ever heard of the struggling artist archetype? It’s the myth that “I will never be able to support myself if I pursue a career in the arts.”

I didn’t even know I was carrying this story until I recently read Caroline Myss’ book Archetypes. And it struck me how I had always told myself I could never actually earn an income from my writing. You see it in movies, read about it in books. And it’s what people kept saying to me when I told them my major.

So after finishing uni, instead of pursuing a career in Journalism. I decided to continue working my way up the corporate ladder. All because it paid more. It was safe, it was comfortable. I would gloat to myself about how I was making more money in banking and how pointless my degree was. Ahhh being young, naive, and having no idea what’s really important in life.

Now here comes the good part.

Despite the detours, I made it here eventually. And you know what? Even when I only made a few cents from my first few posts I was so much more grateful and excited than when I used to get paid at the bank. Because it just feels so good to know you CAN make money doing what you love.

Ok, enough about me. Let’s get into those tips you’ve been waiting for.

How to write more captivating content

1. Forget the rules of grammar.

One of the greatest things I ever learnt, was to forget everything I was taught about grammar. Well, at least about sentence structure. Long-winded sentences lose people. Cut yourself off mid sentence and go rogue. Start new sentences with and and but if you want. Break the rules. Learning I could break the rules was one of the most liberating moments. That’s when I really started to have fun with my writing.

2. Stop using so many exclamation marks!

Ahhh this was one I really needed to practice. I get excited and I want to use exclamation points everywhere. But then I realised, the excessive use was making them meaningless. You know the old saying, less is more. This is definitely one of those times to apply it. If you really, really want to drive a point home, go ahead and use one. But most times a better descriptive word has much more power.

3. Use powerful, emotional words

While we’re on that topic, it deserves a heading of its own. Your word choice is crucial. What sounds better? It was good… Or… It was magical. Oh it was majestic. It was divine. Powerful, descriptive words help to really set a scene. They tickle the reader’s senses and give them a more intense reaction to your words. If you’re ever at a loss, check out this awesome list of power words SmartBlogger put together.

4. Would you like to be a better writer? Ask questions…

Not just any old question. Specifically ones that get your reader to nod ‘yes’ in agreement to whatever you’re saying. Like the one I asked you just then. It helps to show the reader you understand them. This is especially powerful if you’re writing sales copy, or you’re wanting to encourage engagement in your content. By getting them to nod along, it creates a positive response. And when it comes time to share your call to action, they’ll be more likely to nod and follow through. It’s called the consistency principle. You can read more about it here.

5. Think about who you’re writing for

It may sound obvious, but so many people don’t do this. They just write about their products, or their services, or themselves. And don’t make anything relatable to the person reading it. You want your reader to see themselves in your writing. Even if you are sharing a personal story, it’s good to pause every now and then to talk about how it could relate to the person reading it. If they don’t feel connected, they’ll soon lose interest. Write about their problems. And talk about how you can help them because of what you’ve learnt through your experiences. That’s how you connect the dots and keep them engaged.

6. Use lists

Sharing lists is powerful because it involves using numbers. Numbers break up the text and capture people’s attention, especially if they’re skimming. It also makes it easy to share this type of content onto other platforms like Instagram, Facebook etc. And with Instagram favouring carousels these days, list posts go a long way. List posts also tend to be perceived as high value so they generally get shared a lot more. Which is a great way to have your content reach wider audiences.

7. Plant seeds of curiosity

In his book Advertising Secrets of the Written Word, legendary copywriter Joe Sugarman talks about planting ‘seeds of curiosity’. He talks about writing being like a slippery slide. You try to hold onto the side to stop, but as you build momentum you just keep going. He says your writing should be like this. Even if your readers try to stop, they should be so hooked they simply can’t. A way to do this is to use sentences like, “But there’s more.”, “So read on.”, “Now here comes the good part.” It’s like dropping bread crumbs for the reader to follow. And it leaves them wanting to find out what you’ve got to say next. These seeds of curiosity cause you to subconsciously continue reading even though you might be at a point where the copy slows down.

8. Cut the fat

Let’s talk about ‘that’. This is one of those pesky, pointless words that often gets in the way. I needed it in that sentence, and this one too. But more often than not, it’s just fat. If the sentence makes sense without ‘that’, get rid of it. Example — “ensures that your experience” will still make sense if you say “ensures your experience.”

9. Don’t use big words just to sound smart

Save jargon and fancy talk for your corporate emails. In the real world, we just want you to get to the point. You can still position yourself as an expert without needing to use big words. The key is for people to understand you. If they’re getting lost in a sea of jargon and hard to read words, chances are you’ll lose them. Keep it simple and use plain English. That being said, don’t dumb it down to the point where your audience feels like you think they’re stupid. Find the happy medium.

10. Tell stories

This is definitely my favourite tip, and I’m sure I’ll cover this topic in far greater detail soon. Since the dawn of man people have been communicating through stories. All beliefs, values, and big moments in time have been driven by good stories. Stories really are the best way to keep a reader engaged. Bringing in anecdotes can make even the most boring topic more fun. And it gets people emotionally invested. A good story actually causes people to release ‘love’ and ‘trust’ hormones. So it’s literally proven by science that stories create great content. Want my entire playbook for writing powerful stories? Check out my Magical Story Formula.

So, there you have it, my top tips on how to write more captivating content. Did you notice how many I used in this post?

And for more epic content tips, check out this post on How to Create Endless Streams of Content.

Jade xo

I hope you got lots of value out of this article. As usual, if you like what you’ve read feel free to like, comment, or share. Your time reading my posts is greatly appreciated. 

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