How to Revitalize Lifeless Online Text

Woman Celebrating Sport SuccessEven with the popularity of videos and images in marketing, text is always going to be a vital part of anything you do online to promote your business.

There are plenty of well-designed websites out there with carefully written text full of industry references, alliteration, 10-letter words, and maybe even a few Shakespeare references thrown in for good measure.

While this may impress your high school English teacher, it's not going to make your online content all that comprehensible to the average browser more interested in getting to the point.

Switch from Passive Voice to Active Voice

It's easy to get into the habit of speaking in a passive voice, as in "your questions will be answered promptly," when putting together online content. The problem with the passive voice is that it sounds like something out of an instruction manual.

Granted, you can't always speak in the active voice, but there are times when it's more effective. For instance, "we'll answer your questions promptly," is a more engaging way of getting the same point across. The active voice tends to work best in places like:

• Your call-to-action tags
• Your "contact us" page
• In your "about us" section
• When responding to feedback

Save Your Extensive Vocabulary for Jeopardy

An extensive vocabulary full of big words and literary references isn't going to impress anyone reading your website, blog, or social media pages. You want to keep your content as easily digestible as possible.

A large vocabulary does, however, come in handy when it comes to knowing other ways of saying the same thing. For instance, instead of saying "we'll expedite delivery to minimize delays," get your point across faster by saying "we'll deliver your order as quickly as possible." When it comes to online content, it's not just about what you say, it's about how you say it. Some additional tips to consider:

• Avoid "corporatese" and other technical jargon
• Limit long sentences, especially run-on sentences
• Turn fairly lengthy lists into bullet point items 
• Eliminate repetitive phrases and filler content

Make Your Content Engaging and Conversational

Outside of Wikipedia articles, not too many consumers want to read content that sounds like it's from an encyclopedia. You want to create content that's more conversational, which translates into more engaging. How conversational you get with your text really depends on your target audience.

If you're interacting with other businesses, you can actually throw in a few industry terms here and there. If you're targeting your consumer, you want to keep it simple without insulting the intelligence of your intended audience. When creating conversational online content, keep these points in mind:

• Don't "dumb down" your text to the point where it's insulting
• Ask engaging questions and provide the answer within your text
• Use the word "you" when addressing your collective audience

You only have one chance to make a good first impression on your reader, especially one you want to turn into a customer. Take time to get to know who is most likely to be reading your online content and gauge your text accordingly.

Find a balance between evoking emotions and engaging the senses and getting your point across before your reader's click finger gets itchy. It's a challenge that can pay off big time once you achieve the right balance within your content.

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Jennifer is a writer at Crowd Content and creates content for several marketing related blogs. To work with Jennifer and other great freelance writers, create a free client account at Crowd Content today!

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