Web Writing Universal Principle #3


Web writing is all about emotional impact. We’ve already said web writing is a direct selling environment. (WWUP #1) To attract and retain readers, we must get to the point quickly. But the point we get to cannot be intellectual. It must be emotional.  When I use the word emotional, I don’t mean the writing should be cheesy or sentimental. I mean it should be emotionally authentic. It should build trust, not violate it.

For example, consider this web copy: “When you buy from Company XYZ, you receive personalized service.” That is obviously an empty promise—dead and wooden. It doesn’t build trust. What if we approached it from the point of view of the customer: “Our service representatives have fans. One customer calls her rep, ‘Mr. Trustworthy’ because he always shows up when she calls.  Once, he returned her call while he was getting ready to attend his son’s wedding.  Mr. Trustworthy returned her call and made sure her problem was handled.’” Do you see the difference? In just a few words we create emotional impact by relating a success story.

So, how do you create emotional impact? Particularize. Tell a story about satisfied customers. Get real about how you create delighted customers. Deliver that impact.

What if you’re a new business and you don’t have any success stories you can call on? What if you company business process isn’t there yet, generating quality success stories.

Just use business language instead of abstracted, intellectual sales talk. 

An example: “Smaller grocery chains are being inadequately serviced by large food marketing organizations. Company XYZ solves that problem.”

Improved: “As far as the large food marketing organizations are concerned, your grocery chain is not even on their radar screen.”

You could argue using “radar screen” is a cliché. Perhaps you don’t like it. My larger point is to suggest you should use language that delivers the emotional impact without beating around the bush. That kind of language creates trust, keeps people reading your web site and ultimately contributes to making a sale.

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