To create addictive copy, you need to know a little bit about how the human brain works.
For example, did you know that novelty makes us happy?
Things that are new to us — like meeting a new friend, tasting a new dish, trying a new hobby, or even buying a new outfit — create a rush of dopamine in our brains, triggering feelings of happiness and excitement. It’s why babies will always reach for a new toy even if they have hundreds of old ones, and why we get sad when we feel like our days are too repetitive.
So, how can you use novelty to create content that’s literally addictive? First, let’s explore exactly what we mean by novelty in this context.
The Types of Novelty
In writing, there are two types of novelty you want to focus on:
Intellectual novelty — i.e., when you tell your reader something new, and
Visual novelty — i.e., when you show them something new.
Both are equally important to create addictive copy. So, let’s go a little more in depth on each.
One good way to ensure you’re surprising your reader with something new is by writing about benefits instead of features when you’re writing about your services.
Folks are used to reading about features — you hear about the number of cameras on the new smart phone, or the amount of horsepower in the new car’s engine.
But when you introduce benefits, you’re personalizing the feature to them. How will it change their life?
With small businesses that serve a targeted demographic, you can get pretty specific. For example, if you teach puppy obedience classes, think about the potential clients you’re trying to reach.
Is it a family that’s just adopted a new dog? Then maybe the benefit is getting the puppy to play nicely with their kids.
Is it someone who lives alone and just got a new furry companion? Maybe the benefit is making it easier for them to go on walks.
Try framing the benefit in a way they wouldn’t have considered it — as a new pet owner, they probably know that they could benefit from training. But maybe they haven’t thought about all the reasons why they should. How will this service make their life better? Surprise and delight them by providing an answer that might not have crossed their mind.
To create visual appeal, there are a couple of techniques you can use:
- Contrast: Creating contrast in how you write is an easy way to build interest. Content-wise, this can mean making a connection between two topics that seem unrelated — like how marketing makes you brush your teeth. Visually, you can achieve this by using contrasting voices, such as by using prose combined with dialogue, or by combining dialogue from multiple people. Not sure what we’re talking about? Try reading something that has dialogue in it — and notice how your brain switches voices in your head as you’re reading.
- Different color and text styles: Another jarring way to catch someone’s attention is by switching colors mid-sentence, or by using bold, italic, or headline fonts to catch someone’s attention. Be strategic with this, though — too much clutter will achieve the opposite effect, making it difficult for the reader to know where their attention should go.
- Jarring language: My favorite way of creating novelty is by playing with language. That can mean starting your sentences with conjunctions (“and,” “but,” “because,” “or,” etc… all words we were taught not to start sentences with in school). It can also mean breaking your text into separate lines to create forced pauses.
Novelty Creates Addictive Copy
Think about all the writers you can’t wait to open emails or buy new books from. What is it about their writing that makes you want to read more? Odds are, there’s some element of novelty — the content they’re writing introduces new and exciting ideas. Or their writing style makes your breath catch in your throat.
Maybe it’s a little bit of both.
Once you’ve mastered the art of novelty, readers won’t ever know what to expect from your writing — and will begin to crave it. So play around and get creative with your writing. If it’s memorable, your readers are likely to keep coming back for more.