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Crossman’s Crash Course in Audience Engagement: Step Five — Motivate Your Readers!

In my decades as a professional writer I have never been asked to write something where audience interest was optional and one of the ways I bring it all together is by using language that appeals to different segments of my audience.

For example, most people know that in any given audience we’ll find some people who are kinaesthetically oriented, some who are visual and some who are primarily audial in their behaviors and preferences. It’s relatively easy to incorporate words and phrases that motivate each of these three groups. But there are other sets of filters at work in an audience at any given time and getting comfortable with them will help you attract attention while avoiding problems in your appeal. Here are some examples:

Toward and Away From

Some people take action if it means they are moving towards something they like or want, while others take action if it means they will move away from something they don’t like or don’t want. You can include both in your copy by using phrases like: “this will help you get the results you want while avoiding the problems you’d rather not encounter.”

Global Vision and Specific Detail

Some people are big picture thinkers while others love the details. You can incorporate the interests of all by using phrases such as “this product is aimed at ensuring the global vision is served while still incorporating the important details that make everything work well.”

Proactive and Reactive

Some folks make decisions quickly and like to take action immediately; others prefer to get as much information as they can first before they process it all very thoroughly. You can include both the proactive and reactive thinkers and doers in your copy by using phrases such as “If you know this is for you and you want to participate immediately, here’s how…” and “On the other hand, if you feel you need time to think it over, here are some additional resources that might help you obtain all the information you need. Time is limited, however. This offer will end Friday.”

Internal and External

Your audience will undoubtedly include people who don’t like to be told what to do and who don’t much care what other people think. Others will come to a decision about your product or service based on what other people think, and they will appreciate hearing what others have said on the topic. You can include both groups by using language such as: “We understand that this is an important issue and we know it’s important for you to get as much information on the topic as possible before you decide…If you have any additional questions, please let us know. And “If you’d like to hear what other people have said about our product/service, please see our testimonials page for more information.”

Those are obviously just general examples designed to give a broad sense of how motivational language patterns might work for you. If you missed my other posts in this series on audience engagement, the other steps are:

  1. Tell people why your program or initiative is important.
  2. Show your audience you understand their pain.
  3. Add an emotional component.
  4. Reference experiences your audience will embrace.

If you’d like to discuss how I can develop copy that appeals to your audience, please get in touch with me at Best wishes for a great month ahead!


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