How to write copy that keeps your audience engaged

How to write copy that keeps your audience engaged

Writing compelling copy is an essential skill for capturing and maintaining the interest of your audience.

Whether you’re crafting a blog post, a marketing email, or social media content, the way you present your message can make the difference between captivating your readers or losing them to the countless distractions online.

Good copy aims to convey information clearly and consistently, and the idea you are communicating must take priority.

Tips to craft a headline

Start with a clear directive. For instance, if your topic is “10 AI Tools for Image Rendering”, let that be your headline. Keep titles simple, direct, and truthful.

A top tip is to employ active voice. This technique will energize your copy and engage your audience naturally because readers process information actively.

If your idea calls for urgency, and direct response copywriting, you can enhance your headlines with these tips from Glenn Fisher’s copywriting tome, “The Art of the Click”.

Disrupt: Add a phrase at the start of the headline to create urgency. “Read this if you want to …”. This type of phrase speaks directly to the reader’s motivation. Similar phrases are “Don’t risk waiting until …” or “Four time-saving tools…. “.

Intrigue: Create a possible solution and invite a ‘click’ response. “Read this if you want to never need Adobe again”. The reader immediately thinks there must be an alternative to Adobe and is intrigued to discover it. Similar titles are “Four alternatives to GA4 that are better for user privacy” or “The app you didn’t know you needed: XXX”.

Engage: Check the headline and body copy logically guides your audience. Will they click on a link? Do you want them to go to your GA4 alternative tool? Is there an offer?

For this reason, I would like to add a fourth rule.

Measure: Track engagement: Identify user clicks and preferred actions on the page. Session duration hints at reader engagement, showcasing a genuine connection. Use relevant metrics to inspire future content. Analyse user journeys to understand conversion pathways.

Structure your content for engagement

Create killer intros

Set the tone. If the start is dull, the reader will abandon the article. It simply won’t matter that your fourth paragraph is stellar, your reader has gone elsewhere. So get to the point, but get creative too.


The Flesch reading ease scale is the global standard for copy readability. A score of 80 or above is better.

With the free Yoast plugin in WordPress, assess readability and relevance through a traffic light system that tracks keywords. A green light indicates content readiness.


Beyond grammar checks, consider these copy variation techniques.

  • Create shorter paragraphs of 1-2 sentences for easy reading. 
  • Use simple vocabulary so that you don’t lose some readers.
  • Break your writing up into bullet lists and subheadings for navigation.
  • Get to know H1-4 heading styles for a polished, editorial touch.

Balancing information with promotional copy

You can get creative and craft promotional content across buttons, blogs, emails, banners, tickers, social posts, and ads. 

Maintain a balance between sales-focused blogs and social posts, considering that most users actively seek informative online content.

An easy way to foster customer loyalty is by dedicating specific pages to describe your business and reserving others for sharing industry insights, news, and relevant know-how. 

Creative storytelling and emotion

Humans have used stories to explain, entertain and inform for about as long as we’ve existed.

Everything from space travel (our mission to the moon) to love (in so many rom-com films) gets more interesting and easier to explain with a story.

How do you write copy to appeal to the emotions? How do you make sure your digital copy feels more like a story?

Build connections

You obviously can’t write web pages like Ogilvy straight away, but you can try one of these popular emotional triggers to engage readers.

  • Pop culture references. 
  • Stories of happiness, fun and joy.
  • Compassion and charitable works.
  • Greed stories to inspire gain or give a moral 
  • Guilt or FOMO
  • Vanity stories that appeal to pride.

It can be fun to experiment with your brand storytelling to work out what fits. Stay on track by measuring engagement and getting insights from your analytics. If you keep telling stories to help build your audience, you will build their trust.


Source: https://www.lorealparisusa.com/because-youre-worth-it 

In 2023, the global share of online women shoppers who buy beauty products, is according to Statista, a whopping 38%.

Vanity is a type of storytelling common to this market. It appeals because the products promise improvement.

“Because you’re worth it” from L’Oréal is a knockout line of copy from this market leader.

Guilt and FOMO

A great example of FOMO (fear of missing out) that I once read was an email: “Dads: This email isn’t for you.

Please forward it to your family.” It’s clever copy because saying it’s “not for you” makes you want to open it more to see if it is worth forwarding.

A technology firm might apply guilt storytelling to make a customer think they are forgetting something vital.

Dell has “Tech for what’s next” to prod customers to refresh their hardware.


Source: https://www.dell.com/en-uk

The blog title “AI that lets tourists become scientists: Discover how AI is unlocking conservation strategies for the Great Barrier Reef” triggers emotions connected to climate conservation.

The blog promotes Dell’s sustainability efforts and elevates consumer trust in the brand.

Happiness, fun and joy

Who doesn’t like a pet story?

Source:  https://corgiai.xyz/

Cryptocurrency startup, CorgiAI, cultivates a brand tale featuring ‘hard-working corporate Corgis by day, party Corgis by night,’ injecting fun into the De-Fi community.

The playful content, featuring Corgi images and allusions to Dogecoin memes, sets it apart.

It’s good to know your community.

Search optimization without compromising quality

Keep it natural

Packing your content with relevant keywords can get you shooting to the top of the search engine rankings, however, maintaining readability and brand consistency is key. It’s about finding the right balance.

Understand the basics of SEO-friendly content

Keyword clusters can be used to flesh out content titles and guide you to plan for a series of blogs.

Google Keyword Tool is free, Semrush.com is free to try, and if you have some budget, Ahrefs have premium features.

It’s important to question and adapt phrases, particularly in headlines and titles as we don’t want to sound like every other company that has found a popular search term.

Balancing SEO with reader engagement

We need to keep the customer at the front of our minds when we think about SEO-friendly content.

One tool that helps you to do this is Answer the Public. By keyword, you can find out what questions and problems your customers want to explore and write about these to improve traffic and engagement.

Visuals and multimedia

Images, videos and infographics help you to create a consistent look and feel to your website.


A polished, professional layout avoids disengagement and creates trust. Apply a them style to tie everything together.

Tips for choosing the right visuals

  • Be authentic. Relevant images in content help you rank better.
  • Be appropriate. Match images to your theme.
  • Be aware of the legal environment. Credit sources, write alt text, and be mindful of content guidelines.

If you want to create an image, infographic, or branded set of images, Canva and Midjourney AI can help.

AI and copywriting

You can use AI to enhance your copy

But …

A copywriter will need to provide an AI with context in words to brief the tool. To do this well, a copywriter experienced in the manual process of receiving briefs from marketing managers, SEO professionals, or customer engagement brand managers is well-positioned to go it alone with an AI.

The capability of AI tools for copy creation has limitations. Yet, if you combine your writing talent with these tools, they can enhance your content creation process.

Start by exploring these five AI-powered optimization tools.

  • Copy.ai
  • Chat GPT
  • Jasper.ai
  • Surfer SEO
  • Scalenut.ai

A wordsmith versus a machine

Remember that a copywriter is ruthless with words. Anyone who has used Chat GPT for example, will know that an AI is not so fussy, bordering on downright verbose.

Hmmm … almost.

Briefing your AI tool with a word count helps. Achieving creativity remains a hit-and-miss process usually requiring several iterations of copy to perfect elements like headlines, hooks, and catchy selling phrases.

Briefly, these are the pros and cons of combining AI and copy:


  • Aids in refining draft copy
  • Simplifies language and grammar
  • Sparks ideas for topic lists


  • Requires frequent modifications
  • Lacks audience understanding
  • Quality images require paid versions
  • Limited creativity and differentiation

Final thoughts

Polishing your copy will improve the value of your brand in the eyes of your audience. 

Great storytelling doesn’t just describe; it compels, convinces, and converts. As David Ogilvy said in Ogilvy on Advertising:

“When I write copy for an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”

For more ideas on how to keep your finger on the pulse browse our 20i blog articles packed with ideas to help your website business.

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