Your sacred words are flowing through your business. Congratulations! That’s no small feat. But, before you get started on the celebration train, there’s just one more thing to consider: There’s more that can set you above what everyone else is writing.
Optimizing your own writing is like scaling a mountain in the wrong season. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll end up a human Popsicle, if you don't know some of the guidelines.
Here are 40 questions to optimize your writing:
The headline is the most essential element of your writing. It’s also the first impression.
1. Does your headline directly identify and address my audience?
2. Is one dominant emotion or desire powerfully written?
3. Does the headline startle your audience or open a conversation?
4. Does my headline contain any technical or unnecessary words?
5. Does my headline show my audience exactly what they should do or expect?
6. Does my headline propel the reader into the introduction for an answer, solution, or explanation?
The introduction begins to answer your audience’s question.
7. Does your first sentence continue the momentum or emotional and mental energy from my headlines?
8. Is my first sentence smooth, simple, and incredibly easy-to-read?
9. Do my first, second, and third paragraphs intensify and expand the same emotion contained in the headlines?
B-heads are small headlines scattered throughout your content that introduce new sections and allows your audience to skim your writing.
10. Are B-heads evenly spaced to break up the copy and reinforce the content’s theme?
11. Do my subheads highlight the “major” benefits of my article, product, or service?
The conclusion is like the ending of a story. The end of your content will make or break your copy.
12. Does the last sentence end on a high note?
13. Does the conclusion drive the reader to a call-to-action?
14. Does the conclusion lead to something concrete and doable today?
Call-to-Action (the offer or CTA) This is the action you want your audience to take when interacting with your content.
15. Does the content have one (and only one) clear and direct CTA?
16. Is it easy to locate the CTA and is it visible?
17. Does my CTA promise value “in advance?”
18. Is the button copy seductive and actionable?
Voice creates the emotional atmosphere you want for your content.
19. Does this content sounds like me? Sound the way I talk?
20. Does my content sound like one real human talking with another real human?
21. Does my copy speak directly to my audience by using the word “you” or “we?”
22. Does any phrase “sound weird” when I read it out loud?
23. Is the page free of lingo or clichés?
There are two basic types of copy every piece of content should have — logical ideas aimed at the mind and emotional stories aimed at the heart.
24. Does my content provide concrete and credible information?
25. How does my content benefit my reader?
26. Is the information explained, interpreted, and applied to my content’s benefits?
27. Is my copy composed of real flesh-and-blood stories?
28. Does my story have vivid verbs rather than bland versions of “to be?”
29. Does my content tell a story?
30. Is my audience the hero of the story?
31. Does my content paint a vivid portrait of the struggles, pains, or challenges my message, product, or service solves?
32. Does my content paint a vivid portrait of the pleasure or solution my message, product, or service delivers?
33. Does my content use sensory language — seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling?
The Art of Persuasion identifies how to persuade people to take action based on your content.
34. What free value does my content provide for my audience?
35. Does my content invite small commitments that align with my big, ultimate “ask?”
36. Does my content present testimonials from a variety of sources that my audience trusts?
37. Does my content use relatable language and humor?
38. If appropriate, does my content make my reader feel empowered, energized, or inspired to take action?
39. Does my content hold my audience’s attention? Don’t know? Ask your audience for constructive feedback.
40. What does my content need to compel my audience to keep reading?
While writing your own copy may be difficult, it takes practice, trying new ways, and pioneering your content voice. I know you can do it. On the time, energy, money scale, it will take some time and energy. Ask yourself some of these questions to improve your content writing.
Still not confident in your writing? Join the monthly Full Moon Newsletter for more tips, tricks, and magical content writing prompts.