How to write active content. Part 1.

Do you want active content? Yes, you do. Trust me.

By “active” I mean spirited, lean, and engaging. And by “content” we’re talking about letters, blog posts, marketing materials, and other types of writing.

But how can you create active content when you write? Tip: Make sure your individual sentences are active. And a proven way to do that? Start as many sentences as possible with a verb. Not all sentences, but a decent number. Please review and compare these:

  1. Could you put the stick down so we can talk?

  2. Everyone should put their sticks down so we can all talk.

  3. Put the stick down and let’s talk.

Notice the differences? Sentence three is clear, powerful, even shorter than the first two. Note also that sentence three begins with a verb. Sentence number three is as active as can be.

The premier advertising copywriters learn this technique quickly — and apply it generously. True, you’re probably not in the business of creating ad copy or marketing content. But, using this technique can still make your everyday writing crackle with clarity and vitality.

There are times when active content is not needed. Nor even desirable. Examples: When writing a bed-time story for children. Or creating a technical/legal document. Or writing a love letter. But, for many personal and business writing applications, active content should be your goal.

Author Joe Starin heads up Hit by a Brick, an independent copywriting resource. Want more? Check out “How to write active content. Part 2.”