Post #1 Can You See What I’m Saying? Draw readers in by making them feel something

imsis021-004The most compelling novels draw us in and make us feel we are part of the story. As content marketing writers, we can use  the same techniques  to engage readers, keep them reading and coming back for more. This post is the first in a series on Tips for Writing Engaging Content.

Use The Five Senses to Draw Readers in

When we use the five senses in our writing, we draw the reader into the experience. Using the five senses in our descriptions brings depth to our “scenes” and helps the reader imagine being there.


A few examples:


  • “How sweet are your words to my taste sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103 Holy Bible, NIV
  • “You’ll have to have something to put them in,” she said, ignoring the yawning willow basket which stood empty at Thor’s feet.” The Song of the Lark, Willa      Cather
  •  “Green is classic and modern, and naturally crisp and clean. It’s never aggressive      or boring, and always cool and refreshing… just like Sprite,” explains Nicole Riekki, Sprite’s global design director. (Excerpt from article by Jay Moye, Coca-Cola Journey, March 15, 2013)

In these examples, you can see how the authors used the senses (“sweeter than honey to my mouth”, “yawning yellow basket”, “cool and refreshing”) to help the reader feel what the writer is describing thereby pulling them into the scene.

Here are a few more examples I use in my writing workshops. Note that the second version in each example goes beyond the stark fact and uses the senses to recreate the feeling of an experience (also referred to as showing instead of telling) :

Open Your Reader’s Eyes

Snowflakes fell.

Slips of white flakes floated sideways from the gray sky.

Help Them Hear The Scene

The wolf howled.

The wolf spewed a guttural noise that sounded like a deep-pitched siren. It sliced the darkness and made the forest stand still.

Touch Your Reader’s Senses

Bob’s skin was scorched by years in the sun.

His skin felt like cracked imitation leather.

Use Wafting  Words

The pond was stagnant.

The air smelled like rotten eggs for miles around.

Create Tasteful Experiences

Our cookies are chocolaty.

Our cookies taste like a wave of chocolate in slow motion.

Use descriptive words to create engaging content. What techniques do you use to engage your audience?

(Photo credit: Thinkstock)



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