Take Your Lukewarm Copy & Make It Sizzle

We’ve all been there. Struggling over a writing project for hours. Battling your lack of inspiration, hoping your creative genius emerges victorious.

Despite your best efforts, it’s still easy for your work to come across as boring. Bland. Uninspired.

But why? If you’re passionate about your topic, it should be easy… right?

How can you grab your reader and get him to care like you do?

 

Paint a Picture

Your writing can only enchant your readers if your words paint a picture. If they’re so vivid and expressive that the reader is sucked in to your reality. He needs to experience your words and story-telling first hand. He needs to feel it.

Sensory words can help you do just that.

  • Why say something is fast when you can say it’s blazing?
  • Why call something new when you can call it fresh?
  • Why call someone an expert when you can call him a brilliant luminary?

Certain words can have the same meaning but activate different parts of the brain. One recent study looked at how “textural metaphors” make the brain light up differently. For instance, they compared the sentences:

She’s a bit rough around the edges.
vs.
She’s a bit impolite.

Metaphors such as “rough” or “slimy” activated the sensory regions of the brain, while words like “bad” and “deceitful” did not.

rough

Neuromarketer Roger Dooley notes that this study didn’t specifically look at whether these words are more persuasive or engaging, but I think we can intuitively agree they are. Sensory words are often:

A) Unusual, causing them to stick out and be remembered, and

B) Emotional, causing us to relate them back to our own experiences.

So when you want your writing to pack a punch, it can be as simple as using a few sensory metaphors. Here’s my personal list of words:

100+ Sensory Words

Abrasive
Aromatic
Beaming
Bland
Blazing
Blistering
Blunt
Bright / Brighten
Brilliant
Bristling
Bumpy
Churn
Coarse
Cool
Crisp
Crunchy
Dainty
Dark
Delicate
Delicious
Dry
Dull
Dump
Edgy
Embrace
Eye-popping
Fiery
Filthy
Flashy
Flat
Flexible
Fluff
Fluid
Fragrant
Freeze / Frozen
Fresh
Fuming
Fuzzy
Glacial
Gleaming
Glittering
Glossy
Glowing
Gobble
Graceful
Grating
Grind
Gritty
Gush
Hairy
Heavy
Hoist
Hollow
Hot / Hottest
Iceberg (tip of the)
Icy
Immaculate
Itching
Jagged
Juicy
Light (as air)
Limp
Lukewarm
Luminous
Luscious
Melodious
Moonlit
Mouth-watering
Pepper / Peppered
Polished
Pristine
Putrid
Rancid
Red-hot
Reeks
Resonate
Rich
Ripe
Rocky
Rotting
Rough
Savory
Scorching
Scrumptious
Sharp
Shimmering
Shine
Silky
Sizzling
Sleek
Slice
Slick
Slimy
Smoking
Smooth
Snap / Snappy
Soft
Soggy
Sparkling
Sprinkle
Squeeze
Stale
Steaming
Stinks
Succulent
Sunny
Sunswept
Sweet
Swoop
Tasty
Thick
Thundering
Tickle
Toss
Tough
Unbending
Vanilla
Velvety
Warm
Weight / Weighty
Whisper (–quiet)
White-hot
Whittle

 

A Word of Warning

Don’t overdo it. You want your reader to be engaged; too many power words and your writing becomes melodramatic. Not only melodramatic, but exhausting to read.

Just think: a horror movie isn’t scary if the monster crashes through the window every 10 seconds. You need some lulls. You need some anticipation.

Also show restraint when writing your call-to-action. When you want your reader to do something, you have to be clear and direct.

There’s no time for metaphors when you want someone to click “add to cart” and enter their credit card information!

 

The Final Word

I encourage you to bookmark this page and start sprinkling these sensory words into your copy. It will go a long way in helping you engage your readers.

In fact, it will transform them from readers to active participants. Not only will their brains process your words, but they’ll picture themselves inside your writing.

Do you have any other sensory words to suggest? Leave a comment below!

 

Infographic

Feel free to share this on your website. (Just be sure to include a link back to this page!)

5 Responses to Take Your Lukewarm Copy & Make It Sizzle

  1. Peter Kanayo November 24, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

    Lovely, well written.
    No doubt there’s need to sprinkle a copy with sensory words as it has a way of calling a reader, and capturing their attention.

    It makes a copy fun to read. That’s one thing I love about Steven King novels. He weaves his stories beautifully such that you refuse to let go until the end.

    • Vince Favilla November 25, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      What I love most is that you simply replace your boring words with these, and your writing jumps to life. It’s one of the simplest, quickest ways to become a better writer.

      I’ve never read a Steven King novel, but so many people praise his writing style that I really should give him a try.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. :)

  2. Kevin Dowling January 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    Vince, this is pure gold:

    METAPHORICALLY FEELING: COMPREHENDING TEXTURAL METAPHORS ACTIVATES SOMATOSENSORY CORTEX

    Not sure what half of that paper means but I get the concept–textural metaphors good, others bad!

    I will be booking marking this and look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Cheers Kevin

  3. Vince Favilla January 27, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

    Awesome Kevin, thanks for dropping by! If you don’t read Henneke’s blog I think you’d be a fan:

    http://www.enchantingmarketing.com

    She’s GREAT with using sensory words.

    Glad to have you as a reader!
    Vince

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