Stop for a moment to think about a super-athlete.
A person who won 122 consecutive races and broke the world record four times.
That super-athlete is Edwin C. Moses, a man who completely dominated the 400-meter hurdle event and won every race in sight between 1977 and 1987. And then it happened. On June 4, 1987, in Madrid, Spain, Danny Harris beat Moses.
Objections in articles are like Danny Harris.
They bring in an unexpected element to one-sided content. Instead of the article pushing a single idea forward, there’s a sudden disturbance. Let’s find out exactly why objections are so powerful and how to use them in your writing.
So, why are objections so critical?
There’s the obvious reason why objections are part of content that deeply engages your audience: it’s called drama.
Most articles start off driving home a point and keep that sustained point of view until the end of the article. Such an article is almost like an Edwin Moses race: elegant and dominating, but a bit predictable.
When you insert an objection in your article, you create a counterpoint. You add a sense of competition and ignite some drama.
Drama alone is reason enough to make sure you put an objection in your article. But the second, and probably even more important reason, is balance.
When you solely focus on explaining and supporting your idea, you only provide one point of view. The moment an objection shows up, you play devil’s advocate.
Here are two examples that show how objections can work in your content.
Example #1: Speed-reading is a silly idea when learning
Let’s say your article is about speed-reading.
Sure, everyone seems to think speed-reading is a great idea. After all, most of us are falling behind on our reading, and speed-reading seems like a smart solution to that problem.
But the point of your article appears to be different from popular opinion … and you even suggest that speed-reading is like taking a photocopy: You read information but don’t retain it. The concepts are not well-massaged into your brain.
Now, instead of only showing that perspective, you can balance out your content by also discussing circumstances where speed-reading could be beneficial. You’ll support your point and demonstrate that you’ve thought of counterarguments.
See how objections give the article depth?
Let’s look at another example.
Example #2: Why it’s great to visit New Zealand in February (not December)
When you think of a country that’s green and clean, you tend to think of New Zealand. Fabulous beaches, super-friendly people, astounding scenery, and yes, rain.
Auckland can get as much as 176 days of rain in a year. It’s not that silly drizzle that stays around all day. It’s there in all its fury, and then it’s gone. Even so, in New Zealand in February, the greenery starts to take on a tinge of brown, thanks to the scorching sunshine.
But let’s say you’re really keen for tourists to have a good time, and you make a case for why February is the right time to visit New Zealand, including points like how easy it is to book a rental car and Airbnb.
Well, what would someone who thinks February is not the best time to visit say? And how would you respond to that person who thinks another time of year would be more conducive to a fun trip?
Every article has two sides, and the moment you bring in objections, you create that sense of drama and balance.
Where do you add an objection in your article?
Most objections go toward the end of an article. Let’s say your article is about 10 paragraphs long. You’d want the objection to show up around the seventh paragraph.
However, there are also situations where you can’t wait that long to insert the objection.
If you think your article’s message is going to be met with instant disapproval, you’ll need to put the objection right at the beginning.
For example, your article’s headline could be about “how to get rid of all the emails in your inbox.” To most of us that sounds interestingly horrific, doesn’t it? Why would you want to get rid of the emails, painful as they can be?
In such a situation, the headline may pull in the reader, but they could be hesitant to accept your idea.
You could then add something like what you read above to your introduction:
“Why would you want to get rid of email? Email, as crazy as it can drive us all, is a vital form of communication. Just stepping in and wiping out all of your emails seems like a wanton act of madness.”
See what just happened?
The objection immediately addressed concerns that your headline might raise. As the article unfolds, you can go back to supporting the original concept of “getting rid of all your emails.”
Once you add — and counter — an objection right away, you can make your point without the haunting feeling that the reader is not quite on your side.
In most articles, you don’t need to add more than one objection, but in some cases, you may find that two or even three objections are appropriate. It’s your job to provide reassurance with your content and drive the prospect to action.
Take a tip from copywriters
When you read a well-written sales letter, you’ll always notice objections.
A good salesperson will also counter objections, often before the prospect has a chance to bring them up. This is a solid practice because we all have our own points of view.
We want to be convinced, but we are also inherently skeptical.
And when you aim to persuade with a sales page or an article, objections help you craft a stronger message.
If you don’t address objections, your prospect may become too skeptical and hesitate. That hesitation slows down — and may even derail — your persuasive efforts.
Yet, the moment you prove that you’re balanced in your approach, you bring in a huge dollop of trust.
Add some Danny Harris to your content
Edwin Moses was super cool.
Dominating a race for a solid 10 years is a stunning achievement. But after a while, his wins became predictable.
To bring drama and balance into your article, include the unexpected Danny Harris victory. It’s a way to keep your readers absorbed in your content from start to finish.
Reader Comments (11)
Ravi Chahar says
The objective of the article can be added in the ending for more exposure. But with a suspicious yet curious start can turn into a productive one.
I like dramas just like Danny’s race. The predictions can’t be made but still, the power of the objectives can themselves define the success.
Sean D'Souza says
Just to be clear: They’re “objections”, not “objectives”. I think you meant the same thing, but just making it clear if someone else reads this comment.
Steve Hughes says
When would be a good time to insert an objective within the article? I was thinking at least mid-way through, that way you get the reader to the end of the article.
Have read my share of predictable articles and always end up discarding them, definitely need that drama flip to continue…
Sean D'Souza says
It depends on the article itself. I mostly put it towards the end of the article, but in some cases you want to put it right at the very start.
FYI, February is the best time to visit New Zealand. The weather is more settled, and the kids are back in school. And flights are generally cheaper.
Of course, August is a better choice if you’re wanting to ski on Mt Doom. And maybe I’m naturally contrary.
Jitendra vaswani says
Hey Sean, You have put up a great content show here. Speed reading will not be helpful for sure, this will lead to bad results and eventually big loss.
Why people do this I feel pretty sad here, I think best way to present content is to have clear structure.
I like Danny Harris victory part at the end.
Sean D'Souza says
Almost everyone believes there’s a faster way to get from A to B. They often forget the journey is just as, if not more, interesting.
Speed reading is fine if you’re revising something. If you’re learning, speed reading is kinda silly for most of us. There’s a huge difference between retention and just “listening” or “reading” at speed.
Mathew Mitchell says
Thanks for writing this and making me think of a different approach to my own blog posts. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of just writing positively about what you want to, when generally you provoke a stronger reaction by making people disagree.
Sean D'Souza says
Make it part of a “template” and you’ll find you’ll use it all the time. And maybe you’ll think that everyone will notice that you’re using it all the time, but no one will (except you). However, drop it, and lots of people will notice.
Sean D'Souza says
This is a great way of looking at things. I actually like writing anything that will “stir the pot” but just a little. This creates interaction and comments which helps the article or page in general.
I will keep Danny’s race in mind next time I write. Thank you.
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