How to Create Dramatic Content

How to Create Dramatic Content

Reader Comments (23)

  1. Hi Sean

    I certainly could concur with many of the elements you mentioned, with list building and how that creates tension. I want to ask you a question regarding creating the release factor.

    Let’s say I have a list post of 10 items, are you saying that is better to flesh out a full article on one of those 10 things and do it for each of them rather than sum them up all in one article ?

    • You could have your cake and eat it too.

      Let’s say you have your list of things to do. Well, almost everyone struggles when they have to do a ton of things. So you put your list down—that’s not a problem. But the next step is to get the reader to move to just ONE big, detailed article.

      So if I were to write an article on “how to increase your prices” and the article has points like this:

      – yada
      – yada
      – yada
      – yada
      – yada

      I’d take one of those yadas and make it into a 800-1500 word article. Really drive home the point. That locks the reader in from the overview of the points to the real meaty article.

  2. Sean,

    I just reviewed this article with a member of my staff, and the question came up: “Can I see an example of this in action?”. I know that Copyblogger has been creating awesome content for years. Is there a ‘best in class’ article that you can point us to?

    – CH

    • Ah, not sure I could do that because I’d have to search through a ton of Copyblogger articles. I will see what I can come up with, though.

      Maybe someone from Copyblogger may be able to find one before I do 🙂

    • Actually in this article itself, when you’re reading the article, you’ll see that “landing pages” has been highlighted. So there’s a long list, but only one thing has been highlighted and linked.

      Now that link goes to somewhere within Copyblogger. And that (theoretically) should contain 800-1500 words of extreme detail. Well, it won’t because it’s a big topic “landing pages”. But if it were about the “green spot on landing pages” for instance, then it could go into a ton of detail of “why that green spot is important” and “how to create it” etc.

      In short, you’re creating this feeling of:
      – appetizer.
      – main meal.

      But as we do with main meals (in sane restaurants, at least) we eat just ONE main meal. So instead of linking nilly-willy to every possible bullet point, drive the customer to the main meal, having created a need for that main meal with your appetizer.

    • We do a lot of shorter pieces designed to illustrate one single point, and then we tend to link back to them often. So this one, for example, talks about the “call to action” in copywriting:

      And this one talks about how to format your content and make it easier for readers to scan:

      We also have larger, more comprehensive landing pages (which have now been converted into ebooks as part of a free marketing library) like the “landing pages” link that Sean mentioned.

  3. Nice content strategy, i’ll have to give it a try sometime. It seems like most of my writing is set out to ease tension before its created 😉

    Thanks for the awesome post Sean!

  4. Nice. I dig the correlation between article writing and dramatic writing (which is more of my background). I can easily picture each article presenting a hurdle for the reader (hero), and the author (sage/guide) providing a solution to overcoming the single hurdle before ushering them along their path to the next hurdle (article) on the journey; the collection of which becomes a nice block of cornerstone content.

    • Exactly.
      You build the wall.
      Then you get them over it.

      It makes you a lot better than most crappy writers on the Internet who simply give you a ton of bullets but nothing meaty at all.

      The goal is not to give me an information overload. Think of it as a meal: appetizer, main meal. Go home.

      Ok, maybe dessert. 🙂

  5. I like this advice. For my audience there’s a “wall” of things you need to do to have a great career. But the magic bullet, the one simple way out is to start freelancing.

    Am I following you, Sean?

      • Agreed! Writing a blog post is like writing an essay in that regard. It’s best to pick one little topic to flesh out completely rather than sort of overview a big one. If you love a big topic, you have the makings of a series of posts (or a whole blog.)

    • I think of the old example from the dating niche — the process in its entirety is overwhelming, but “how to say hi to a girl” is a smaller, more manageable piece that can be taught with one piece of content.

  6. Hi Sean,
    As I was reading, I just found a few small typos, perhaps, under the section entitled, “OK, so how do you create the release?”

    2nd sentence, “Instead of . . . you hone” As of now, it reads “home.” And then in the same section, 3rd paragraph down, “Yes, yes . . . go to the tail end –
    “and you have (word “to” missing) break that tension.”

    I just happened to catch those tiny errors while reading!
    Happy blogging,

  7. Great article, Sean!

    Truthfully, I gleaned something from the comments posted here as well: you have to be specific with your blog posts in order to create this tension.

    For example, I’m a photographer. I couldn’t just write “How to Take Better Pictures” and reasonably pick just one element from what would be a very large list of to-dos. But writing “How to Take Better Portraits” narrows down the topic, and the to-do list becomes much smaller and manageable to get readers over that wall.

    • Yes. And the narrower you go, the more of an expert you become. E.g. How to take non-fidgety kid portraits.

  8. Hi Sean,

    Thanks for pointing out the benefit of having one element in your article instead of just bursting out a big to-do list for the reader. When you put all the elements together, it makes for a great blog post series, ebook, email autoresponder (i.e. free eclass), or whatever sequence you want it to be.

    You can use the tension and release method to hook your reader’s attention and to keep it over a longer period of time. It makes for a pretty good cliffhanger, too 🙂


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