When Ernest Hemingway sat down at his typewriter, he produced bold, clear, powerful prose... That's because he cut out the crap.
Sure, "cutting out the crap" made Hemingway's writing style awkward. But, awkward as it is, his style compels people to keep reading.
His style also made his writing easy-to-read and easy-to-understand. That's why every copywriter should read and study his work (or, at the least, prescribe to his rules).
As a copywriter, driving people from one sentence to the next is one of your primary goals...
Hemingway was a master at this.
Guiding readers down the page is also a lucrative skill. Why? Because conventional sales wisdom says that prospects need only get through 25% of your copy before they're sold on your product. Andemulating Hemingway's technique will help you get readers to that quarter mark...
Here are 3 "Hemingway Rules" that'll make your copy bolder, clearer and more persuasive (in a matter of minutes):
1. USE FEWER ADVERBS
In his book, On Writing, Stephen King voices some beef. He says:
"I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs..."
King doesn't like adverbs because they can be redundant (e.g., "He cried sadly") or awkward (e.g., "She exulted excitedly"). Adverbs weaken verbs and, in turn, degrade your writing.
So to make your copy more bold, sub out your adverbs for more descriptive and definitive verbs. For example, change'He ran quickly' to 'He sprinted'.
2. AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE
This sentence is in the activevoice:
"Jim drove the car."
You can tell because Jim, the subject, is doing the action.
This sentence is in the passive voice:
"The car was driven by Jim."
You can tell because the subject (Jim) is at the end of the sentence, thereby shifting the focus of the sentence to its object (the car).
Now it's important to note that passive sentences are not grammatically incorrect. But writing copy in the passive voice can make your message sound:
- Awkward or
- vague or
- wordy or
- difficult to understand...
So to make your copy more clear, use the active voice and you'll achieve a more direct, confident tone that'll drive your prospects to take action...
3. USE SIMPLE WORDS
Good copy reads like a good conversation: Clear, concise and comfortable.
- No big, fancy words (because you will turn people off)...
- No industry jargon (because it can work against you, making you sound less credible)...
Don't write copy to impress people. That's not what it's for. Good copy strives to relay a clear message and spark an emotional response.
So to make your copy more persuasive, write using simple words -- the way Hemingway did.