top of page

Join 900+ Readers



Why Your Customers are Scanning Your Copy and How to Stop The Scroll

Capturing your audience's attention and keeping them engaged with your copywriting requires a keen understanding of their needs, a focus on clarity, and an emotional connection.

But if you're finding despite your best efforts to write the best content, that your customers aren't reading your copywriting as much as you'd like them to - you may be surprised to learn that it has nothing to do with what you're saying but rather how you're saying it.

Victor O Schwab, author of How to Write a Good Advertisement, is considered to be a master copywriter. He was the copywriter who helped Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People become a best-seller.

He was an original pioneer of the soft sell, notably taking out a 2 page ad in 1958 with the heading "100 Good Advertising Headlines… and why they are so profitable.” as a way to showcase his skills and advertise his agency.

And one of the most impactful of his concepts to my own communication strategy is the idea of Restful Copy. Restful Copy is the art of writing in a manner that puts the reader at ease and is the difference between scannable text and skippable text.

Schwab believed that copy should not be a strenuous read. “Your writing should be always easier to read than to skip.” It should flow effortlessly, guiding the reader smoothly through the content without overwhelming them.

Here's how you can apply his concept to your own content

1. Simplicity and Clarity

Restful copy begins with simplicity. Schwab believed in the power of plain language. Instead of complex jargon and intricate sentence structures, he recommended straightforward, easy-to-understand prose. The goal is to eliminate confusion and ensure that every reader, regardless of their background, can grasp the message.

2 . Engaging Headlines

Your Headlines are the gateway to the rest of the content. Bland or unclear headlines that fail to pique curiosity won't encourage them to continue reading. Schwab's approach to restful copy demands headlines that grab attention, promise a benefit, and draw the reader in.

  1. Select the people who would be most interested in what you’re advertising

  2. Promise them a reward for reading the ad

Your perfect headline doesn’t have to be unique it just needs to be clear.

Numbers in your headlines are a great way to be specific and pique curiosity. Our brains love them because they represent clarity. For example the title “How to write the perfect case study” doesn't sound as appealing as “7 tips to write the perfect case study”

  • Train for your marathon in 28 days” is more specific than “Train for your marathon in a month”

  • “How I earned $1,212.35 in a day” somehow sounds more impressive than “How I earned more than a thousand dollars in a day”

3. Short Sentences and Paragraphs

Long-winded and complex copy can be overwhelming for readers. If your copywriting is a dense block of text, customers are more likely to bounce off your page.

Schwab suggested using short sentences and breaking text into easily digestible paragraphs to improve comprehension. Use subheadings, and incorporate bullet points and lists to make it more scannable. Be concise and to the point, and consider using visuals to break up the text.

4. Conversational Tone

Schwab advocated for a conversational tone and not a lecture. It's an invitation to engage, not a monologue. This approach fosters a sense of connection, making the reader feel heard and understood rather than just talked to.

A bucket brigade is a succession of phrases that connects one concept to another. It helps you develop a relationship with your readers by making your writing more conversational.

The term bucket brigade comes from the method of forming human chains wherein a group of individuals transfers objects down the line to one another.

It is often used for blog writing, giving your content a conversational tone that influences the readability of a text and makes your text come “alive.”

The following can help you engage your reader’s brain and create an impression of dialogue.

  • Let me explain why

  • So what does this mean?

  • Can you imagine?

  • Picture this

  • OK, I know what you’re thinking:

  • Think about that for a minute.

  • Have you ever wondered?

5. Benefits Over Features

One of the primary reasons customers may not engage with your copywriting is its lack of relevance to their needs and interests. If your message doesn't address their pain points or offer solutions to their problems, they'll quickly lose interest.

One of Schwab's most celebrated tenets is the focus on benefits over features. Schwab believed that the reader should immediately understand what's in it for them.

You can approach this by asking whether you are Adding or Subtracting

Addition Content

This is where your content promises to help your prospect achieve their goals by ADDING something, for example, the promise of more traffic, increased sales, new job and shows their Rewards through a positive approach

A positive message in your headline should imply what people can gain.

In general, people want to accomplish, save, or improve:

  • better health

  • more money and time

  • more popularity, improved appearance, and pride of accomplishment

  • self-confidence and personal prestige

  • better career and profitable business

  • longer and meaningful lives

  • happier relationships

  • sense of well-being and security

Subtraction Content

This direction is where you are REMOVING the problem and challenges, for example, poor organization, slack time management, or bad copywriting. Headlines with a negative approach tell people how to avoid any undesirable conditions and show their Rewards through a negative approach.

Confronting the reader in a negative way is sometimes more powerful than giving hope through positivity.

People will always want to escape:

  • embarrassment

  • failure

  • worries

  • mistakes

  • accident and illness

  • discomfort

  • boredom

  • loss of business, career, and social prestige

The best stories use both a push-and-pull approach to keep your audience's attention. For example: Nike's content often adds confidence and greatness while removing fear.

6. Visual Hierarchy

Restful copy leverages visual cues to guide the reader. Use suitable fonts for your text.

Subheadings, bullet points, and strategic formatting draw attention to key points. This not only makes the content more scannable but also provides a sense of order and direction and ensures your key points aren't missed.

7 . The Power of White Space

Restful copy embraces the importance of white space - the areas without text or images on a page.

This breathing room allows the reader's eyes to rest, reducing visual clutter and enhancing comprehension.

Well-structured paragraphs and ample spacing contribute to a more relaxed reading experience.

Despite being formulated decades ago, Victor Schwab's principles of restful copywriting still remain relevant today and help you create content that respects your reader's time and intelligence.

Do you know someone who would love to get better at communicating and writing?

Invite your friends to sign up using the link or share directly on your social.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page