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You’re Bolding the Wrong Things
Very few people get right what I’m about to tell you. I explained in a previous lesson that people don’t really read. They skim. This is just a fact and it’s one we need to accept and plan for.
When people skim, they primarily read headers and bolded phrases. Essentially, the things that stand out. It stands to reason then that if people who skim only read bolded phrases and headers that we better make sure those things contain the important messages.
Yet almost everyone I read messes this up. Almost everyone I read, on every post and sales page I see, people bold for emphasis. As in, if you were reading it out loud, the things you would verbally emphasize are bolded.
This makes absolutely no sense though when you’re thinking like a smart copywriter. Why? Because people skim. They only read headers and bolded phrases. If you’re bolding some out of context phrase, guess what? That’s the only part someone who’s skimming is going to read and it’s going to make no sense!
You need to bold the takeaways. Only a very small percentage of your audience will read every single word. If someone reads every word, that’s great, but the message needs to make sense if they only read the bolded phrase. They need to get the takeaway and they need to get the point by reading only the bolded phrases.
This is the method I came up with for my podcast show notes, tv episode show notes, blog posts, and newsletters. Now that I’ve hired people to help me with this, I’ve also trained them to do the same. The way I explain it to them is: “Would Sean tweet this by itself?” If not, it probably shouldn’t be bolded.
That’s a good question to ask yourself: “Would I tweet this?” If not, it probably shouldn’t be bolded.
- Bold the takeaways.
- Make sure headers and bolded phrases contain the important messages.
- Ask yourself: “Would I tweet this?” If not, it probably shouldn’t be bolded.