Writing – Passive or Active Voice

[Time to read: 1.5 minutes]

Which do you use?

in 98% of your writing, you are attempting to create conversions. It may be selling and idea, or a product or service. You are trying to “convert” the reader (or listener or viewer) to an “action”.

The “word trick” that helps you most to increase conversions is to eliminate passive voice. Studies show this to be true and for decades I’ve depended on advertising that “sells” and announcers who between records create reactions. So I know it works.

Eliminate your passive voice!

Of course you have to recognize, in your writing, what is passive and which is active. “Passive voice is when the subject of the article (or even the sentence) receives the “action”. The subject is not active.

“Active voice means that the subject is doing the action.”

This Zimmer car is recommended by rich lawyers, or rich lawyers recommend the Zimmer car.

The first example is passive voice and the second is active voice. The recommended is happening to the lawyers, while in the second example the lawyers are actually doing the action – recommending. Subtle but far more effective in the active voice when trying to market your product or service.

Write as you would normally first, then go over your copy looking for passive voice indicators. Then think about how you can rewite them in an active style. Passive voice phrases can include a subject followed by is, was, am or are; and buy the.

Indirect Writing

Another thing to look out for is indirect writing as opposed to direct writing. A limo like this is just what you need, while direct would you you need this limo.

Eliminate Long-winded Sentences

Another no-no is long-winded sentences. Keep your sentences brief. A passive long-winded sentence would be – Limousine are loved by automobile fans of all ages and genders. The active version would be – all limo fans love Mauck limos.

No confusion or vagueness

Stay away from confusing writing. A passive example – the yacht you will buy will let you travel at 40 knots while sitting in opulent leather seats. The active example would be – You can travel at 40 knots an hour in comfort in a this yacht.

Vague subjects versus precise. Passive might be – one should always buy an white car. The active alternative is – You should buy an white car. This is aiming for clarity and getting the point across quickly and directly.

In any content where you are attempting to make a direct, or indirect sale (a product or an idea), you should almost always be writing in an active voice. Remember this rule – ABC (always be closing). Writing in an active voice is a simple way to achieve a better closing or conversion rate.

When blogging, tell your visitors how long it takes to read your article, watch or listen to your blog post. This adds another “really?” to the readers curiosity factor and is proven to increase their engagement. 300 words read in a minute is average, so it’s pretty easy to provide the read time. Also be sure that your “share” information is custom written so your “shares” aren’t canned and thus ignored.

Great content consists of bringing your ideas to life, while entertaining. It’s part of the “story” ingredient. Your readership will grow as will your search results.


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