As I write this morning, sleep eludes me. It’s dark outside and the clock on my computer reminds me it is only 4.04 AM. Damn that clock!
Today’s post is about writing with the senses.
When we write with our senses in mind, it helps us to evoke emotions in our readers and it brings us closer to them.
This approach enables us to tap into their consciousness, so they are able to imagine how things feel, smell, taste, look and sound as we write for them.
From the opening few sentences of this post, you as the reader can place yourself within the scene and hold a clear mental picture in your mind, as though you are actually there experiencing yourself.
You can empathise with the fogginess from lack of sleep, imagine a comfy warm bed, visualise the darkness outside, the computer and the time on its clock. You can feel the coolness of the air, the warmth of the heat pack, the smell of fresh coffee and the sound of fingers tapping away on the keyboard.
When you employ the use of all 5 senses you gain the ability to put your reader exactly where you want them to be, so they experience the situation as if they are right there, right now, as they read your words.
Before we get to how this can work for your business copy, let’s have a look at some other examples, which I've broken into parts.
Lately, over the last 3 or 4 months I’ve become an avid baker of Sourdough Bread;
In a few minutes I’ll turn on the oven to 210 degrees Celsius, the perfect temperate for bread with a crispy outer crust and soft inner texture. I’ll place a pizza stone on the middle tray and an empty baking tray directly underneath in readiness to bake a fresh loaf of tastiness.
We can see the actions of turning the oven dial to the correct heat setting, placing of the pizza stone and baking tray into the oven, and imagine a crispy crust and moist inner loaf.
The oven light clicks off announcing it has reached its correct temperature.
We hear the click of the oven light, feel the burst of hot air and instinctive reaction to close the eyes as the oven door is opened. We picture the actions of placing the dough and pouring of boiling water, the sizzle of steam and moist air as the water hits the hot pan. And finally, the light thud as the oven door closes.
Our sensory memories flood our minds with the aroma of fresh bread baking and the anticipation of sinking our teeth into the first bite of warm bread and butter.
And, while the bread is baking;
It’s now 5.20 AM, and I hear the shuffling footsteps of my wife Mariella’s slippers on the timber floorboards, as she drags herself from her warm bed towards the kitchen for her shot of morning coffee.
We hear the distinctive sound and accompanying vibration of shuffling slippers on wooden floorboards, we see a struggling writer staring blankly at the screen awaiting inspiration, the sound of pouring water and aroma of fresh coffee.
We imagine the colours of early dawn out the window, as they slowly appear through the trees.
We hear the joyful laugh of the kookaburra in the distance.
Did you find yourself being drawn into any of these stories?
Be a Storyteller.
OK, so if you’re not a copywriter or a world-famous author writing your next best seller, you can still be a storyteller.
As a storyteller, whether you are writing a blog post, a novel, a newsletter, or a product description, when you create a mental picture in your readers mind you transcend them into a different world.
Research suggests, that when writing with the senses of touch, smell, taste, sight and sound, the brain responds the same way as if we are actually experiencing the senses in real life.
The same applies when we use all the senses with business writing, as we are inviting our readers into our world.
The reader can imagine using our products and services, or how it would be working with us. We may even increase their desire to buy our products and services, or to work with us.
Now, wouldn’t that be great?
Unlock the Senses with Imagery to write for business.
OK, next up, we are going to see how this writing style would look when we use the senses while copywriting for business.
Incidentally, I searched the internet, high and low for other business examples.
Among prestige car manufacturers like Ferrari and Aston Martin, French and Italian fashion designers like Chanel and Versace, and many more world renowned and respected businesses, thinking that surely these companies would write with passion and exhilaration.
However, I was greatly surprised that they didn’t, and sadly disappointed, that they too have lost the ability to draw the reader into their world.
Therefore, as a result of not finding anything useful, I am unashamedly borrowing a reference from a passionate copywriter I know, Henneke @ Enchanting Marketing.
Henneke is simply amazing the way she writes, and continually has me hanging on every word whenever I read one of her posts. I’m always anticipating the very next one she writes.
In a recent post, Henneke chose a similar example as the one below, from U.S based fashion retailer The J Peterman Company. When they write their product descriptions it’s with a unique difference, as they are extremely talented at, and unafraid of taking you to another place and time.
With so few words, they paint a vivid picture in your mind’s eye.
Here is one of them.
You can just imagine a handsome young gentleman striding into an upper-class establishment with his head held high, full of confidence. The heads turn, whispers abound, and the old money looking down their noses at this chap in his pinstriped blazer, as he passes by.
Conrad Edward, a businessman of highly distinguished reputation, eying him up and down, certain that he must have met the young gentleman before.
Lord Ashley is obviously convinced the young gentleman fits in perfectly and looks the part, so he asks him the question about the FTSE.
And Lord Northampton, a round faced overweight, red nosed old fellow turns his head in total disbelief at the young chap’s instant acceptance into the aristocracy ranks, without a hint of a question.
We’ll that’s how I picture the scene.
You may see something entirely different, but that’s the magic of the human imagination, isn’t it?
An Extract from their "Our Story Page":
The J. Peterman Company represents an aspirational lifestyle. Our selections enable our customers to feel transported to a world full of travel, adventure, and romance; a world where the uncommon journey creates the memories we cherish most. The company’s history is rooted in this aspiration and we try to live up to it every single day.
Even their Story Page oozes of romance and sophistication, transporting us to another world as we begin to dream of travelling to some far-off undiscovered destination.
How does this writing style sit with you?
Do you think that it would suit your business niche?
In my humble opinion, I think it doesn’t matter if you sell 4-wheel drives, trendy clothes, run a busy restaurant or a bespoke travel agency, specialising in destinations off the beaten track.
I think all niche types can benefit from writing copy using all the senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound.
The J. Peterman Company proves that! The product description in this case is for a jacket, for goodness sake!
But look what they did with it!
I passionately believe that writing with the senses is an art form, lost from yester year, and that we need to bring back some romance into our lives, even if it’s just a smidge.
In these times, we are far too busy focusing on the quick sale.
We are told by marketing guru’s that we must attract our readers attention quickly before they lose interest.
But, wouldn’t you hold your audience’s attention longer, if you could transport them into another time and place, when they use your products and services?
I certainly think so!
Do you want help with creating sensory content for your niche?
I’m here, if and when you need me.
You just need to ask!