How to Use Verbs to Improve Your Content
Ready to use verbs to transform your content from meh to WOW?
I’d like to set a scene…
“Imagine gazing out upon the Mediterranean sunset. The waves gently wash against the shore as you relax on the beach and fade into your dreams.”
A lovely description in only a few short words, no?
However, most descriptions I see look more like this…
“You are on a beach in the Mediterranean. It is sunset, and the waves are gentle. You are in a state of relaxation, and, soon, you are going to fall asleep.”
The second passage is about the same length, but there is something missing. It reads rather formally and lacks the same mood as the first passage.
Look at the words highlighted words. What do you notice? Each of these words is a verb! Verbs – action words – can pull a lot of weight in your content. They provide clarity without dulling or obscuring your meaning. And, if that wasn’t already a goal, they add excitement and energy to your writing.
In the first passage, there is a lot of variety. Words like “imagine,” “gaze,” and “relax” create a feeling of comfort.
There’s only one verb in the second passage: “to be.” It has many different forms (I am, you are, it is, etc.), but it’s really just one word (and a rather boring one at that!).
How Can I Put my Verbs to Work?
Putting your verbs to work is an easy process! First, think of something you might want to share with your subscribers. Here’s an example:
“The board of directors came to an agreement on the budgetary action.”
Next, identify any nouns that would work well as verbs. In this case, agreement can easily become agree.
Finally, revise your sentence (and make it a little more concise if you can):
“The board of directors agreed on the budget.”
Short. Sweet. Clear! Your verb does the heavy-lifting and eliminates some of the “stuffy” or “formal” language without changing the meaning.
Say This, Not That
In the next few examples, I’ve identified words that could easily change into verbs. Be sure to pay attention! The pairings do not need to be a one-to-one match:
*Click to enlarge
Remember, you don’t need to be William Shakespeare or Charles Dickens or even JK Rowling to write well! Just don’t be afraid to use verbs, and you’ll find that the power and allure of your content increases dramatically.
Interested in more great writing tips? I’ve broken down who vs. whom, how to stop using passive voice, and 3 questions to ask to give readers exactly what they want. Each month I’ll be sharing more tips to help you continuously improve your communications!