Some copywriting screams for attention. It surprises, amazes, captivates, enlightens, succeeds, achieves, sells.
And other copywriting just… is.
Grab your readers by their eyes or your listeners by the ears (in the case of radio and television commercial copywriting). Learn from these high-value copywriting tips on writing in the active voice.
What is the Active Voice?
First thing’s first. Do you know what the active voice is? In an active voice sentence, the subject is actively doing something. In a passive voice sentence, something is being done to the subject.
Passive Voice: Bubba Joe was awarded the title ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Forbes magazine.
Active Voice: Forbes Magazine awarded Bubba Joe the title ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’.
Most passive voice sentences have a to be verb attached to a main verb (usually in the form of a past participle). For example – “was given”, “am considered”, “were noticed”, “are mentioned”.
Not all sentences with to be verbs are passive, BUT many of them are still not active. If you’re talking about linking verbs, then the sentence is neither active nor passive, and you can often improve the sentence by rewriting it in the active voice.
Linking Verb: Our stilettos are the tallest on the planet.
Active Voice: Our stilettos lift you above the maddening crowd, revealing you as the Amazon vixen you are.
Why Write in the Active Voice?
Active verbs energise your copywriting. They empower your product. They draw attention to it. They make it stand out. They make it the star of each scenario you describe.
The passive voice is a snooze button. Wake your audience up. Show them who’s boss. (That’s right, your product.)
Good copywriters use the active voice by nature. If you haven’t developed this habit yet, do so! Practice, practice, practice, and soon enough you’ll activate your copywriting automatically. Even so, work it into your review process. Scan your copywriting for the passive voice and identity sentences that you can rewrite to bring more power to the page.
Copywriting Tips to Turn on the Active Voice
Follow these three tactics transform your copywriting:
Replace to be verbs whenever possible.Our choco-cherries are delicious. → Our choco-cherries dance on your tastebuds.
Look for red flags… -ing adjectives.Our titanium jigs are the leading jigs in industry. → Our titanium jigs lead the industry.
Pull out the agent to become the subject of your sentence.Our scalpels are preferred by nine out of ten surgeons. → Nine out of ten surgeons prefer our scalpels.
Got the Hang of It?
Now go out and activate. Use copywriting tips on a daily basis to turn your sleepy sentences into copywriting winners. Get active and reap the rewards!