Humans are dyed-in-the-wool pattern seekers. We can’t help ourselves. We’re programmed to spot patterns in a huge variety of circumstances, for any number of purposes, but the common driver is survival.
Patterns rule – So create pattern-rich online content
Our love of patterns is an evolutionary imperative. Without it we’d have succumbed long ago, scoffed by tigers we didn’t notice hiding in the grass, nowhere near as good at analysing our surroundings, keeping ourselves safe, fed and watered.
We still do it, and our pattern-seeking tendencies can be harnessed for marketing, used to get sales messages across.
Classification – More pattern-seeking
Collecting, analysing, ordering and categorising are all part of the pattern-seeking package. Having spotted patterns, we classify, slotting everything from stars and planets to fast moving consumer goods into appropriate boxes. It makes life so much easier when absolutely everything we encounter is neatly pre-categorised, and marketers can harness this uniquely human tendency too.
Bullets = patterns
When you put information into a set of bullet points or any other kind of list, you create a pattern. People gravitate towards patterns, making bullet lists a neat little copywriting tool. You’re also tapping into the pleasure we take in well-categorised information, a short cut to getting what we want in a horribly busy world.
The same goes for headers and subheads, of course. They help a copywriter classify information in sensible chunks, a recognisable pattern that people can quickly scan to find the exact information they want.
Make search engines and people love you
Search engines love lists and headers too, no surprise really when – rather like a deity – we’ve created them in our own image. Break up, classify and prioritise page content with a header, subheads and intelligent use of lists and you’ll help people and search engine algorithms understand where you’re coming from, faster. Which means they’ll love you more.
You can learn a lot from placards…
If you want to create a short, sharp message that hits home in micro-seconds – say a title for a blog post or article – look at placards. They’re inspirational.
Just like the best off-the-page adverts and posters, the most powerful placard messages are short. It’s their job to catch the eye in an instant, making a strong impression in double-quick time. And it’s a challenge. Luckily any good copywriter will know how to do exactly that. But back to placards.
Here are a few I found in Google images. They’re all bold, confident, short and attention-grabbing. They tell a story in just a few words, a richly emotional narrative given depth and texture by the context: protest marches.
Next time you’re struggling to come up with something emotive, hard-hitting and uber-concise, take inspiration from placards. Search Google Images for ‘protest’ and ‘placard’ for masses of them.
- NATURE DOESN’T COMPROMISE
- BLA BLA BLA… ACT NOW!
- THERE IS NO PLANET B
- PLANET NOT PROFIT
- THESE CUTS WON’T HEAL
- PROTECTION FOR CIVILIANS
- RUTHLESS, SHAMELESS, BLAMELESS
- DON’T BE AFRAID OF CHANGE
- EVERYONE DESERVES A DECENT PENSION
- WE WON’T EAT YOUR FOOD – WE WON’T EAT YOUR LIES
- EVERY DAY IS EARTH DAY