copywriting stops scanners


Scanners are people who read stuff online.

They are the ones your content has to convince to buy your product or service – not easy.

Most businesses are used to selling face to face (not all, but a lot). The problem is selling with your customer in front of you is easy. You can use intonation, volume, pausing and the tone of your voice to catch their attention and get your point across.

You don’t have those luxuries when selling purely online. You only have words.

When Brian lands on your website, he doesn’t grab a coffee, settle down and start reading every word. No. He just skims it, scanning for the attention-grabbing bits.

If he doesn’t find any, he’ll go and find another website and try that.

That’s why the primary aim of your content is to interest your reader enough to pull them in and keep them hooked; in other words.

The block that will make scanners read

How do you convince Brian to stop scanning and start reading?

Try a few of these techniques (in moderation):

  • Italics
  • Bold
  • Lists
  • Subheadings
  • Short sentences and paragraphs

Each can be used to draw emphasis to important points in your copy – emotional triggers – that will stop Brian in his tracks and make him sit up and take notice.

Breaking up your content into headed sections and bulleted lists will make it easier easy to read and keep Brian interested. A long page of words will make him doze off.

Don’t go overboard

I’m sure you’ve seen a few landing pages where the writer has gone mad, underlining every other word, using way too many colours and different sized fonts.

The result is something garish and very unattractive.

Using these techniques sparingly will enhance the aesthetics and readability of your content, helping you get your point across and Brian to make the buying decision you want.


Sally Ormond is an international, UK-based copywriter. Big brands, SMEs and organisations benefit from her experience and Yoda-like ability to understand what their customers want to hear.