I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl. I don’t like to waste calories on fancy schmancy fillers like the bread basket, soup and relish tray when a petite filet and a baked potato (butter and sour cream, yes please) will fill me up. A good piece of steak creates its own sizzle. But sadly, the same does not apply to writing. The written word can be boring and needs something to capture, and keep, the reader’s attention.
There are two ways to describe sizzle. The first is through content. The second is with images.
The old expression, “All sizzle and no steak,” is often used in sales–tell what a product will do for you (the sizzle/benefit) not what it is (the steak/product). In other words, sell the benefits, not the features. For example, when choosing an airline to take me to my vacation destination, I have several airline choices. They have all the same features—three-across seating, complimentary beverage and peanuts or pretzels. What benefit sets them apart? My favorite offers all of the above, plus happy, friendly staff. That is the sizzle that helps take the hassle out of flying.
When describing your product or service, make a list of all the features, then put a benefit to it. It’s the benefits, the sizzle, which will make the sale. The same applies for writing. If you’re writing copy for a brochure, keep in mind your audience and describe the benefits. Let the reader imagine how much easier their life would be if they used your product or service.
When writing proposals to sell your services, include lots of sizzle. Let the purchaser know that you’ll take care of them by describing how what you provide helps them operate a bit easier. Keep your writing simple. Don’t clutter it with big words or lots of them. Simple is better, less is more.
Another way of looking at sizzle is what makes it flashy or fancy? You’ve written copy for a client brochure, but it lacks the sizzle. Work with a graphic designer to create an eye-catching look. Heavy copy doesn’t get read. Instead, use an infographic, chart or pictures to tell your story. People remember visuals.
Think of USA Today. There’s more sizzle and less steak in the popular newspaper. Today’s audiences are used to flash and sizzle. They’ve grown up with the latest gadgets and gizmos and tend to figure out how something works just by playing with it. Gone are the days of reading the owner’s manual first. Instead, cut to the chase and figure it out.
You’ve got all the steak in place. Just remember to bring on some sizzle to get your audience’s attention.