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The importance of shaping your content from passive to active

To help shape the odds in your favour you need to use the right language in all your dealings. Today, if content is King, how you express that content can mean the difference between content that grabs attention and content that turns an audience off.

To ensure your content cuts the mustard, mind your tone and your voice, by using active rather than passive language.

According to the Oxford Dictionary explanation of 'passive versus active verbs', passive verbs – including 'is', 'are', 'was', 'were', 'has', 'have', 'had', and 'am' –create dull content.

However, there 'are' times when only a passive very will work, so don't worry about eradicating them completely. Instead, aim to reduce your use of passive verbs by as much as 75% and watch to see how much more engaged your audience becomes.

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What do you enjoy reading the most? Lacklustre copy full of passive verbs, or active and engaging content that grabs and holds attention?

Just for a moment, consider when you feel most 'active'. Do you feel most active when delivering a presentation or listening to one, for example? Do you feel more active preparing a meal yourself or watching a cookery programme on TV?

Your written content works in the same way. Your readers want action.

The example below demystifies the difference between the passive and active voice. Once you know and appreciate the difference, revise all your marketing content and find where it can become more active to engage your audience more effectively.

Passive

This building is where the famous Harry Potter Hogwarts School was filmed. This is where magic was made by the pupils. They had classes flying on broomsticks. 

Active

Remember the famous scenes in Harry Potter when the pupils flew around on broomsticks? Step inside this building and relive those moments. Feel the magic conjured by the pupils in the filming of dramatic scenes that took place right here.  

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures 

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