Write Now! Persuasive Writing Prompts:
Put Your Most Important Word Last
Practice your copywriting skills with this prompt from The Professional Writers’ Alliance (PWA).
In this Write Now! exercise, you’ll understand an important technique to strengthen everything you write.
Watch this video by B2B Content Master, Gordon Graham, to learn to give any sentence more clout by putting your most important word last. (Or read the transcript below.)
Ever notice how people remember the last thing you said?
We all tend to focus on the start and the end of any message. We’re more likely to forget the middle, when our minds tend to wander.
Why else would people want to get “the last word” in an argument?!
You can use this natural tendency to strengthen any type of writing, in any format. This technique works for sales copy just as well as for content.
And here it is … To give any sentence more clout, rearrange it to put your most important word last.
Sound crazy? Just listen to these examples:
We have a problem, Houston.
vs Houston, we have a problem.
Mistakes were made.
vs We made mistakes.
The truth is something you can’t handle.
vs You can’t handle the truth.
B2B content is a booming market.
vs The market for B2B content is booming.
Did you notice something else? In some cases, putting the most important word at the end of a sentence changes it from passive to active. That’s another big win.
Now try this yourself. Write two or three sentences, making sure to bury the most important word in the middle. Now rewrite each one, moving the most important word to the end.
See how your second version sounds much stronger and clearer? How it’s got so much more clout?
And you can use this technique for just about every sentence you write. It’s easy to remember, and easy to do.
Oh, and here’s a bonus tip. The same thing applies to a list of bullets.
The natural way to format any list is to start from the most important item, and move down to the least important. This is fine for setting priorities.
But it isn’t the best for getting your message across.
We know this from scientific research called eye tracking, which analyzes how long people’s eyes rest on certain items on the screen.
We now know that people spend some time looking at the first couple bullets in a list, then they quickly scan the middle bullets down to the end. Then they spend some time looking at the final bullet.
So when it comes to formatting a list of bullets, don’t let it trail off into insignificance.
Start with your most important couple of points, but move your third most important to the very end of your list. Go out with a bang.
And good luck writing!
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It is a marvelous point, writing the most important thing at the end which makes the reader to think and ruminate. It is right all the earlier points, may they be intriguing, are forgotten by the mind while reading further. But the sentence or point which may intrigue the reader and makes him thoughtful is the last sentence or word.
Guest (Mahesh Seelvi) –
Thats useful! Thank you very much.
Guest (Kendrick ) –
If the last sentence or word...of a story is most important, how more ought the first one be...so to entice the reader to embark in it?
Guest (manfred marcus) –
Hi Manfred--This is a micro-level writing tip intended for when a person is already reading. It's true that the heading and first sentence of any piece are vitally important to get people interested. But for any individual sentence, I think you'll find that the first word is less important than the last.
Gordon Graham –
Employed by an industry that provides a nominal paycheck, Lia survives shift to shift, heavily reliant on tips.
*Employed by an industry that provides a nominal paycheck and heavily reliant on tips, she survives shift to shift.
Upselling is key; add-ons: appetizers, desserts, and alcohol all help make her more money.
*Appetizers, desserts, and alcohol all help make more money; upselling is key.
She saved a few bucks, but has to peel the top open with her fingers, struggles with every bottle she opens, lacks confidence, and often encounters some sort of mishap.
*She saved a few bucks but often encounters some sort of mishap and has to peel the top open with her fingers, every bottle she opens is a struggle.
Sara Scribes –