Write Like Your Reader Is About to Pee Their Pants
by Joel K

There’s one rule I stick to when writing landing pages: Write like your reader has to pee excruciatingly bad.

Some businesses think landing pages need a “THUD” factor; that persuasion means a breakdown of every rational reason to buy.

Nope.

Readers live in a world of distraction. They only keep reading if they’re interested. MORE interested in your page than anything else on the planet.  Cellphones. Other pages. Their bladder.

Everything.

Imagine readers doing the ants-in-your-pants-dance, shouting “Idon’tcareIdon’tcareIdon’tcare” and running to the bathroom if they read a single uninteresting sentence.

That’s your customer. They’re in a hurry.

But everyone has tuned into something –so intently- that they forgot to pee their pants. Sudden death overtime. The last down of the Super Bowl. Something you’re so invested in that you force yourself to hold it.

That’s what your landing page needs to do.

Nobody wants to hear about features unless they’re tied to benefits they care about.

They don’t care about length. They care about the value to themselves.

Persuasion means offering a value so immediate, relevant and enticing that readers would rather soak their jeans than tune out. 

Write landing pages like that.

*This is my first post for “Short Month”. People sometimes think long posts are the only ones that get shared or offer value. I think that’s hooey, so I’m challenging myself to prove them wrong with a month of posts less than 250 words.

16 Comments
  1. Alessio says:

    I’m in love with landing pages. I like to see landing pages around and notice how bad they are 87% of the times. Especially the ones you find if you click on Adwords.
    I like to think of a website as a collection of landing pages, because it helps to go straight to the point, talking about ONE thing, and wanting only ONE thing from that page.

    It makes things easier..that’s why I’m so amazed when people are not sold on the power of landing pages.

    Now I go to pee.

    • Joel K says:

      You’re totally right, Alessio – websites ARE a collection of landing pages! You’ve got to be persuasive and convincing no matter where on the site the user might find themselves. I think people believe in landing pages, they just don’t know how to create them. There’s a ton of pressure on the writer to get it “just right”, and I think a lot of people overcompensate or panic because of it.

  2. Bill Bean says:

    Joel, brevity can indeed be the soul of wit, and that, my friend, was brief and witty. This will probably stick with me the rest of my life. Well done!

  3. Jesse Stoler says:

    This reminds me of the famous Alfred Hitchcock quote, “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.” I wish someone would tell that to Michael Bay.

    The Internet is like a high school guidance counselor’s waiting room: everyone has ADD. While I do mourn the diminishing value of a thoroughly researched, in-depth content, I agree that online businesses have to rely on content of the punchy variety.

    Great work is what I’m trying to say, just not to briefly ironically.

    • Joel K says:

      I write a huge shwack of long form content, but it bugs be that so many (at least in digital marketing sphere) tout long content as immediately superior by virtue of length. I think it’s going to be fun to push myself to say something useful while saying very little.

      Love that Hitchcock quote.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Chuck McKay says:

    Got any good examples, Joel?

  5. […] 9. Write Like Your Reader Is About to Pee Their Pants […]

  6. Amanda says:

    There are no words to express how much I love the ants-in-the-pants-dance visual. 😛

  7. Jacqueline Durham says:

    great rule to live by less is more

  8. […] 1. Start by imagining that your reader has to pee really bad.  Try limiting yourself to 250 words so you that have to get to the point.  Read More […]

  9. […] 1. Start by imagining that your reader has to pee really bad.  Try limiting yourself to 250 words so you that have to get to the point.  Read More […]

  10. […] 1. Start by imagining that your reader has to pee really bad.  Try limiting yourself to 250 words so you that have to get to the point.  Read More […]

  11. […] 1. Start by imagining that your reader has to pee really bad.  Try limiting yourself to 250 words so you that have to get to the point.  Read More […]

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