Rachel Ziv

How to get people to read what you write

What's the Pay-Off?

How to get people to read what you write

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What's the Pay-Off?

In today’s busy world, you’re lucky if you can capture someone’s attention for a headline, let alone an email, article or wordy web page.

Attention spans are decreasing, and the volume of information is forever increasing.

So how do you ensure that the words you write actually get read? How do you entice someone to move past a headline or email subject line, and listen to your entire message?

Simple. Promise a pay-off, and then deliver it.

A pay-off is defined as: “a return on investment” or “a final outcome or result”.

You can build pay-offs into anything you write, by making an immediate promise to give the reader:

The information they seek

People are always seeking information. They want answers to questions and solutions for problems, and they want them fast. If you promise to deliver them quickly and efficiently, why would they need to go anywhere else?

A reward of some sort

Rewards can come in many forms, such as showing someone how to achieve a personal goal, save money, avoid danger, or eliminate hardship. Readers also see opportunities to showcase their knowledge or feel included as a reward.

An emotional connection or a unique experience

Content that goes viral is often the result of a strong emotional connection. It makes people feel anger, empathy, sadness, shame or joy. The same can be said for content that shocks or surprises them!


A pay-off gives someone a reason to read your words. It's a return on investment - their time in exchange for thoughts and ideas that will benefit them in some way.

So the next time you write something, ask yourself: "What pay-off am I offering?". Then find a way to build that pay-off into your headline or email subject line, and deliver on it within your content.

If you do, you'll drastically increase the number of people willing to read it, remember it and quite possible share it with everyone they know!

Inspiring Simplicity…

Rachel Ziv


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