Wanna know something crazy? I was responsible for a lottttt of writing before I ever learned how to do it *correctly.*
You see, I didn’t go to college for marketing or anything like that. In fact, I had full intentions on being a school counselor until I decided I didn't want to go to grad school.
That’s when I found myself in a Digital Content Creator job at a law firm and my sister was my boss. This role meant that I was responsible for writing the law firms blog content and managing the social media accounts… without any prior experience.
My sister trusted me though and knew I could do a good job and I honestly did, but when I truly learned the skill of copywriting, that’s when I realized there are some real strategies and tactics to this work.
In my previous full time job, I was blessed to be able to receive mentorship from someone that had been in the copywriting business for 15+ years, so let’s just say she had this ish figured out.
Each week I’d show up to our calls with my copy assignment for the week - sometimes it was a full email sequence, other times it was a single email and every now and then it would be a full sales page - and she would tear my words apart.
Not because the words were necessarily bad, but because the structure was off and there was no real strategy behind them.
In the moment, I was like, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, I JUST SPENT SO MUCH TIME ON THIS AND NOW I HAVE TO START OVER,” but now I’m thankful for every single call where my work was ripped to shreds because I have a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t.
This scenario happened for months until one day it got to the point where she was making no edits and I really could do the work on my own. It was incredible!
Out of the many things she taught me, one of the things I remember the most are the power of open loops in your copy.
(P.S. Her name is Danielle and she is a gem! 10/10 recommend learning from her.)
I’m a bigggg fan of this copywriting technique and after you read this blog post, I bet you’ll notice them more in the rest of my content. 😉
More importantly, you’ll know how to use this technique in your own content so you can draw people in, keep them reading until the end and ultimately take the action you want them to take.
What Are Open Loops In Copywriting?
An open loop in copywriting is a simple yet powerful technique that is essentially a cliffhanger for your reader. You grab their attention by stating a thought or asking a question, but you don’t close that thought or answer that question right away.
Instead, you hook them in with the open loop and keep them reading your blog post, email or social media caption because their brain desires for the loop to be closed.
It’s similar to your favorite TV show. Let’s take Gossip Girl for example - so many of the episodes end with a dramatic scene and the infamous “XOXO Gossip Girl” line that keeps us coming back for more because we’re dyingggg to know who the heck Gossip Girl is.
Now that I think about it, that’s an example of a very drawn out open loop. 😂
But you see this happen in shows and movies all the time. They’ll end each episode with a major cliffhanger that keeps you coming back for more. Next thing you know it’s 2am and you’re 8 episodes deep… all thanks to one open loop.
The same concept is what you want to do throughout your copy as well!
Why Do Open Loops Work?
The human brain naturally wants to find conclusions. So when you create an open loop in your copy, whether that’s in a blog post, email or social media post, there’s a greater chance that people will read to the end or take the action you want them to take.
The KEY with open loops, however, is that you’re using them pretty early on in your writing so that you immediately grab attention and hook them in.
When you do this well, people will naturally want to keep reading to find the answer!
Where To Use Open Loops
Open loops can be used all throughout your copy and content, but shouldn’t just be used just for the heck of it. Instead, they should be used purposefully and intentionally.
Because open loops are a technique that encourages people to keep reading, you likely won’t use them a ton in your short form content.
While they could be used in social media captions, they will have a greater impact when they’re used to guide someone through a blog post, email or a sales page.
How To Close The Loop
When you’re using open loops in your content, it’s important that you remember to very clearly close the loop, too.
I know it might sound obvious, but it’s really easy to get carried away in your writing and you forget to connect your main point back to the loop you opened.
If you don’t close the loop, you’ll likely confuse people and what do we know about confused people? They take no action at all!
The really cool part about closing the loop though is that it can be super unique to you, what you’re trying to convey or what action you’re trying to get people to take.
Sometimes closing the loop might be as simple as finishing a thought you started or a question you asked - for example, the title of this blog is technically an open loop. You had to open the post and read it to discover what my favorite copywriting technique is!
Other times it might drive people to your blog post, a podcast episode or maybe a lead magnet. Sort of like I did in this social post!
On a larger scale, the closed loop might be inside a paid container, such as your course or other services.
Overall, open loops are super powerful in your writing and can strategically guide someone through your content so that they aren’t just consuming to consume and then moving on to someone else's content.
Instead, they’re consuming your content with a bigger purpose in mind and are more inclined to take the action that you want them to take.
If you found this writing tip helpful, I invite you to join Notes From Natty - the weekly newsletter, designed as our very own Friday morning coffee date (inbox style of course), where you’ll receive a weekly writing tip similar to this, along with a round up of the latest at Natty Writes and Friday Finds and Faves that I simply can’t gatekeep!
Happy writing ✍🏼