“Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it.” – Alfred North Whitehead
If you follow my main blog, you probably noticed that most of my posts start with a quote.
A great quote is gold to a perceptive writer. You can instantly boost reader engagement with the right bit of wisdom or wit. And when writing to persuade, you can bolster your arguments by using the words of the rich and famous.
In other words, author Anatole France nailed it with this:
When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.
Quotes increase engagement
“After all, all he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations.” – H. L. Mencken on Shakespeare
Hey, if it’s good enough for Shakespeare, it’s good enough for me. And while we should all do our best to engage readers with our own wit and wisdom, it never hurts to share the spotlight with those who have already said it well.
A great quotation is like a smart anecdote or analogy… it engages the mind in a way that the same point directly made does not.
Whether you use a quotation to open strong or sprinkle them throughout your writing, an excellent quotation tends to get read, even by scanners. And when the point is poignant, you convert that scanner into a reader; you just made them want to see how well you stand on the shoulders of giants.
So what’s the secret to the effective use of quotes?
“One must be a wise reader to quote wisely and well.” – Amos Bronson Alcott
Quotes are an important part of persuasive writing
“A quotation in a speech, article or book is like a rifle in the hands of an infantryman. It speaks with authority.” – Brendan Francis
No matter your level of influence, you can always bolster a persuasive point by directing the reader to a respected authority who shares your views on a subject.
This works wonders when trying to make a point that may be hard for some to accept.
Authoritative quotations provide mental shortcuts to acceptance. If you want someone to accept what you’re saying, quotations allow you to tap into the mind’s tendency to seek the path of least resistance. It’s often easiest to believe a famous historical figure in order to believe you, so take advantage of the authority of others to build your own.
“People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first.” – David H. Comins
Even if you’ve got something to say, and you know to say it well, you’ll still get a lot more engagement from your readers if you use quotes wisely.
So, yeah… tell me: do you use quotes in your blog posts?