Think about your favorite movie or book, or even song—what is it about those things that make them your favorite? The laughs, the tears; how motivational they are, or perhaps the fact that they just get you thinking differently.
No matter the title, and no matter the reason, most people are drawn to things – their favorites – because they make them feel a certain way.
This is no secret. We would rather consume content that makes us feel something than nothing at all. I mean, look at horror movies—there are people who greatly enjoy being scared out of their minds, and would prefer to be scared out of their minds than feel nothing.
All of this leads to providing concrete details in your writing, and how doing so gives you a much better chance at connecting with your audience and getting them to feel something (and then getting those visitors to take action).
And this isn’t just about storytelling—concrete details have their place in advertisements, sales pieces, and all types of copywriting.
What are Concrete Details?
A concrete detail is a specific description of a particular item, person, or setting. Concrete details are used to engage readers – and to get them to feel something – by portraying tangible and vivid scenarios.
You could reason that they are called “concrete” details because they form a solid idea; one that takes a specific shape as it is poured out as opposed to an abstract idea that can be difficult to conceptualize.
Concrete Detail Examples
So, to help you better conceptualize what a concrete detail is and how it can help your writing, here are a few examples. With each, take note of what makes a particular statement more concrete.
The pepperoni pizza was left on the counter, looking delicious, and sitting unguarded.
The piping hot pizza sat unguarded on the counter; you could feel the steam from its bubbling cheese and curling pepperoni.
The book was old, he knew that much, as he wondered about the many others who have been in his same position, excited and eager to crack the cover.
A dust cloud formed and filled his nostrils as he turned the old book in his hands; his fingers gliding over the worn yet still textured cover.
The ball hit the bat, flying high and deep as the centerfielder looked up and sprinted towards the back wall—it was a homerun!
With the crack of a bat, the ball climbed high until it was only a small speck in the sky, eventually speeding back down to earth and clanging loudly off the aluminum bleachers beyond the outfield fence.
The large full moon made the quiet park even more ominous, sitting deep into the dark night’s sky, and appearing as if it were the only living, breathing thing around this evening.
The bright white moon was completely full and glowing intensely like a watchful orb, yet casting only a soft light across the foggy park.
A sea of brown and orange leaves covered the ground around him, stirring with every breeze that made its way down the empty street.
The dry leaves crunched loudly as he marched down the sidewalk, filling the dead empty street with a beat-like chorus upon every step.
As you can see, it’s not always about making sentences longer or more descriptive, but rather, the choice of words used in order to paint a tangible picture the reader can see, hear, smell, and even taste in their head.
Concrete Details in Copywriting
Importantly, as mentioned before the examples, while most of the above can be taken out of a piece of fiction, adding in concrete details can elevate your words elsewhere as well.
For instance, when people are making a buying decision, are they going to respond more to a claim that a product can “change your life” or to a real-life, concretely-detailed testimonial from a real customer?
That’s what makes reviews so powerful, and why when purchasing from something from an online marketplace from Amazon, many bypass a lot of the seller-provided copy and check out what past customers have to say about their experience. Next time you look, compare the amount of concrete details between the two sections.
And think about the good product descriptions you read, like the mattress that is going relieve your aching back and give your tired body a break after a long hard day on your feet versus one that is a little bit harder to grasp given it’s being sold as something expertly-manufactured and guaranteed x years.
You get the point, right? This soda has thirst-quenching carbonation, and that soda is the favorite of a star basketball player. This hot sauce has a mouth-tingling hint of jalapeno, and that hot sauce is exxxxxtra hot! Concrete details help the reader experience what is being sold before they even buy it.
The same can be said when selling services as a writer trying to monetize your writing in some fashion or say, a marketing consultant. Many default to guaranteeing results, but the concrete details found in quantifying your work can have such a positive impact.
Here are a few additional examples:
I’m a really good experienced writer who will take your project to the next level.
In three years as a freelance writer, I’ve completed 250 jobs and have earned a combined 4.9 star rating across different platforms.
I guarantee you maximum results, ensuring your blog doesn’t sit unnoticed.
After 3 months, I increased traffic to XYZ blog 67% simply by creating more keyword-focused meta titles and improving the site’s internal linking structure.
To end, when thinking about your writing and how to go about adding concrete details, think of every word you add as a brushstroke—is the picture you’re painting full of life, or is it too dull? Is it a messy combination with too much going on?
It probably goes without saying, but routinely put yourself in reader’s shoes and think “What am I getting out of this? Do these sentences make me feel anything or am i just reading words?”
Concrete details appeal to the senses and to emotion, and even though they are just words on paper or on a screen, create a tangible world that readers can easily place themselves into.