Why is ‘why’ so powerful?

Google’s Year in Search 2020 video is all about asking ‘why’. From ‘why is it called covid-19’ to ‘why are people protesting’ to ‘why is Mars red’. (Be warned, it’s an emotional watch.)

We love the word ‘why’.

It’s the question we all ask as kids. Repeatedly. Unapologetically. As adults, asking ‘why?’ shows you’re curious and open to learning – that you’re not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Simon Sinek says to ‘start with why’. He says that brands that think about the ‘why’, more so than the ‘what’, tend to be more innovative, more profitable, and have more loyal customers.

‘Why?’ is a brilliant question to ask when you’re writing

Ask yourself, ‘why should my readers care?’ And if you don’t have a compelling answer, or it’s buried, then that’s a sign you need to rethink and rewrite.

If you’re struggling to write a headline, try thinking about the five Ws – who, what, when, where, why – to come up with questions that will resonate with your readers.

If you’re editing, ask yourself what words, phrases and sentences will really resonate with your readers, and why? And cut anything that doesn’t deserve a place on the page.

Asking ‘why?’ is powerful because it helps you weed out meaning, understand reasoning, solve problems, find common ground, bring clarity to complex topics, and deliver penny-drop moments.

If there’s one thing we’re happy to take from 2020 into next year, it’s asking ‘why?’ Repeatedly. And unapologetically.

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