You’re passionate about what you write, you spend time planning it, writing it, amending it, critiquing it, even slaving over it, and finally publishing it.
In your heart you know it’s great and it’s targeted at the right audience. You’ve spent so much time on it, it’s become a labour of love.
But, no one reads it, no one comments on it, no one shares it! It’s enough to break your heart!
Perhaps you look at yourself harshly and decide it’s you, not your audience. You need to learn more, study more on how to write better.
Well, the Good News is, that it’s likely not about you. More likely it’s just a matter of making a few adjustments, a few tweaks. Writing a little less, or condensing the unnecessary fluffy bits and breaking up the text into more readable chucks, will help attract the attention of the reader.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Keep It Simple, Stupid”?
Essentially this means, in the context of writing an article, make it as simple as possible for the reader to understand; be clear and concise, not too wordy. Or, in other words, Boring!
1. I want instant gratification
Think about how you use the internet to search. You want to find what you’re looking for easily and you want answers fast. If you don’t get what you want straight away, you’ll look elsewhere.
So, how do you keep your readers engaged, stay on your site and interacting with your information?
2. Be Quick About It
In our informative years were all taught to expand and explain in more depth. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work if people want an answer, Quick Smart.
The fact is, that folk scan to find information they want, so rather than try to fight it, embrace it.
A great tip from Jakob Nielson. Structure content in inverted pyramid style, which means start at the conclusion and work backwards from there to support your subject or argument. This way the reader gets the important stuff at the start, and can decide if they’d like to delve deeper for a more comprehensive understanding.
3. Break It Down
In the immortal words of MC Hammer, “Break It Down, Hammer Time”…Someone is showing their age!
Use your metaphorical hammer and break it down into smaller pieces.
If it’s a complicated or involved subject, think about breaking it down into separate blog posts. This is also a great way to leave the reader hanging, and want to come back for more.
4. Embrace the White Space
I’ll always remember kids at school while writing their English assignment, would use spacing to maximum advantage to make their assignment look longer than it actually was. What was considered a bad thing by your teacher, is in reality, an essential concept.
White space is your friend and makes articles so much easier to read; even more complicated ones.
5. Use Sub-headings to Break Up your Article or Blog
Strong headings, as they have been employed within this blog, firstly helps to attract the readers initial interest, then helps to keep them engaged to want to continue reading through your blog or article.
Headings need to intrigue and inform. I’m sure, like me, you have noticed when searching Google or trolling through Facebook, that many headlines are quite simply, to put it politely “Bullshit”.
You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones that offer unrealistic promises, which just can’t be believed. My advice. Steer clear of using those types of headings.
6. Use Bullet Points for Effect
Bullets points help to break up your text and draw attention.
- Great for highlighting important points
- They look different, so grab readers attention
- Help to list steps in a process
- Easily scannable
7. Deep Image Captions
Studies by researchers show that images with captions are some of the most highly read content on a page.
Using a strong image with a caption of 2-3 lines can help to clearly demonstrate a message and encourage your reader to look deeper into your article.
8. Add Links to help with understanding
Using both internal and external links can do two things:
- Internal links help keep people interested and engaged on your page for longer by referring back to your other relevant content
- External links help demonstrate that you have done your research. By referring to an expert on your subject matter, it also shows you have confidence in your writing skills and are not afraid to direct people to other places, if relevant
9. Bold Text helps to highlight important details
Including bold text draws attention and assists the reader to scan through your article to find key details. Be frugal though, as over-use of bold text has the same effect as no bold text.
10. The power of numbers
Adding numbers next to headings and lists help engage and capture attention and assist your reader in keeping their bearings within your article, so they don’t get lost.
How often when you search for a solution on the web do you see titles like this?
- 7 ways to build better relationships
- 8 great tips to remove stains from carpets
- 3 fast and easy chocolate cake recipes
11. Check your formatting
One of the most important things, and often over-looked, is to check your formatting before you publish your article or blog.
Check headings, bullet points, numbers and highlighted text to ensure your message is clear, concise and flows naturally to allow ease of reading.
12. Just walk away
Lastly, be patient, take a break, give it a little time to review before you publish. You’ll always find after a few reviews of your article that you could have written it better.
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One last thing: If you’ve heard yourself use this phrase when someone asks you for your comment or opinion. “Nah, I’ve got nothing” and you hear the sound of crickets in the background….
Or, if you’re struggling for ideas, have writers block, or think you’ve said it all on your website or blog….
Contact us to see how we can help you with your content.