You’ve got about five seconds.
Sure, give or take a few, but the curious reader who clicked on your content is going to decide whether or not to keep reading within about five seconds. After eight seconds of skimming over your writing, they could lose interest completely and click the back button — probably to find another blog they won’t finish reading.
That’s a lot of pressure, and disheartening to hear after spending hours researching and crafting riveting content.
Chances are you’re not going to finish reading this blog. Your phone rings, Netflix is streaming, or you feel you’ve already gotten the gist and won’t get anything out of finishing. If you’re still here, check out 7 tips for capturing readers with enthralling content.
1. Know Your Audience
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice for content writers. Maybe you know exactly who’s going to be reading your copy, or maybe you’re completely oblivious. Either way, it’s tremendously valuable to know what makes your readers’ blood boil. What gives them goose bumps? What are their goals and values, in the short- and long-term? Do your research. Understanding your audience — and monitoring reader demographics over time to sharpen your image — will open to the door to ongoing improvement and a message that’s ever concise.
2. Establish a Consistent Voice
Take a look through your post, carefully reading at a conversational, speaking-out-loud pace. Is one person talking throughout the piece? When you’re writing for an audience, they’re expecting to hear from one person, not 10 different authors with differing opinions or tones. Pick a tone, stick with it for the entirety of your content, and establish a voice that’s unique to you. You’ll be more credible and less puzzling to your readers.
3. Be Personable
As you’re creating content, there’s a way to be professional without sounding like a robot. Take some time to empathize with your readers and think of them as friends. You’ll be recognized as being more authentic and relatable.
4. Choose Your Words Carefully
Short sentences work. In fact, you’ll likely lose readers if your content is formatted in large chucks and long sentences. Be short and sweet, but utilize power words in your copy to best impact your readers and spark attention.
5. Focus on the Consumer
Are you struggling to resonate with your consumers? Be sure you’re talking directly to them. Don’t be afraid to use phrases such as “you” and “your.” Talking in second-person doesn’t make your business less professional, it shows customers you’re exclusively talking to them.
6. Use Photos and Videos
Your stomach drops when you see a long page of text with no end in sight. A single photo can be more relevant and easier to comprehend than a two-paragraph explanation. Incorporate pictures, videos and infographics into your text. Your readers will thank you.
7. Interact with Your Audience
You’ve conveyed a grand idea or a brand identity that’s compelling to readers. Ask them what they think! Don’t be afraid to include a call to action at the end of your copy to encourage readers to share your post and start a conversation. If you have a comments section, take advantage of the medium in which you can directly accept feedback. Actively respond to readers who took the time to share or comment on social media. Monitor brand mentions to gauge feedback and build an ever better user persona.
If you’ve reached the end, congratulations! You’ve beat the statistics, and with these tips at your disposal, perhaps your own readers will follow suit. Take our tips for crafting content to heart so you can engage readers and give your website an SEO boost. Leave your own thoughts on better writing in the comments below!