They say that every writer’s worst enemy is a blank page. I say every writer’s worst enemy is an impatient reader.
After hours or days of writing, getting zero page views, likes, shares, comments, or tweets are enough to get a writer sinking into depression and losing self-worth.
The solution here is actually easier than you think. No, you don’t need to go to writing workshops or get yourself in writing rehab (if that exists) – you have to style your content that will catch and hold the attention of your impatient reader.
1. First Impression
Remember that you’re dealing with an impatient reader. Your article is not a suspense movie starring (insert your ultimate actor crush here) that they’ll seat through for 2 hours.
Don’t be too mysterious or dramatic in your first paragraph, instead keep it short and simple. This is where the “inverted pyramid” style of writing comes in. Let your reader know what they’ll be getting in the rest of your article by putting the most important things or your conclusion in your first paragraph. Don’t worry, they won’t hate you for being a spoiler.
The reality is, readers don’t actually ‘read’, they scan. Rather than getting frustrated by the fact that people nowadays are not fond of reading anymore, you need to adjust to their fondness of scanning.
Aside from catching the attention of your reader with your first paragraph, use the following styling to make your article scannable:
- Subheadings. Break down your article with mini headlines for a better first impression. Again,
- don’t be too mysterious. Use words for your subheadings that will also attract attention.
- Bulleting/Numbering. Long paragraphs look like they’ll take an eternity to read from start to end.
- Instead, bullet/number your key points to make it easier on the eyes of the reader.
- Bold/Italicize/Underline. If you have specific words or phrases that you want to give special attention to, make use of text formatting. Your reader will easily pick it out as important information.
3. Length of the Article
Imagine getting stuck in an elevator with someone who just can’t stop talking, annoying right? That’s the same thing with writing – the less you write, the better.
Readers don’t care if you can write perfect multiple sentence conjunctions. They want information, and they want it fast. If you realize that you’ve written a long paragraph, find a way to reduce it and contain fewer conjunctions.
In some cases, longer blog posts is just unavoidable. Hubspot wrote an article to answer this age-long question on how long should blog posts be.
Don’t stop at writing
Content marketing services involve a lot more work aside from writing scannable content. Even if you have a very well-written content, it doesn’t “exist” if nobody knows about it. Share it in your social media accounts and write copies that would make Oscar-winning movie trailers envy.
How about you? What simple tricks do you use to lure in impatient readers to read your content?