By: Marilyn L. Davis
“Ending a novel is almost like putting a child to sleep – it can’t be done abruptly.” ~ Colm Toibin, Novelist – Portrait of the Artist, The Guardian, 19, February 2013
Why Have a Specific Conclusion?
Two essential distinctions relate to memory in psychological and learning terms – primacy and recency.
- Primacy refers to remembering the first few items from a list or a title.
- Recency refers to recalling information given last from either a list or the content.
An excellent way to get information into your reader’s memory is through an effective conclusion, which provides your readers with a different type of summary or synopsis of the content – helping them remember the content and you as the writer.
But before any conclusion, there are two other areas where you can grab your reader’s attention and help them remember you.
Titles and Summaries: The First Impressions
With an eye-catching title, we’ve hooked our readers. Titles must grab readers’ attention, or they will not visit our sites. It’s that simple and that hard.
So, now you’ve got a strong title, and you’ll focus on the summary as you know that search engines provide this along with the title—two essential components for reaching readers.
We typically spend a lot of time creating a summary that captures our topic’s essence for search purposes.
We all know that content is king, and I’ll leave it up to you to write an excellent post. While they write quality content, provide helpful backlinks, or add other value to their article, many fall short by not giving their conclusions the same attention to detail.
Unfortunately, after the great content, many writers stop writing, concluding their article. Unfortunately, there is no room for the reader to remember the post with this approach. A well-thought conclusion helps the reader understand that the writer finished with their post for this article. I know that sounds obvious; the post ended if there were no more words. But I want you to reflect on the following:
If you leave your readers abruptly, and don't reinforce the title and content with a good conclusion, it can create a disconnect for them. Click To Tweet
Don’t Drop Your Readers
Without a well-written conclusion, it is like a phone conversation without the customary “Goodbye.” How many of you have wondered if you got dropped because the caller just hung up?
Rather than remember the conversation, people are left wondering if something is wrong; they can feel short-changed or decide that you were rude. These feelings also happen without an excellent conclusion.
Conclusions Reinforce Your Topic
How we end our articles is just as crucial to the reading experience as any other component in an excellent article. Putting more emphasis on your conclusions can reinforce summaries, introductions, and content.
Qualities of a Good Conclusion
Strong conclusions sum up the article without being repetitious. For better conclusions, consider:
One: Ask yourself, “So what?”
This simple question can stimulate your thinking to see if you have left anything out of the main content, or it can help you frame your conclusion. Without writing it, ask yourself, “In conclusion, I want you to know,” and then elaborate on the key points.
Two: Give Readers a Suggestion
I’ve suggested that writers spend more time on their conclusions, and then I’ll give them solid rationales for these suggestions. Or I can ask writers if they understand why conclusions are just as important as the title and summary.
Three: Relate your Conclusion to your Title or Summary
I can accomplish this with a question to the reader. I might even ask them if the introductory information helped them remember the content’s intent.
Four: Use a Quote about the Subject
However, the quote from Colm Tóibín resonated with me while researching the article. A simple way around readers focused on someone else is to include a quote that starts your post, as I’ve done, or within the content, and then you can reference the quote in your conclusion.
Reference the author of the quote and how this quote exemplifies your article subject. Then you expand on their quote in your words, so the reader remembers you.
Five: Provide a Solution
If you are writing about a problem, define it, analyze it, and then provide a solution in your conclusion. You can also restate the issue without details and wrap up your post with a more in-depth explanation.
Six: Warn Your Readers
Current events, social unrest, social media changes, or conclusions would all benefit from a warning to the reader. Let them know why not paying attention to the subject is detrimental to them. Putting readers on notice is an excellent way to remember the article.
Seven: Conclude with a Call to Action
Conclusions can engage readers by challenging them to interact with you as a writer. In online writing, there is usually an opportunity to comment. Take this opportunity to engage with the reader.
Two Drops of Ink is always looking for guest contributors, so I could reference this opportunity after a post. I can ask other writers to give us their opinions on any topic I’m writing about and satisfy the call to action.
Conclusions: The Last Impression
We should put the same time, energy, and effort into creating a memorable conclusion that cycles back to the title and summary to help our readers remember the post.
A good conclusion is your last opportunity to convey the overall impression of your thoughts and emotions about the topic. Consider: What is the essence of your post? Click To Tweet
If I have done a good job with this article, writers understand that conclusions add value to the reading experience and that readers are more satisfied with a specific end.
I intended to highlight the importance of conclusions. But whether I had good intentions or not, you’re the reader. So, I’ll ask you:
- Have I listed a way for you to make your conclusions more interesting?
- Did I give you valid reasons for appreciating the opportunities in conclusions?
- Will this post make you more aware of your conclusions?
- Have I fulfilled my promise in my title?
I would ask that you let me know; after all; this conclusion might be lacking your additional insight; there may be more to add with your comments. Until I get your feedback and process them, I will end this with a courteous, “Goodbye, hope we connect later.”
Bio: Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
For editing services, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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