By: Marilyn L. Davis
Connect to Your Reader
“If words come alive on the page, the writer succeeds in connecting to the reader.” ―
Try switching places from writer to reader and remember how inundated you are with choices in what to read. With so much information available, readers can afford to be demanding. Plus, they are looking at other posts while you’re still trying to find a catchy title. When you switch from writer to reader, ask yourself:
- Why should they read your article rather than the top listing on Google?
- Did you make your short blurb on Twitter more interesting?
- Do your comments reflect that you’re entertaining or educating your readers?
- Do your readers stay on the site and read other posts or just your current offering? Check your statistic to verify.
- Did you satisfy the reader’s “What’s in it for me” needs?
Switch Your Role to Reader
“The social media web is a very noisy one indeed and making sure that you are heard requires you to shout more effectively, rather than louder.” ― David Amerland, SEO Help: 20 Semantic Search Steps that Will Help Your Business Grow
Okay, I trapped you with the title, reinforced it with a quote, and now I have to fulfill my obligation to offer you more and write compelling content?
Unfortunately, many writers and bloggers think that titles and summaries, heavy on SEO keywords, should be enough. Well, they aren’t. Writers and bloggers need to put as much time, energy, and effort into their content as they do the other two components. It’s that simple and that hard.
It’s not enough that you ranked well last week. If you’re fortunate and have returning readers, what are you writing today that is different than yesterday – even on the same topic?
Write For Your Readers
Readers want and need information that will:
- Better their lives
- Entertain them
- Help them gain an advantage
- Improve something
- Inform them about a subject, topic, or news
- Solve a problem
Those six reasons are why readers stay on a site. However, for most readers, the greatest need is a quick, informative, and engaging read.
Which Sites Do You Frequent and Why?
When creating your blog, go to those sites that appeal to you, see what makes it memorable, and then replicate that in your voice and style. Just as most of us do not like the mechanized voice mail, many readers do not like a generic article without a tone that denotes individuality.
They want to read something that reads like your other articles. It’s your voice, tone, and style that appeals to your readers.
- Do you use humor? Then find a place where it is appropriate.
- Are you are a storyteller? Then add a human-interest side.
- What’s your experience with the topic? Either positive or negative will give you a focal point for the post.
- Are you an expert on the subject? Then let the readers know why you are credible.
Creating any post requires the writer to give information in a way that ultimately translates into loyal followers. Writers are often surprised when their ideas take a completely different turn because of how the readers interpret them. But if they use your ideas and create something memorable themselves, haven’t you done an excellent job with your writing?
Formatting Information: Familiar for the Reader
But beyond the writing, the entire post must be easy for the reader to navigate and enjoy. Break your article into sections with subheadings.
If you are writing on a WordPress site, a plugin called Yoast will analyze your readability and SEO scores for your post. Considering Google’s standards, you’ll get upgraded or downgraded if you’ve got more than 300 words between subheadings. People don’t read online articles the same as they read a book. They want breaks – whether they are subheadings or images.
Even newspapers understood eye relief using white space, images, and advertisements. I looked at newspapers for a reference. A paper has titles, sections, short paragraphs, and pictures. Breaks, subtitles, and photos are the norm for publications worldwide, and it’s not just for English-speaking readers, either.
Learn the rules of paragraphs and white space, which describes blank lines or spaces between words, letters, and lines of type or sections. When you use white space effectively, readers get a visual break, and writers have an opportunity to insert images and videos to emphasize a word, sentence, or concept.
A simple rule: If you change ideas or information, create space for the reader similar to space between paragraphs.
Think about your piece and its natural breaks. These sections make reading more comfortable and appealing, and when it’s appealing, your readers will make it to the end of the post.
Make the Entire Post Engaging and Informative
Bullet points and lists also break up your page, giving readers “eye relief.” Bullet points should be one line long, not extending beyond the margins. Otherwise, you are writing a paragraph. Use bullet points if all the descriptors have equal value.
One way to distinguish that there is no hierarchy in the points is to alphabetize the bullet points. Use the sort function in Word and put your bullet points in alphabetical order. This way, it is apparent that you, as the writer, are not placing more importance on one component than the other. However, if there is a hierarchy, put the bullet points in the order of importance.
Use numbered lists if there is an order of importance in the descriptors or if the directions extend beyond one line of type.
More than what I have to say about a topic, readers want references about the subject. I use quotes, links, and questions in many of my articles. I like to use them to reinforce what I am writing about and give readers links if they are interested in more information than I’ve presented.
Therefore, I will leave you with this call to action, and you can address the questions in the comment section.
- Did you find this helpful?
- Were the examples something you will use in your writing?
- Do you think the information will improve your blog or articles?
Bio: Marilyn L. Davis
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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