You’ve spent hours slaving away to create your content: redrafting paragraphs, rephrasing sentences and, if you’re anything like me, hesitating over the placement of a comma. So why is nobody reading your article? Or worse still, why is no-one commenting on it, Tweeting it or Facebook sharing it?
Whether you’ve experience this dilemma first-hand or the mere thought of it is enough to send a shiver down your spine, there are actually a few things you can do to prevent your content from being forever condemned to cyber space anonymity. It can take minutes to turn your beautifully written copy into a highly readable, shareable article. Here are five ways!
1. Consider Your Layout
The first thing to remember when writing your content is that when it comes to the internet, people will often scan pages rather than read them. This is an unavoidable fact and sadly, must influence the way you write – you’ve got to keep things snappy! Think about your layout and break your writing up into short, manageable paragraphs – big chunks of text can be intimidating. Make line breaks your friend and your nicely-spaced article will be pleasing on the eye, enticing readers to continue.
Think about sentence length, trying to keep them short and to the point. Cut out pointless filler words that drag away from your point – is something that’s ‘very unique’ any more so than something that’s already ‘unique’?
2. Make Use of Formatting
Be strategic with your formatting, for example by bolding important concepts to add emphasis to them. This means that at a glance, the reader is drawn straight to the most important things that you have to say. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking everything you have to say is important (difficult, I know) and over-highlighting everything, drawing attention to nothing.
Bullet points are easy to scan and provide a visual break from large chunks of text or a lengthy paragraph, presenting ideas in an easily digestible way. It’s even better if you can keep your bullet points symmetrical with similar line lengths and the same grammatical form. It’s easier on the eye which means, of course, it’s easier on the reader.
3. Plan Your Subtitles
Everyone loves a subtitle! A great technique to help you plan out your article is to write all your subtitles first, filling in the content later. Well-written subtitles make your ideas concise, easy to understand and highly impacting on the reader. It also means you can review your content from a distance – can you make sense of your article just from reading the subtitles? That’s the aim of the game here.
4. Use Numbers
Much like subtitles, numbered lists ensure that the points that you’re making are crystal clear. Using a numbered list also gives an idea of how long your article is (and how far from the end you are!) which is great for hitting points home and making them memorable. It will also give the impression that you know what you’re talking about and that you can articulate it accurately. Try numbering your main points and see if it makes your article more compelling and powerful, just like this one.
5. ‘Write drunk; edit sober’ – Ernest Hemingway
Take this one as literally as you like! What our friend Hemingway was trying to say here is that your personality needs to shine through in your writing – it’s always better to edit it out later than to not have any to begin with. By writing in a way that is real and genuine as opposed to a faceless, anonymous drone, readers will naturally listen to what you have to say and what’s more, they’ll trust whatever it is that you’re saying. And trust breeds authority. How many times has someone’s enthusiasm rubbed off on you without even trying? Enthusiasm is infectious, so let yours shine through in your writing and your involvement and connection with your reader will be sky high.
So next time you’ve got a great article that just doesn’t seem to be hitting the spot, give these tips a try and watch your popularity soar.