This is the part two of this series of three posts to help you turn those online browsers into readers. If you’ve missed part one about headlines, make sure you read it first. If you have, let’s continue on this post with the next topic, content.
Once you’ve attracted people to your post or article with your great headline, you need to deliver on the promises. As important as headlines are for clickthroughs, if your content doesn’t deliver, you will lose your reader very quickly. And what’s more you will be remembered as someone who writes great titles, but disappointing articles. This is NOT what you want to accomplish, right?
So, here we are going to analyze what will help you create great content so you won’t lose your reader who has landed on your page and make them so happy that they will love what you have for them and come back.
Write for the Reader’s Needs
One of the same rules that apply to content as well as headlines is that you need to play the emotion card with your content as well. People always respond better to what make them “feel”. Feelings are a very strong key in human life. We are “feelings” beings and pretty much ruled by it, whether we are aware of it or not.
Your reader is no different, and he wants to…
- Feel that they are not alone having those types of issues, etc…
- Feel that there is some hope for the problem that they have
- Feel that you can help them
- Feel that they can do it
It can be very hard to describe exactly what makes an OK content, and what makes a GREAT content, but the rule of thumb, as I learned it from professionals and successful writers is that the more you make your reader “feel”, the more you know how to play with words that trigger the reader’s emotions the better your content will be.
Once you’ve understood this golden rule, you can apply other basic common sense writing rules, and your content should take a life of its own, attracting readers every time you write a piece and publish it.
Clear and Simple
This should be a given, but it’s still worth it to mention again. Your writing should be clear and simple. Do not try to use fancy words, fancy writing style, or being simply too wordy when your write. When I write a blog post or an article, I tend to be too wordy on my first shot, and always have to take unnecessary extract words when I edit. A lot of people have this problem.
A good rule of thumb is to write in such a way that a 6th grader could understand you without any problem.
Have you ever started to read an article when after the first paragraph you were still not able to figure out what the article was about? I know I have.
When you write, it’s very important that you make sure that the reader knows what your article is about right from the get go. Don’t make your reader having to guess. Let the reader know what your article is about as soon as possible in the clearest and simplest way. This is your duty as a writer.
Avoid General Topics
No one really cares about general topics. The reason number one why this is the case, is that general topics do not trigger’s anyone’s emotions. As I mentioned above, we know how important this is. People are interested and touched by specific topics that talk to them. No vague and general topic can do that. Ever.
Here is an example!
“Once upon a time there was a famous writer who had so much talent that he could write page after page all day long. Some of such pages created one of the most famous stories in the world”.
Is that exciting to you? Probably not! Does that even sound like a true story to you at all? Probably not either.
Now, let’s rewrite that little story again…
“Famous French writer Victor Hugo had so much talent that he was able to write page after page all day long. Such pages he numbered and threw above his shoulders when full. At the end of the day, he would pick up the pages from the floor, gather them together and put them in order. It was in this way that ‘Les Misérables’, one of the most famous stories in the world was born”.
Now, which one of the two stories attracted your attention the most? Which story touched you emotionally the most? Which story could you visualize the most? Are you now more convinced that it’s a true story? I think that the answer is obvious.
Specific statements always work better than generic statements. Exact facts works always better than vague facts. This is one of the golden rules of writing to always remember.
Break Your Topics with Sub-Headings
I don’t think very many people reading this don’t know it already, but it’s still worth repeating, just in case. Do not write big bulky articles with no room to breathe. In most cases, you article will have more than one topic. Each topic should have its own sub-heading. This really helps your writing to flow better and helps your reader to follow along very easily.
People have a very short attention span, and yes, that goes for adults too. When you cut your article with sub-headings you help your reader short attention span to move along more easily. Their brain is telling them, alright, I can do this at least up to the next subheading.
When you write a long piece without much breaks in it, you are defeating your reader, right from the get go.
What’s In It for Them?
Now, the “plat de resistance”. What in it for the reader? What are you offering to them? Is it valuable information? Tips? Is it a free incentive? Especially if you are writing on a blog, every week, what is the reason why your reader should come back? We are going to analyze this area of writing in the final part three of this series.
In the mean time, please, leave your thoughts and inputs in the comment area below…
27 thoughts on “How To Turn A Browser Into A Reader – Part Two”
Great tips for continuing with this series. The headline is definitely the attention grabber but then you have to keep their attention with what you share in your post.
I can see your point Sylviane on how to actually tell a story that will grab your readers attention. I could definitely tell the difference between the two. Although I personally wouldn’t not not read the first one, I definitely liked the second one much better. Kept me interested all the way through.
I probably need to put more subheadings in my content and I’m darn lucky to have included the ones I have. I don’t think of that all the time I’m afraid but I know it helps to break things up more.
Thanks for these great tips, well done.
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Basically you need to do with your content the same thing Annie (on your blog) was saying about videos.
Breaks help attention grabbing. This is one of the reasons I have not done facing the camera videos yet, because as a whole when I watch them I’m quite bored most of the time (not yours Adrienne :)), but I will use some of her suggestions when I do start making such videos.
Subheadings do the exact same thing, it breaks you text and helps the reader move along down to the end of your post or article.
Thanks for your loyalty, Adrienne in coming here, always 🙂
Oh boy, I need to take some of this advice…
Less words? Whenever I write something I feel like I end up using every word in the dictionary and then it takes me an hour to go back and cut it out… and even then it’s long!
I agree with you 100% that a topic has to appeal to your reader’s emotion somehow and be specific. There’s nothing worse to me than reading a blog and feeling like I have no idea what the point was or what I was supposed to get out of it. I hate general advice that doesn’t give me anything to do or think about.
Oh, and I love stories, so you can tell those all day long and I’ll keep reading 🙂
This is a great series, Sylviane. Really practical and also enjoyable. Looking forward to part 3!
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There are the writers who tend to write short pieces and the ones who tend to write long pieces. I think that you and me are on the long side 🙂 but that’s perfectly fine, since I was told about a year ago by an SEO expert that Google loves that!
What counts is that we go back and cut back on unnecessary words that don’t add to the value of the post.
Dont’ worry about your writing, Carol, I’m sure you know it’s great 🙂
I’m glad you like the series and appreciate your feedbacks, always 🙂
Sylviane, I am a skimmer and I normally have about 20 windows open on my computer. I like to multi task and I agree with you completely that you do have to keep it 6th grade level and the sub headings are so important. People like myself will click off like a bolt of lightening. Great information Sylviane you are helping many 🙂
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Yes, I think that a lot of people have a short attention span, that’s why we need to help the reader to make it through for once, but also to make them want to keep on by writing attention grabbing stuff.
Thanks for your insight, April. I appreciate your visit 🙂
Good advice, Syviane.
People get so obsessed with SEO and writing “for Google”.
Truth is, Google only ranks pages because they want the same thing you SHOULD want… topical relevance and reader satisfaction.
So, yes, THE most important thing you can do is to write for your readers. When you do, they will be slow to browse away.
Nice to meet your here!
To me writing for Google “only” is way over with. I think that Google has tried to make that very clear these past couple of years. I am glad that I have never really written for Google, don’t even know how to do it, really.
The first article I’ve ever written online was for EzineArticles and I had NO clue about SEO. To this day it’s my most read article. So, that goes to tell you, right?
Thanks for coming by and see you soon 🙂
Thanks for this piece of advise from both parts of this series. I always believe that if you write for the emotional appeal of your readers, there is nothing to be worry about. 🙂
You are right! Emotion grabbing is the number one ingredient of writing and anyone writing online should be aware of this. Sales page copywriters use that all the time.
Thanks for coming and nice to meet you 🙂
Great post Sylviane, many bloggers write just to rank high on search engines and they forget that their posts are read by humans and not just by Google bots.
They focus so much on SEO that their article looks like it is written by a six years old kid who repeats the same words again and again. It’s really crucial for the long term success of a blog to publish posts that really add value to the readers and make them want to come back and become regular readers, thanks for all these advices many bloggers must read them…
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Thank you so much for adding value to this post with your comment.
You are right on with what you are saying here. Those article spinners supposedly SEO optimized stuff are really bad quality, and in many cases are valueless for the human reader. I don’t understand how one will attract readers and create income from valueless pieces such as those. Beats me! 🙂
Thank you for coming here Kostas, appreciate your visit 🙂
Sylviane – Plent of wisdom here. People do love a story, but the layout is so important exactly as you said. I have been to blogs before when the post is just one long paragraph with bizarre colourings and flashing text. Simple is good. The content should sell it itself with short paragraphs, the occasional picture and sub-headings to break it all up.
This has been a good reminder for me to change the size of my font text (which I have been meaning to do for ages) and to use more sub-headers!
Great content Sylviane, I enjoyed reading this,
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I’m glad I could remind you to do something without mentioned it. But, you’re right the font size is also important. Sometimes small font can make people lazy to read your post. You, know, people are lazy in general so every little thing can help.
Thanks so much for coming by and giving your feedbacks 🙂
thank you for sharing this great follow up post i have really enjoyed learning from your posts. great article.
You’re very welcome. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
I like the way you put this mega post into parts. It is great way to learn and then implement it into action. I was giggling to myself when you wrote that we must write like a 6th grader. It is so true. I learned that way before the internet days when I used to be sending out snail mail and copy-writing had to be done that way. The stats proved it then and it still applies now.
Keeping things simple is a great suggestion. You don’t want to overwhelm your reader. Consider the fact of the attention span is great.
I think the most brilliant idea is that you are doing this in a series. I love the tips and will be mindful of them when I am writing.
Thanks so much for being a great teacher to me.
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Thank you so much for your compliments. So happy if this is any good. you now how it is, always doubting if my content is any good 🙂 but I try anyway.
I’ve learn a long time ago that the average education level is much lower then we like to think and that in order to be understood by all we must write in a very simple manner just as we would for 6 – 8 graders. I think that this is really true.
Thanks for your great feedbacks, Donna 🙂
LOL! If you miss part one all you have to do is go there and read it 🙂
Glad you enjoyed this, though 🙂
Telling stories is an art. We can only learn to tell them by practice. Some people have great talent to tell stories. Even in business, every brand tells a story.
I am sure all bloggers are going to benefit from your post :). Thanks for sharing this with us.
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Thanks for coming here and welcome.
Yes, telling stories is an art and some people are better than others at it, but we can all learn and practice. Anyone should be able to tell stories with practice and of course the will to do it.
Thanks for coming here and hope to see you soon.
One thing a lot of bloggers, these days, miss is the importance of writing for their audience (and they seem to write about it, even though they themselves haven’t fulfilled the needs of the audience). You certainly stand out by getting the key areas clear and simple (And I appreciate it). I love how you used 2 different examples for conveying your message about general topics; it really helps.
Anyways, thanks for sharing the awesome information! Waiting for the next one in the series.
Jeevan Jacob John
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Wow… I love this one. I’ve impressed with the writing trick. There’s a big difference of attention grabbing among those examples. However I’ve never been through with sub-headings much as when it comes to my blog, posts are not long enough. And I agree with clarity and simplicity for most part of writing, but sometimes it could not be that simpler when it comes to some subjective content.
Thanks for your guidelines and impressive examples 😉
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I’m glad you like it. You can still use sub-headings even if your post is short, it really doesn’t need to be that long to call for sub-headings, and it always more attractive to the reader.
I’m glad you liked the post and thanks for your feedbacks.
I am reading this series in reverse, but I am finding all of the information and tips very useful. As you make points as far as writing for your readers needs, being clear and simple, avoiding general topics, etc. you are demonstrating how it is done.
Today is my first visit to your blog… I am glad I found you and will be back often to see what other great advice you have for your readers. For now, I am heading over to #1 of your series.
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Hi Again Jeremy,
Yes, I’ve noticed that you were reading from the last to the first, but that works out fine two.
I am very happy that you seem to like what you’ve read and want to come back. Great 🙂 I will certainly hop over yours as well. I love blogs, really 🙂
Nice post i really like it and i surely suggest this post to others and i highly thanksful to you for share such a nice info with us!
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