Today’s cyber reading environment presents many challenges in keeping readers hooked and glued to your content. Between eye strain, posture fatigue, and our shorter-than-ever attention spans, readers have many reasons to lose interest and disengage from the information you are trying to present to them.
A tactical approach for writing on the web
There are many methods you as a writer can use to combat a potentially escape-prone audience. By using a strategic arsenal of tricks from your e-writing toolbox, you can separate yourself from your many competitors, and write sizzling copy that, much like the Pied Piper, entices your readers to continue to follow you along the journey to the end of your article.
Thus, one of your main objectives in writing for the web is to make your reader’s job EASY. You do this by mastering the easy-on-the-eyes writing style, which makes the task of following along easier for your readers. Utilizing an easy-on-the-eyes style lets your readers scan through the copy quickly, which helps them glean key points and takeaways, and digest them via bite-sized nuggets (instead of one overwhelming buffet!)
5 Master tactics to keep your reader hooked
Here are just a few ideas to help you develop an easy-on-the-eyes writing style:
1. ‘KISS’ ‘EM WITH KINDNESS: KEEP IT SHORT & SIMPLE
Keep sentences short, and opt for simple paragraphs as well. Aim for no more than three or four sentences in a paragraph. If you run longer, consider breaking it up into two separate paragraphs. Your audience and their eyes will thank you.
2. HOORAY FOR HEADINGS!
Using headings (and subheadings) brings several benefits to your readers. It hooks them and entices them to read further. It zooms in on the main point you are about to make with a laser-like focus, thus minimizing the energy necessary for your reader to obtain and understand the point you are about to convey. It also breaks up your material into manageable chunks, so your reader can process the information, file it away quickly, and be on to your next point.
3. BREAK IT UP WITH BULLET POINTS
Bullet points benefit your readers in two ways. It gives their eyes some much-needed white space; it also helps them make sense of your message and tie things together. Bullet points help readers draw connections and see the big picture. Use bullet points to list tasks, possibilities, outcomes, previews, and summaries.
4 PRE-TELL & RE-TELL
Your introductory paragraph(s) should pre-tell in general what ideas you are going to teach or convey to your readers; your conclusion should briefly re-tell a general overview of what you just covered.
5. COMPEL WITH A STRONG CALL TO ACTION
Always remember to write with the end in mind. What do you want your writing to achieve?
While there will be times you’re writing strictly to educate, oftentimes much of what you’ll write for the web is intended to propel your readers towards a certain goal: to click a link, buy a product, comment on an article or post, or participate in an online community. These are just a few of the many possibilities you’ll want your reader to potentially perform.
So don’t just sit back and hope your reader will do it – tell them what you want them to do! Be specific and give them precise directions on what to do, and how to do it.
Lastly, reiterate why they should do it – what benefit will they receive for following through? Your call to action should be concise and compelling, and propel your readers to take ACTION because it brings a benefit to them.