What’s the purpose of writing content if it can’t attract an audience?
Engaging readers is very important, which is why investing in quality content should be a top priority in your SEO and digital marketing approach.
The more engaged your readers are with your content, the longer they will stay on your website. This means that they will be more likely to go exploring around different pages.
…which in turn means that your brand or business will get more exposure. That leads us to understand that audience engagement has a direct impact on your brand’s popularity.
If you are not sure how to write audience-engaging content, no need to fret.
In this post, we are going to look at ten tips that you can implement in your writing to make it more reader-friendly.
10 Proven content writing tips that grab the reader attention
1. Choose the Right Title
Here is where we can appreciate the accuracy of the maxim: the first impression is the last impression.
The first thing that your reader is going to see when going through your content is the heading or the title.
And that is the part where you need to pay special attention to. If your title is boring, the content is automatically going to come off as boring as well.
But if your title is well-thought-out, the reader will get hooked in, and they will peruse the content objectively.
Some tips that you can keep in mind to come up with an attractive title include:
- Use simple words (Using complex words in the title will make you sound pretentious, and some readers may even not get what you are trying to say)
- Make it a question
- Don’t make it too long
- Try and add a bit of humor to make it more appealing
To appreciate how different the above factors can make your title, let’s look at an example.
Here is the title of a plagiarism tool listicle…without following any of the above guidelines.
A Succinct Adumbration of the Procedural Eradication of Duplication from Your Content by the Employment of Ten Online Tools
Now that looks like nonsense. But, if we were to take this same title, and write it out keeping the above pointers in mind, we get:
Sick of Plagiarism in your Writing? Here are 10 Tools to help you Make your Content Unique and Original
Granted it’s a bit on the longer side, but even if the user sees the first interrogative part in the Google search page, they’re going to get hooked.
a) a question,
b) Informal and casual and
c) It raises a point that writers can relate to.
Once you’re done picking your title, be sure to run it through a plagiarism checker. You can use online tool check for plagiarism.
It won’t be a good sign if your article/post starts off with a plagiarized title…even if it happens accidentally.
2. Using the Right Tone
Once you decide the topic and get started with your content, you need to pick a tone and then stick to it.
Using the wrong tone in your writing is less harmful than picking the right one but changing it halfway through.
Another thing that you should remember is that one tone doesn’t work well with all kinds of content.
A blog post should be written in a humorous and skippy writing style whereas an academic piece would require you to go all formal and official.
The exact tone that you should adopt for the content depends mainly on the readers.
Even in the category of blog posts and articles, you may need to switch between different tones depending on who your reader is.
For example, if you are writing out a post about, say, PCs or laptops, you will be fine being informal, funny, and quirky because your audience will mostly be geeks and nerds.
But, if you are writing something on stuff like WordPress plug-ins, hosting services, and the like, then you need to keep it a bit on the more serious side since these are educative topics.
Similarly, you should pay special to the tone if you rewrite new content using the ‘Rewrite Article’ tool. When existing content is reworded, the tone can get altered.
In fact, take it as a rule that whenever using any paraphrasing tool content, always check it afterward for faults and errors.
The grammatical sense and weight of the sentences can get all jumbled up, which may need to be corrected.
3. Work on the Intro
Just as the title works to create the starting impression of your content, so does the introduction.
After the title, the next thing that your reader is going to see is the introductory paragraph(s).
If it retains the same attractive and engaging tone as the title, the reader will consider the content worth reading and they will continue to the main body.
On the other hand, if the title is well and good, but the intro is abysmally written, the former is going to be of no use.
Some tips that you can keep in mind for coming up with a good introduction are:
- Mention the purpose of your content. In other words, summarize it. This helps the reader know what exactly they are going to be reading.
- Insert your focus keyword naturally (if you are writing for SEO).
- Address the pain points/problem that your content is aiming to answer or resolve.
4. Give Examples
Giving examples can be a great way to boost content engagement, especially if it is being written for educative purposes.
Scroll up to the first point of this post viz. the part dealing with the title. Do you see how we mentioned an example to illustrate the points mentioned?
Seeing an example helps the reader better visualize and understand the application of whatever solution or steps you are discussing.
Giving examples is, furthermore, a good way to increase the relatability of the content.
However, with examples, moderation is key. Too many examples will look out-of-place and annoying.
You should adjust the style and frequency according to the content you’re writing.
In a casual blog post, don’t embark on a professor-like explanation when mentioning the example. Write a sentence or two at max. Also, try using idioms and similes.
Adding graphics isn’t that much of a requirement when writing something short like product descriptions and website texts.
However, if you are writing something lengthy, like a tutorial or a review, you need to make sure that your audience doesn’t doze off because of boredom halfway through.
You need to keep the content fresh and active by adding pictures and graphics.
For example, if you are writing out a tutorial on how to use a particular app or software, don’t make it a wall of text.
Add screenshots at different intervals during the content so that your reader can stay focused and attentive.
Another benefit of adding screenshots is that if the reader wants to skip through the post and just pick up the key steps, they can easily do it by following along the pictures.
6. Keeping sentences Short and Sweet
Writing large essay-like paragraphs and long sentences are some of the main reasons why a reader would choose to ignore a piece of content.
When writing for online readers, you should imagine talking to a ten-year-old. You have to make your points short and understandable.
If you make them lengthy and complex, the reader will lose interest, reach up and click on the small cross on the browser tab.
Some rules that you should keep in mind when writing out your content are:
- Don’t try to be smart with your vocab. People like to read things that they can understand.
- Keep your sentences short. Don’t try to make them long just to show that you have the ability to keep your words going on and on for as long as you like.
- Yes, exactly. Avoid writing like this last sentence.
- Short paragraphs are easier to read. Keep them up to 2 or 3 lines at most.
Humor can go everywhere. You may even get away with some of it in a thesis…if you are subtle enough.
While a reader will still be able to read through your content even if there is no humor in it, they will have a more enjoyable and fun time if there is.
But, as we have similarly mentioned in the other tips on this list: moderation is key.
Remember, it’s an article, not a comedy show script.
Incorporating humor in your writing usually means adding a jokey sentence here and there, or making a funny reference somewhere during the content.
8. Break Your Content Up
It is easier for your reader to follow along with your content if you break it up into sub-headings and bullets.
Your title is going to be the biggest heading in your article. After that, you should use the h1 tag for the broader sections.
Thereafter, use the h2’s for splitting up the content in each of your h1’s. And then, in the same way, use h3’s to add even smaller sections into each of your h2’s.
There should be a whole cascading series of heading styles in your article/post. This can, apart from making the content easier to peruse, also help the reader navigate through it.
Similarly, you should try and use bullet points whenever you have to mention a series or types of items.
For example, if you are listing things like content marketing, direct marketing, affiliate marketing, you can, instead of putting it all in a line, write it thus:
- Content marketing
- Direct marketing
- Affiliate marketing
You can judge for yourself which one’s easier to read.
But this step, like every other, needs moderation and there can be cases in which it will be better to abstain from it.
For example, if you are mentioning some series or lists of items repeatedly in an article, you should only put the important and prominent ones in bullets.
Mentioning all of them in a bulleted or numbered list, in this case, would make the content ugly and unreadable.
9. Stay Away from Plagiarism
If your audience somehow comes to find out that you have plagiarized the content from another source, you can say goodbye to reader engagement…or even likeability.
A reader will not peruse something published by a person who has picked it up from elsewhere.
People like to read unique stuff that is authored by someone decent and original. And a person who plagiarizes content from other sources is neither decent nor original.
To make sure that your writing does not have any sort of accidental matches, you should use an online plagiarism checker to check the percentage of plagiarized content in your writing.
10. Keep It Readable
There were a lot of tips in this list that help in retaining a low readability score in writing. What’s the purpose of mentioning this heading at the end, then? Here’s why.
There are some grammatical properties and traits whose mere presence or absence can make the content more readable.
For example, using too much passive voice in your content will make it harder to read. The same goes for adverbs.
With regards to this, some rules that you should try and adhere to include:
- Use active voice as much as you can.
- Try and avoid adverbs. Instead of saying ‘helpfully’, say ‘in a helpful manner’.
- Use simpler synonyms and avoid difficult words.
Attracting, hooking, and retaining the attention of a reader is not easy.
Some authors could attract attention, but fail to hold on to it. This can happen when the title and meta-description are well written but the content itself is boring.
Some writers, on the other hand, can attract and hook readers but then fail to retain the attention for long.
This happens when the introduction is written nicely, but the body of the content is lame and boring.
And finally, there can be some authors who, after grabbing their reader’s attention, manage to hold on to it till the end.
If you are aspiring to achieve that, try and implement the aforementioned tips in your writing.