It’s all very well for us to say we write for ourselves. To a large extent we do. But the moment we start writing a blog and sharing it with the world, we are seeking attention from readers. (If you disagree with this premise of mine, I’d love to know why you do.)
I also believe that each of us must find our own writing voice, and stick to it. Trying to copy someone else’s style might result in us turning people off.
We must find a way to keep a healthy balance between getting and keeping our readers’ attention and writing in our own voice. That takes a lot of thought and practice, but we can make it work.
Today we’ll look at 3 Ways to Get And Keep Readers Attention
1. Decide Your Content Based On Your Target Reader
Before you decide what you are going to write about, it is important to consider and answer the following questions:
a. Will what I share benefit my readers in some way? Readers must leave your post with either new information, or fresh insight, or feeling moved, refreshed, questioning, etc.
b. What new aspect am I adding to a topic? Much of what we write about has already been said, but your personal take or experience adds value to it.
c. Do I know who my readers are? It’s important to consider who your readers are. Many gurus suggest that you write your post as if you are addressing one reader.
2. Use Attention Grabbing Post Titles
Headlines are the first thing that get a reader’s attention. For example, a post I wrote several years ago with the title ‘Virtual Strangers or Real Friends’ has been shared 15000 times. Honestly, at the time I wrote it I didn’t think about getting attention, I just thought it was a clever title. Turns out that it truly was.
Remember your post titles are what get shared on social media, in your blog feed, your blog archives and in search engine results. The infographic at the end of this post will give you more information on how to create better post titles.
3. Opening Strong and Closing With A Bang
Now that you’ve got your readers’ attention with the post title, you’ve got to keep them reading to the end. If you keep grabbing attention and letting them down with a lot of fluff in your post, you’ll completely turn readers off.
Reconsider the 3 questions you asked yourself before you started the article and keep that reader in mind as you begin to write.
Opening with a question, a statistic, a quote, the promise of a personal story or telling your readers how they will benefit from your post, are just some of the ways in which you can get them to keep reading.
I’m going to presume that the middle of your post will continue to be interesting. Using questions, bullet points, or sub headings are a great way to break your post into readable chunks. Using good images or visual media that reaffirms your message helps a lot.
Keep reviewing your post to see if it meets the purpose you started writing it for. If not, chop, cut, write again, cut some more! Edit the hell out of your posts.
For a strong closing include a call to action. There can be a variety of things you want your readers to do. Ask for reader response by posing a question. If you want them to sign up for something, then this is a when you tell them what to do. If you want more information to add to another post or some research then invite your readers to contribute to that.
For example, I’m going to close this post by asking you to –
a. Go through the infographic.
b. Share your thoughts and opinions (questions even) on the post in the comments below and
c. Bookmark this post for further reference. 🙂
Day 3 of the Write Tribe Festival of Words.
Clever, aren’t we? Look out for Esha’s post on Day 4.