Are you aspiring to become a better writer?
Are you looking to improve your writing skills and learn how to write content that people actually read?
Writing is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. By learning how to structure your articles, and what tricks the experts are using, you can create a more persuasive copy in a matter of minutes.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 things that will make your articles more appealing and interesting.
1. Split your content
Most people are skimmers, and very few people will read your text word-by-word. In fact, did you know that readers only read an average of 20-28 percent of a post – even if they like it?.
Well, I sure didn’t when I first started out blogging.
I’d try to cram as much information I could in the blog post without creating new paragraphs, without including images, without using quotes, or any other type of content that improve the reader experience.
This resulted in a wall of text that nobody read. Nobody!
I would literally have 1 or 2 visitors on some of my posts…
Don’t do the same mistake as me. Make sure you split your content and split it well.
Splitting up your content into easily digestible pieces is vital to getting your content read. When people can skim your text, they can quickly read through it and get the most important takeaways with them.
When you break up your content in the different ways I’ll present below, you’re not only making it easier for skimmers to read, but you can also create interesting parts in your copy that grabs the skimmer’s attention and makes them hold up for a second.
There are a few ways you can make your content more inviting and easily skimmable, so let’s take a look at them:
Subheadings are subtitles that work to present a new idea to the reader. Subheadings are normally written in larger text than the rest of the body which makes them stand out.
When you split up your content with subheadings, you can present the information you have on that page into smaller pieces.
Without subheadings, it’s impossible for people to see if your page actually contains they are looking for.- Except if they read your whole article.
Chances are, they’ll end up leaving and going somewhere where they can actually be able to quickly distinguish if the article is valuable and helpful to them.
Another surefire way to grab your readers’ attention, make your copy more easily digestible, and skimmable is to create lists.
When talking about lists, you don’t need to create a whole article based on a list format such as “5 Easy ways to write a blog post”. Instead, you can include the list in the body of the text to help clearly state the point you’re trying to make.
Lists and bullet-points go hand-in-hand. Whether you want to use one or the other, it is completely up to you. Instead of using any of them, some are using arrows to draw their readers’ attention to the points they are trying to make, more effectively.
Neil Patel uses lists in almost every article he writes so even skimmers can quickly understand the point he’s trying to make.
Images are vital for a great article. When I first started out, I read that you should have at least one or two images in your copy, so I did; without thinking about what images I used.
The images I used were images that brought zero value to the points I was trying to make, and the information I tried to convey.
This is really important.
Your visuals should not only be a way to break up your text. They should actually bring value to your text and empower your message.
We read that people only read an average of 20-28 percent of your posts.
But guess what?
According to Chartbeat, most visitors see 100% of all video and photo content in a post.
That’s quite a significant number.
Succeed to implement appealing visuals that actually bring value and you’ll be able to increase your retention rate quickly.
2. Write in a conversational tone
By writing your copy like a conversation, you make the experience for the reader more engaging. They’ll feel more engaged into continue reading because you’re actually talking with them – not to them.
When starting out, you always want to reach as many people as possible.
Therefore, most people end up writing very broad text, without having defined what audience they are writing to.
Never write to a faceless crowd. It will only harm the quality of your written content.
Instead, identify your target audience. Those who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say.
- What age are they?
- What gender?
- What passions?
- What are their professions?
When you know who you are writing to, creating engaging copy that peaks their interest suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.
It’s just like when you are talking to people in real life. Because humans always strive to fit in, they naturally adapt to their surroundings.
If you’re talking to teenagers, you probably use one language, and if you’re talking to people from the older generation you probably adapt to that situation.
Why should you write in a conversational tone?
Most of you have probably been taught in school to write formally, so that’s what you stick with.
The truth is, for blogging, writing formally is a costly mistake.
Writing casually and conversational content, on the other hand, have many benefits:
- Creates a connection between you and reader. By writing in a conversational tone, your readers will feel a genuine connection to you as a writer. Even if they haven’t met you, they’ll feel like they know you. If you want to strengthen that feeling even further, don’t forget to add a profile picture next to your author description.
- Make your points clearer. When you write in a conversational tone, you write like you normally speak, meaning the words often come out easier.
- Fewer mistakes. The writing rules of conversational styled text are much less strict than formal writing. This means that your readers will be more tolerant of mistakes, such as grammar or spelling errors. (Even if you should avoid them).
- More engaging. Imagine reading books like the countries’ laws. Most of them (if not all) are written in a formal style that you’ve never seen before. People prefer to have a conversation before reading a soulless manual or guide. By simply starting to write in a conversational tone, you can enhance the reader experience – a lot. You can take your text from being “something that has to be done” by the reader in order to obtain the knowledge that is on the page, to “a moment well spent and enjoyed“.
Last but not least, all of these things will lead to more people reading your content.
Here are some simple tips to make your copy more conversational:
- Use words that are easy to understand
- Use “You” and “I” (important!)
- Tell stories
- Use active voice, not passive
- Ask questions
Know your audience and who you are targeting. This will make it a lot easier to use the same language they are using and help you write in a more engaging, conversational tone.
3. Include attention-grabbers in your copy
In order to keep your reader’s focus and interest so they continue reading, it’s not enough to only include subheadings and images. You need something more powerful that grabs them by the neck and keeps them from clicking “return“.
Thankfully, we have attention-grabbers that can save us. Attention-grabbers can be used in subheadings, or in your copy when writing. Usually, they are used as a transition that leads to the point you’re trying to make.
First, you have the explanation, then, you have the build up. After that, you have the attention grabbers to help keep your readers reading to the point.
Last but not least, you have your point.
Without the attention grabbers, your readers might leave before they even realize they have started reading the punchline.
I have found these words to be tremendously valuable because only a few words seem to increase the retention rate quite a significant number.
Here are some examples of the most common attention-grabbers used by professionals from Forbes writers to Entrepreneur.com writers:
- Here’s why
- Let me explain why
- Why does this matter?
- And now comes the best part
- There’s a catch…
- The best part?
- Not only that
- What’s more
- Even more importantly
4. Execute (and study)
I also studied and read articles by experts in my industry in order to learn what tricks they used to write better, and more appealing copy.
All of the tips above are used by leaders and experts – and that’s because they work!
The catch is: studying can only teach you so much.
What really teaches you is executing and actually writing.
You can read about how you ride a bicycle all you want, but if you don’t actually ride one, you’ll never learn.
End of story.
Now, am I saying that studying is something you should ignore?
Absolutely not. But I am saying that the execution of writing is something that shouldn’t be neglected by studying.
By actually writing, you’ll learn things that no article or guide can teach you. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk says the following:
“What is the value of ideas and knowledge without execution?”
The recipe for success in writing is to study and then implementing that information as quickly as possible. Because only then will you be able to see what the information and knowledge you obtained actually do to your text.
I can personally say that studying has taught me a lot, but there’s nothing that has taught me as much as executing in writing.
5. Use short sentences and paragraphs
Nobody wants to visit a website only to be greeted with a huge wall of text.
Just like subheadings, bullet points, and images, writing short sentences and paragraphs helps you write more easily-digestible content.
Think of it this way:
A wall of text is like a 600 grams steak. Only a few can eat it without fork and knife, but it will be a challenge. A time, and effort- consuming task.
But if you use a fork and a knife to cut the meat into smaller pieces, you are able to eat it without trouble!
The same goes for writing. Your goal is to present the information you are trying to share in a way that is as easily digestible and pleasant for the readers’ eye. Succeed in this and more people will try to complete the whole steak instead of giving up when they see it.
By writing short sentences, you make it easier for the reader to actually understand what it is you are trying to say.
Research shows that when the average sentence length is 14 words, readers tend to understand more than 90% of what they’re reading. However, when at 43 words per sentence, the comprehension drops to less than 10%.
Quite staggering statistics.
Therefore, to increase readability, keep your sentences short, clear, and concise, and don’t forget to create new paragraphs often.
About the author:
Jens Wirdenius is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Veloce International and the influencer directory Veloce Network. He is a social media and marketing nut, sharing his passion for business in his articles.