As a freelance content writer, you slave over each word, consulting your worn thesaurus on each critical element of your sentence. Once your highly polished work is published online, you wait in anticipation for the flood of clicks and comments.
Yet, nothing happens except cyber silence. No one retweets or shares your stunning insights.
You slip into a downward spiraling confluence of despair and depression; however, your writing talents may be just fine, and your formatting skills have not kept pace with the blazing speed of online scan reading.
Many times, producing fewer words and formatting the text will result in content that is better at attracting and holding attention, as well as easier to digest.
Scanners Not Readers
Most people using the Internet in the social media age seek out short statements that convey worth with few words. Twitter has revolutionized information by reducing cultural commentary to 144 characters or less.
Thus, your online writing must embrace this new trend, and by utilizing several formatting techniques, your content will be far more accessible.
1. Utilize line breaks
This represents one of the easiest ways to make content accessible. Even complex information can be more straightforward with a brief, relevant phrase followed by a bit of white space. Present one thought per paragraph, and keep it brief-three to four sentences.
In addition, conveying a message with one sentence only makes an impact.
2. Use Gripping Subheads to Break up Content
In essence, subheads are the outline to the content of the article.
A gripping subhead that relates directly to the headline will give the online visitor who scans a compelling reason to stop and read the content. Compelling subheads keep the reader who scans first engaged, essentially functioning as mini-headlines to hold their attention as they move through the rest of the content.
Moreover, subheads must be informative, yet intriguing as well. Online readers have hyper-honed fluff-o-meters, and exaggerations, unlikely, improbable or downright unbelievable subheads will drive them away.
After writing the subheads, double check them for grammatical error such as run on sentences and dangling participles that create embarrassing and amusing results. In addition, make sure your subhead communicates the message you desire, the compelling story and the gist of the subsequent paragraph.
3. Utilize Bullet Points
Some writers prefer to call them diamond points, as the phrase “bullet point” sounds violent; however, whichever icon you use, a delineated list produces the following:
- Easily digestible points
- Scannable information
- Differentiation from other text
Bullet points create a visual break for the impatient reader.
4. Utilize deep captions
Images have become increasing important in online content, and pairing a relevant, compelling image with a deep caption can result in consistent, easy to comprehend copy.
Deep captions use several brief sentences to communicate the over-arching storyline, and the capture a reader’s imagination resulting in greater effort to read the entire entry.
Brief, simple, straightforward methods of conveying a message have become the gold standard in the social media age. Formatting techniques represent easy, yet effective, methods of capturing the reader’s full attention.
While Wendy H focuses mostly on producing business reports and other types of heavy-duty content, she enjoys the lighter side of online content and using fun techniques for communicating online.