When you are designing a website, one of the things you focus on is user experience (UX). This has to do with both design and usability: how the website looks and feels, how it flows, and where you want to draw visitor attention. You’ve got just 15 seconds to make an impression or they are gone.
The same applies to engaging people with your writing. You’ve got to grab them right away, hold their attention, and deliver the goods. You need to demonstrate why your content is worth their time and then do the basics to market it.
Here are six steps to writing that grabs readers:
1. Engage People Emotionally
If you want your writing to engage people, you need to connect with them emotionally. Facts are great. Statistics and links can lend credibility. Stories, however, connect with people.
If you’re trying to drive home a point, nothing beats personal stories. They provide a real-life example to which readers can relate. It makes the information stick.
- Have a strong opening act
- Tell personal stories
- Use case studies to demonstrate results
2. Challenge People Intellectually
If you are regurgitating material that the reader has already seen or heard before, it will be tough to engage readers. Whenever possible, you’ve got to find a new angle, a different perspective, or challenge convention.
Which statement do you think is more likely to get attention?
- Bats are blind
- None of the more than 1,100 species of bats are blind.
I’ll bet you picked the second one. We’ve heard all our lives that bats are blind. However, it’s not true. Pursuing an original thought challenges our intellect and makes us pay attention.
3. Make It Convincing
Now that you’ve hooked people, you’ve got to convince them you know what you’re talking about and construct your argument so they can understand your logic.
Statistics can help back up your argument when they come from credible and high-quality sources. Keep in mind, however, that there are often conflicting statistics for almost anything you can write about. Quotes from credible sources help as do providing links to well-known and credible content.
After all, if the reader doesn’t trust what you’re saying, they won’t see the value in what they’re reading. The key to writing engaging content is to provide value to the reader. As customer relationships evolve, providing helpful information has become more important than ever. It’s less about selling a product and more about selling an idea. You are establishing your credibility and building trust.
4. Design For Skimmers
People are no longer reading. They’re skimming. As they skim over your text, how your content looks may be as important as what you write.
Make your writing easy to read by using simple formatting tools to divide your content in easily-digestible chunks:
- Section headers and subheadings to help readers navigate quickly
- Short paragraphs and white space
- Bullet points and lists when appropriate
5. Help Readers Find Your Story
In the middle of the forest stood two trees. One tree was a Sheriff. The other tree was a deputy. On the ground is a dead tree that has fallen over. The deputy tells the Sheriff, “I asked around. Nobody heard anything.”
That’s a bad joke, maybe, but you get the point. A tree falling in the forest with nobody around to hear it may lead you to question if it made a sound? If you write a great story and nobody reads it, what good is it?
Practice good SEO (search engine optimization) practices to get noticed.
- Use keywords without overusing them (keyword stuffing)
- Link to high quality stories
- Use keywords in titles, headings, and sub-headings
- Analyze your headline for engagement
CoSchedule has a free headline analyzer tool that can help you improve your engagement.
6. Check Before Publishing
A great story can be ruined by sloppy writing. Misspellings, grammar errors, and mistakes can hurt credibility. Duplicate content can cause your content to be flagged by search engines. Plagiarism is just plain wrong.
Writing Takes Skill
Crafting high-quality writing that grabs readers attention and engages them is not easy. It times take. It takes work. It takes skill.
WriterAccess has high-quality writers with experts in just about every topic. We can find the best match for your content using advanced tools, our proprietary artificial intelligence-fueled StyleMetrics Matching, and our team of humans.
Paul D. is a multiple Emmy Award® winner for writing with more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist working for some of the country’s top publishers. For the past 10 years, Paul D. has worked as a marketing and advertising expert on projects for hundreds of clients. He holds an MBA in Business Administration and certifications from Google, Moz, Facebook, Local Marketing Association, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. He writes clear, concise, compelling copy that converts.