Online content is only useful if it can be read. Therefore, if you want your content read, make your content good. Creating good content doesn’t have to be hard. There are some points you need to keep in mind and some guidelines you can follow. Here are seven writing techniques that will help ensure reader engagement.
1. Use short paragraphs
When paragraphs are very long, the words get jumbled in the mind of the reader. Just looking at a large chunk of text — especially on the web — can get quite confusing and too much hard work to read. The reader will just quickly disregard the paragraph and move on to much more accessible reading that is easy to look at, as well as read.
Paragraphs can be a single sentence, sometimes even a single word!
2. Provide Valuable and Readable Content
Crafting valuable content is the best way to hook your audience. Giving readers valuable information that is relevant to them helps establish credibility and trustworthiness. It also lets people know that you understand their pain points and the solutions they need.
It is also important to remember what level of understanding your readers are at when it comes to your topic. Finding the right tenor for your audience does take some finesse, but if you can match your audience’s understanding level it can make for a much more enjoyable experience for them as well as for you. Knowing your audience gives you the insight necessary to innovate and create engaging content that will speak directly to them.
3. Make use of numbers and/or bullets
As each point is stressed, numbers and bullets can quickly make the point easy to digest. As each point, tip, guide or method is started with a bullet or point, readers will know that this is where the tips start. It also provides white space, which can increase reading comprehension. Format your bullets and numbers with indentations so that your article won’t look like a single block of square paragraphs. Add a little bit of flair and pizzazz to your article’s shape.
4. Use Sub-headings to sub-divide your paragraphs on the page
Doing this will break each point into sections, but still be a part of one whole article. It also makes it easy for the reader to move on from one point to another; the transition is smooth and easy. You are less likely to lose your readers’ attention (unless the sub-heads are not of interest), as well as the point and direction of where the content is going.
5. Provide a good attention-grabbing title or header
If your title can entice a person’s curiosity you’re already halfway to getting a person to read your content. Use statements and questions that use keywords people are looking for. Provide titles or headers that describe your article’s content but also are short and concise.
Use titles like, “5 Tips for _____”, or “How to ______.” You could also use titles that command people, for example, “Make Clients Open Their Wallets in Six Easy Steps.” These types of titles reach out to a person’s emotions and make them interested.
6. Keep them interested from start all the way to the finish
From your opening paragraph, use real-life situations that can be adopted by the reader. Stories are a very good technique — people love stories. Make them have a universal theme… something that many people can relate to.
Use good descriptions and metaphors to drive home your points. Of course, do this tactfully… you don’t want to overdo it. Using metaphors and similes can make it easy for readers to imagine what you are talking about. Making the experience of reading your content pleasurable and enjoyable.
7. Use figures when necessary and not just ordinary statements
Using specific facts and figures can heighten your content because it makes it authoritative. But don’t make it too formal. It should be light and easy in theme and flow. Like a friendly teacher having a little chat with an eager student.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published on CarmaSpence.com in February 2008. It was updated in February 2020 and again in January 2023.