Words can have a huge amount of power. By themselves, they have the ability to start or end wars, break relationships, and create entirely new concepts from thin air. For your business, the words you create can be the ultimate way to draw customers to your brand and earn their loyalty. Unfortunately, for the content you produce to have any power, you first need to make sure that people are reading it.
According to a study conducted back in 1997, about 79% of web users only actually “scan” the content they find, rather than reading it. People want to consume content as quickly and conveniently as possible. That means if you want your writing to be read – whether you’re creating a 5000-word eBook or a 500-word blog, you’re going to need to make it as “scan-able” as possible.
Here are a few ways that you can do just that.
Content Writing Best Practices
1. Discover the Power of the Line Break
One of the simplest ways to make sure that your content is as “readable” as possible, is to keep it spaced out. Try to introduce as much white space to your content as possible, covering a single idea per paragraph. At the same time, keep your paragraphs short and simple – three or four sentences at most.
You could even try writing paragraphs that only have a single sentence.
2. Stick with Subheadings
Subheadings are so powerful for your writing, that some people prefer to write them first – before they get into the meat of their content. A strong headline is key to making sure that customers want to check out your content in the first place, while great sub headings keep your readers engage as they scroll down through the text.
Once you’ve written your sub headings, make sure you run back through them to check that your readers will know exactly where to go for their key information when they’re scanning your content.
3. Use more Bullet Points
For some writers, bullet points can feel lazy. However, the truth is that they’re pretty effective. A bulleted list:
- Grabs the attention of your audience instantly.
- Provides a scannable way to present numerous points.
- Changes the format of your text to provide a visual “break” for readers
4. Use Deeper Captions
Studies suggest that image captions represent some of the most engaging content on any page. Try to make sure that you pair your images with “deep” captions that are two or three sentences long. This could be more than enough information to convince your reader to check out the remainder of your article.
5. Add Helpful, Relevant Links
Including plenty of internal links that go back to your cornerstone content can help to make sure that people stay on your site, and continue to read your best material. External links show that you’ve taken the time to research whatever you’re writing about, and highlight other experts in your field.
Good content makes sure that internal and external links are constantly used to add value to your posts and give your reader a better understanding of the information you’re providing.
6. Be Strategic with Highlighting
There’s nothing wrong with adding emphasis to certain areas of your content. For instance, you could write certain sentences in bold to capture your audience’s attention. If your reader is scanning your content, they’ll be able to see which information is the most important at a glance.
Remember, don’t get too carried away with highlighting. Instead, simply pick the points that are most critical to your overall message.
7. Make the Most of Numbers
Numbers are an incredibly powerful way to capture your audience’s interest and keep them oriented on the page. People naturally follow numeric lists, so if you want to make your post a little more compelling, while still using simple solutions, you should try numbering your primary points.
8. Update your Formatting
Finally, once you’ve changed up your post with plenty of bulleted lists, numbers, subheadings, and other formatting, read through it once more to look at only the text you’ve drawn attention to. Make sure that your formatting is designed to turn your scanners into readers, giving your customers all the crucial information they could need.
Rob is Founder & Publisher of UC Today, a leading news publication specialising in Unified Communications & Collaboration technologies.