Top Authoring Tips to Attract, Captivate and Impress
Top Authoring Tips to Attract, Captivate and Impress
In a world where more content is generated every day than in all of history up until just a few years ago, content authors must not only instanty grab attention, but maintain engagement for at least long enough to successfully deliver their message.
At Hub Communications Digital content is a big part of our daily life and we've learned a thing or two about writing engaging content for your website.
Picture Web Readers as Wild Animals
In the article Information Foraging: Why Google Makes People Leave Your Site Faster, Jakob Nielsen at the Nielsen Norman Group likens readers to 'wild animals gathering food' who are looking for the 'maximum benefit for minimum effort' while searching the Web for information.
Jacob describes the term 'Information Foraging' as the process of hunting for information and 'Information Scent' as the process of tracking or following the trail to the information they are hunting for.
By considering this analogy, writing with the informavore's navigation behaviour in mind, you will improve the chances of catching the reader.
Spend Time on the Headline
The headline is the most important part of the article.
Authors tend to focus more on the body of the article, putting a simple headline or title at the top. However, for the reader, the headline is their first sniff of the information scent.
Typically on the web links to articles are the headline, which the reader uses to determine the relevance to their search for information.
Headlines must inform the reader of the subject of the article, arouse their curiosity, encourage them to continue reading and be short and memorable, all in one line.
While there is no perfect formula, there is evidence that six worded headlines have been found to be the most effective.
Use Simple Language
Writing for the Internet is very similar to writing for a newspaper or a magazine. The use of abstruse (hard to understand) words that are not part of everyday language will distract the reader (as just demonstrated).
Even if you include hyperlinks to the definition of words that you have used, the simple act of wondering what a particular word or sentence means can distract the reader and break the flow of their reading.
Unless your audience are academics looking for peer-reviewed journals, your readers will quickly lose interest and find something easier to read.
Follow the Inverted Pyramid Style of Writing
A popular technique among journalists is the inverted pyramid writing style - putting the most important information at the top of the article and expanding upon the idea as you move down.
Try to imagine your average reader as someone who is late for work in the morning, but really wants to know what is in your article, and write your copy accordingly.
Include the most important information in your opening paragraphs instead of having the reader go through an entire page.
Pick Your Key Words
Writing for the Internet is not just about writing interesting copy. You must also make sure that your content is search engine friendly.
As an author, you need to consider the keywords of the topic you are writing about, and incorporate them into your writing to give your content the greatest visibility on the web.
Some forethought is important however, as some search engines penalise the misuse of keywords, such as using unqualified or unrelated keywords, or using them too frequently.
Write for Easy Flow Reading
Write content that can be skimmed through quickly whilst still delivering the important details easily.
Readers want the answer to their question immediately, so give it to them and make it clear, but reward those that take the time to read deeper by expanding upon what the reader would otherwise take away just from skim-reading.
Stick to a single idea per paragraph or use bullet points to separate out the ideas in long paragraphs.
Write Accurate Information
One of the most important aims for any author must be the use of accurate information.
Don't underestimate the ability of your readers to independently verify claims made by you in your article. Only provide them with well researched and factual content.
If you learn that information in an old article has become incorrect, add a correction into the article or write a new article with up-to-date information.
Make Sharing the Article Easy
While following the steps above will make a tasty article for the 'informavore', making the article easy to share will add the cherry on top.
Add tools to allow readers to easily quote paragraphs of text from your article and post to their social media platform of choice. Provide the means for the reader to easily create a link to your article, or e-Mail the link to a friend.
While writing for the web might be different from writing a book, or an essay; with continuous practice, authoring web content can become as easy as catching fish in a tank.
Keep the above points in mind when writing your next article and you are on your way to creating quality content for your website.
- The optimal length for social media updates and more
- Information Foraging: Why Google Makes People Leave Your Site Faster
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