Producing engaging content is one thing, but holding a reader’s attention? That’s another. We all know how much content there is on the web, but we also know how easy it is to not read it. Okay, okay, so maybe we do read some articles and blog posts, but let’s be real—most of us tend to skim them rather than read through them in their entirety. We’re busy, and we’ve got things to do! So in today’s hustling and bustling world, how do you write engaging content (articles, blog posts, ebooks, etc.) while keeping your readers interested? Read, skim, or scan the top 10 list below to find out.
1. Make your offer.
Offer information that is original and relatable.
By providing your readers with information that is new, original, and relatable, you will be giving them something that no one else is—engaging content that holds their attention. A lot of the news and information that can be found online is the same from one source to the next, but by offering readers something new that they can’t find anywhere else, you are bound to capture—and hold—their attention.
2. Tell a story.
Present your information as a story to really connect with your reader.
If you present your information as a story, readers will be much more inclined to keep reading—to find out what happens, to learn more about your product, or to find a meaningful connection that they can relate to. In addition, if you have a consistent voice and make your story emotionally relevant, you will be that much more likely to connect with your readers and hold their attention.
3. Be a space maker.
Make your content reader-friendly by optimizing your use of white space.
By formatting your content in a way that is visually appealing and uses the right balance of white space and text, you will already have readers wanting to read your article or blog post. The right amount of white space draws the eye to certain areas and prevents the page from becoming cluttered or disorganized, making skimming much easier.
4. Don’t be afraid to be bold.
Make your headings and subheadings stand out so they can be scanned by the reader.
Just as with white space, you want to make sure you’re using headings and subheadings that draw the eye, offer relevant information, and provide enough knowledge to give even skimmers and scanners a general idea of your article or blog post. Although your ultimate goal is to have them read the whole thing, if they can get what they need just by skimming, then you’ve still done your job well.
5. Make magic with bullets.
Use bullet points to provide a visual break while presenting your information in a way that is easily skimmable.
Bullet points break information up to make it easily digestible, concise, and generally easier to skim. They also contribute to the balance of white space and lend themselves to the visually appealing layout of your content.
6. Get the gist.
Scan only the points that you have highlighted to see if the reader will be able to get the gist of your article or blog post simply by skimming or scanning.
This is probably one of the most important points in this article. While you want your readers to actually read your entire article, you know that many of them won’t. However, you still want to get your information across, and you want your readers to come away with more knowledge than they had before they stumbled upon your article. By making the content of your main headings and points informationally efficient, you will be able to give your readers what they need even when they don’t read every word. This will keep them coming back for more because it will be concise, compelling, and engaging. If you ask me, it’s a win–win!
7. Include links.
Include internal links back to your own content.
Not only will these links give readers the opportunity to engage with more of your content via other areas of your site, but they will also allow you to keep the article or blog post concise. By including internal links, you won’t feel compelled to cram all the information into one article, which your readers will appreciate. This is also an easy way to boost your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), as the keywords you use will be more concise and the internal links will show the relevance of the content to the rest of your site.
8. Prettify your format.
Draw the reader’s eye by formatting your posts in a way that is visually appealing.
Whether this means using interesting font styles, unique images, or SlideShares instead of standard articles, format your articles so that they appeal to your readers. Readers are much more inclined to read visually appealing articles. And, once they realize that your content is engaging, too, they’ll be hooked!
9. Use numbers.
Numbers catch the eye and make information stand out.
Have you ever noticed that you’re much more interested in reading a headline if there’s a number in it? Numbers automatically give you some context, which keeps you wanting more. “The Top 5 Ways to Earn More and Do Less.” What does your brain automatically think? “What are the top five ways? I must know—now!” Including numbers, especially in your headings, makes your readers think they are privy to something, something that no one else knows . . . which keeps them engaged and glued to the page. It can also let readers know that an article is a quick read, because lists are easy to skim (see point 6!).
10. Avoid errors.
Edit, proofread, and be error-free.
Without proper editing and proofreading, none of the tips above will matter. If your content is great but riddled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, there’s no way your readers are going to stick around. If your content is engaging but lacks the professionalism of grammatical accuracy, your readers will become disengaged with each typo they see. Having error-free content is the ultimate key to holding your readers’ attention, so it’s imperative that you avoid making mistakes. To ensure that your content is error-free and awesome, have your articles and blog posts edited by experts. If you’re serious about producing engaging content that holds your readers’ attention, there’s no better way to get the results you want than by using a professional editing service (and following these 10 tips).