Write for your readers. It’s common advice, but how do you create content that really WOWS your readers?
First, you must provide value—educate them, entertain them, etc. But you also need to make the individual elements of your content reader-friendly. Here are eight examples:
1. Your headlines/titles. You want headlines and titles that bring in readers, but not if they don’t accurately reflect the content. While many online sites use “clickbait” headlines to drive advertising revenue, extra page views shouldn’t be the end game for B2B brands. You need to earn/maintain your readers’ trust.
2. Your introduction. Do you get to the point quickly? If not, revise. Because nobody ever asked anyone, “Could you take longer to get to your point, please?” At least without sarcasm.
3. Your sources. If you’re using data or other information from outside sources, use highly reputable sources, if possible, and cite them clearly. You might even cite sources that might work against your point in order to heighten your credibility.
4. Your overall argument. Readers don’t want to be left guessing. They want your content to be clear, compelling, and engaging, and so should you. So work hard to make your argument as clear and as simple to understand as possible.
5. Your display text. If you can break your content into more easily digestible pieces, do so. Using subheads, pull quotes and other textual elements is important, especially for longer pieces.
6. Your images/charts. Similar to display text, using images and charts can significantly improve the reader experience by making the content easier on the eyes. Additionally, well-crafted charts can add credibility to the content, both due to adding useful information and demonstrating the care and effort that went into creating the content.
7. Your product pitch. Well, if you want your content to be trusted, best to just leave this element out of your content. Read our blog post “How Much Do People Trust Your Company’s Content?” for much more on this, but the basic point is this: readers trust your content a heck of a lot less if you include a product pitch.
8. Your conclusion. Just like people don’t like long intros, they don’t like long endings, either. Wrap up your content quickly. Your readers will thank you.
And that’s my cue to end this post. But if you’re interested in an in-depth post on writing for readers, check out “When Writing, Remember the Most Important Element (The Reader).”
About the Author: Eric Anderson works with fisher VISTA clients to create compelling thought-leadership content. His previous experience includes eight years as a reporter and editor.