It’s the first thing I will tell someone who wants to increase their online presence: “You need to create content!” In my opinion, content on a website is the foundation to every other avenue of online existence. Once the content is there, you can proceed to utilize it in unlimited ways. You will be able to extract the ‘yummy nuggets” to use on Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. Each blog post or website landing page can provide you with any number of posts. Add images and you are well on your way to being able to make the content freely available to your audience.
But – this won’t necessarily make your audience actually read the content. And, you can be very sure they will absolutely not read it if the content is boring, ordinary, too dense. Not only will they not read this content, they will likely avoid clicking through to your content in the future, as well.
A recent article on the Copyblogger, 8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content, addresses exactly that challenge. In this article, Pamela Wilson empathizes with those of us who spend hours agonizing over every phrase, every word…. working so hard to try to be clever, insightful, snarky, smart. After all of that attention to detail, we do finally publish our article only to find that nobody reads them. We receive no comments, no shares, no applause. Pamela suggests that we could be writing less, but styling our text to make it easier to read.
In this age of the 2.7 second attention span, we need to get our readers to move out of ‘scan’ mode and into ‘read and interact’ mode. We will need to structure our posts to be easily digested by breaking them up in to bite-sized portions. Try constructing your paragraphs with the conclusion stated first, with the supporting comments following. Help your readers decide at which point they will want to get in close to learn more.
Here are some of the design elements outlined in the Copyblogger article:
- Utilize the line break. Introduce white space to indicate a separation of ideas.
- Use subheaders to break up content.
- Bullet lists (my personal favorite)
- Numbered lists (my second favorite)
- Use images with captions
- Include relevant links – especially those leading back to your own content.
- BOLD when necessary.
In my opinion, the most important thing to work with is that you are the expert in the work you do. You simply need to be better at teaching about what it is you do. Use these simply design element suggestions to help you communicate this to your intended audience.