How to Write Content for an Online Audience that Scans – Quickly
The online audience moves very quickly, and if you don’t catch their attention within a couple of seconds, you’ve lost your opportunity to connect with them. Social media marketing and content marketing require a different form and style of writing to communicate messages than traditional marketing.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps that can help you learn how to write content that not only gets noticed but also gets read in its entirety. Keep in mind, when it comes to online content, people skim and scan. Therefore, “read in its entirety” refers to motivating a person to actually skim through your entire piece of content to get the complete message. While it would be wonderful if every person who stumbled on your content on the web read every word, that’s not the reality. Go for scannability!
Following are several tips to get you started in the right direction:
1. Spend Time Creating a Great Headline
Create a killer headline that intrigues and offers the promise of useful or entertaining information. Often the headline is all people see on sites like Twitter and Facebook, so it needs to motivate people to click through and read your complete content.
2. Start Strong
Begin with your most important message. There is no time for pretty introductions. Get to the point and then offer supporting information.
3. Keep It Short
The online audience typically prefers quick-hitting content (remember, they like to move fast) over lengthy content.
4. Use Headings
Make your content even more scannable by using headings and sub-headings gratuitously.
5. Use Bullets and Numbered Lists
Break up text heavy pages and make your content more scannable by using lists.
6. Use Images
Sometimes people just look at the pictures in order to decide if they even want to scan a piece of online content. Tell part of your story through the images you publish with your content to intrigue your audience.