5 Strategies to Get More People to Read the Content you Write
Writing, most of us do it daily (or typing, to be more accurate), but while jotting down a few notes is one thing, composing a solid email that gets read and answered, creating blog posts that stimulate engagement, or putting together a sales pitch that lands you the new client: all this takes a different set of skills.
And more often than not, it’s not all the good stuff you’ve produced that people see. It’s that one seemingly small mistake what glaringly stands out – and might just become the straw that broke the camel’s back (and your big chance to shine).
Arm yourself with knowledge about the common deadly mistakes people make every day in their marketing communications and content creation – and you’ve almost won the battle.
Ready? Let’s go!
Good writing rests on a bunch of solid foundations, that when ignored, can bring your story down like a rickety house of cards. Stick to the proven basics, and you’re well on your way to engage, convince and connect with your reader.
1. Plan Your Writing
Before you even set out to hit the keyboards, clacking away, think. Why are you writing this piece? Who will read it, or listen to you present it? What do you want them to do, to feel, to learn? What context is it written in. Take the old pen and paper and sketch the outline for more complex pieces, or use a mind map app if you’re technically inclined (but be warned – many an hour has been wasted perfecting the look of a mind map – when it’s really only meant to be a tool).
2. Know Your Target Market
Back to the ‘whom am I writing for?’ question. Don’t tick that one off too quickly. “My customers,” you may think. But who are they? What do they believe, lack, fear, want, like and need? Are they, broadly speaking male or female or either; young or old; frugal or big spenders? Are they employed or employers? … You get the idea: what would a person look, behave and be like who represents your client. The one you’re trying to reach. Think about that, too, when you offer them a call to action at the end of your piece: what do you want them to do next – and what’s in it for them?
3. Benefits Vs. Functions
You’re ready to write your little heart out now – beware that you don’t trip up by boring your reader. Don’t just tell them only about you, you, you. All they really want to hear is the answers to “how can you help me, me, me?” Easily fixed: instead of telling your clients about the features of your service or product (‘this is what we do’), tell them about all the impressive benefits they get instead (‘these are the problems we solve for you, things we protect you and your family from, the time we’ll give you back for doing things for you’).
4. Add Some Credibility
It’s not just what you say, but whether you can convince the reader to believe you, that is important. Third-party endorsements (testimonials), examples and proof of what you’ve described or claimed (i.e. case studies, statistics, references) and offering workable solutions to problems you’ve described go a long way to make you more convincing.
5. Choice Words
Poor language, jargon, inattention to proper grammar, an inappropriate tone for the audience, and trying to be someone you are not to fit your reader’s (imagined) expectations are sure-fire ways of messing up an otherwise wonderfully thought-through and informative piece of writing. Be yourself, keep it simple and clear, proofread your work after stepping away from it for a while, imagine your target audience reading your tone. And check in with yourself whether, when reading it out aloud to yourself, the piece of writing sounds like you. Is this how you speak to your readers otherwise?
Now you’re ready. Enjoy your writing – and the fruits of your labour.
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About the contributor:
Daniela Cavalletti is an accomplished copywriter, editor and ghostwriter who heads the international tribe of wordsmiths at Cavalletti Communications ('CavaCom'). They help business owners, authors and brands find their unique voice, boldly stand out and become leaders in their marketplace. A bookworm since the tender age of three, Daniela feels lucky to have spent most of her life as a creative content and communications addict who connects people and makes words work. Website: http://www.cavalletticommunications.com