And have you ever come across a post that was maybe...not-so-good? Unfortunately yes.
So what's the secret?
What makes some information is so captivating that you just can't stop reading while other information makes reading a college history textbook sound interesting? Why do some words cause you to excitedly take notes while at other times you re-read the same thing three times and then give up?
The good news is that there is an answer (and a pretty simple one too).
Write content that causes readers to learn and/or laugh.
[Tweet "Want to know how to write content that keeps readers hooked? @britthouchins shares the secret."]
The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that people read for two very basic reasons.
- People read because they want to be EDUCATED.
- People read because they want to be ENTERTAINED.
Let's go back to #1.
People love to read articles that teach them something, whether it's how to make a delicious recipe, start a capsule wardrobe, or to Google why platypuses have bills. To ensure that your writing gives readers what they're looking for, there are a few steps you should take.
Write to Educate
- Give action steps. When a reader wants to follow your lead and learn a process, be sure to tell them the necessary steps involved in order to complete it. Of course, not everything is going to be in a step by step format, but if done right, a well-written post should explain concepts thoroughly and in chronological, reasonable steps.
- Include tips. Everything you write should have tips included. Everything. It doesn't need to be a basic list of tips either. Tips can take on many forms: keys, tactics, techniques, ways, warnings, suggestions, methods, rules, options, processes, etc. All it takes is for one good idea that you've shared to satisfy the reader.
- Make them think. Give examples to help get their brain juices flowing. Readers crave more than just information. They want to see how they can apply it in their own lives.
Now for #2.
The internet has brought entertainment to our fingertips 24/7. We like to read articles that are captivating, not boring. Bringing this element into your own writing can dramatically increase the engagement in your posts.
Write to Entertain
- Write conversationally. No one wants to read a dry article. My writing style is very informal; I write the way I talk. My hope is that by doing so, my readers can feel as if I'm talking with them one-on-one. Writing conversationally can help readers feel more at ease and even more willing to comment.
- Use humor. Most people like to laugh. (To those of you who don't enjoy laughing, my apologies. You may skip this and go immediately to the section labeled "Don't Have A Sense Of Humor"). Basically it just means when you have a chance to say something in a funny way, do it. Of course, don't use too much humor and stay away from anything offensive, but by all means insert some light-hearted fun when applicable.
- Tell a story. Especially a real one, as it provides a sense of credibility to what you're saying. A story can set the mood or provide a background to what you're about to say later on. It can be funny, sad, serious, or embarrassing. Sharing a good story always a great way to engage the reader.
There you have it! The secret to keeping readers hooked on your content. Try it out and see if people don't come running back for more ;)
What do you think? Is the reason people read because they want to be educated and/or entertained?