Attention. Getting eyes to the screen. Piquing the interest of the reader.
We all want to reach readers, influence others, and become known for impactful writing. We write our stories and blog posts with these goals in mind. Writers often write to roll off words for ourselves. But, the things we want people to read come from our heart and our intended to touch the reader.
So, how do we do this? How do we get readers to embrace our work and see its value? Here are some ideas to make your story stand out.
Write to Engage
Engage the reader as soon as possible. Make your main message clear from the beginning. Journalists call this putting the big news first. An inspirational blog post should come to the most important information at the beginning and then work to explain. A fictional story may contain many hidden messages, but the main message should come as close to the start as possible.
Write simple sentences full of imagery. Write to make the story come alive through description and detail. Paint a full picture. Make sure every word carries weight.
Vary paragraphs and sentences. Build tension. Allow the reader to ramble through the story with you by changing sentence length. Understand the need for simple sentences. And change the flow, by alternative the rhythm and style of a sentence, to give the reader a chance to slow down and rest.
Scare the Reader into Reading
Headlines and opening sentences should give the reader the feeling of FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Make your reader wonder if they were to miss reading your story they might miss out on the fun. The timeless cliche of the protagonist sitting by the phone because it might ring is all about the worry of FOMO.
Headlines should grab the reader. Use “How To” or power words to generate interest in the story. Tease your reader. Use odd numbers in your headline because readers gravitate to odd numbers. Promise a list of useful tips. Use adjectives in your headline. Describing words make the headline more powerful, enhanced, or superb.
Listen and Aim to Please the Reader
Key into what your reader wants by listening. Review your comments. Join communities. What things do your readers want? Did anyone especially like your last post, or did they ignore it? Readers will key into good writing that’s on the topic.
And if they avoided a story, it may be because they were not interested or the headline fell flat. If you want to be read, you may need to write stories the reader wants to read.
If your writing about a specific subject or technical article, make sure you are writing to please the audience. What do they want or need to know?
I write for myself, finding subjects that appeal to me. However, I always think about what the audience wants. I expect their questions and then answer them. For years, I wrote the teaser line leading into the next news block as a television producer. The teaser had to work and keep the audience. The successful teaser kept the viewers waiting for the story. Make sure your headline grabs the reader.
© 2019, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.