Are you struggling to find the words that get your message across to your audience? Do you find that your reader is leaving your page before they reach the end? If that’s the case, then this is for you.
With the amount of copy thrust before our eyes every day it can be difficult to choose where we invest our time. Who do you listen to? Who is trying to offer you a solution? Who is simply wasting your time? These questions are always at the forefront of our mind, but there are factors that dictate to our reader whether or not it’s worth reading what’s in front of them.
The most important things to think about are structure, language and purpose. Getting these things right is essential for writing with clarity.
Let’s explore in 8 bitesize pieces my top tips for creating clear and concise written content that captivates your audience and makes them take your desired action.
- Create catchy headlines
The reader is the fish, the copy is the rod. Your headline is the bait.
You only have a few words to reel in your audience so you have to make them count. What is it that’s going to make them bite?
Your headline’s purpose is to give your reader an overview of what they can expect to gain from reading your copy, in a quick, exciting snapshot. You’re offering information, a product or a service, so think carefully about how you’ll initially entice your reader in.
Once you’ve caught your audience’s attention it’s important not to lose them, so make sure your headline and copy are relevant to each other. If you write about an unrelated topic to what you’ve offered to your reader, they will feel disappointed and see you as an untrustworthy source of information.
2. Shorten your paragraphs
Our attention span has significantly reduced over time. We no longer read – we scan.
Everyone is busy nowadays, we don’t have time to sift through long-winded copy to find what we’re looking for. We want the information now.
This is a bit of a balancing act as you want to deliver enough information to be understood easily, in as few words as possible so your reader doesn’t get bored. Shorter paragraphs are much easier to scan through to find the desired information, so keep their length in mind. Don’t be afraid to split the information up if it makes it easier to read.
You don’t want your reader to feel intimidated. Writing paragraphs that are only a couple of sentences long is the ideal approach because it’s easier to digest. Once a paragraph exceeds 100 words you run the risk of losing your reader’s attention.
Remember, quality over quantity.
3. Use subheadings
When writing for an audience, you are essentially taking them on a journey. It is important to make sure that the path from the introduction to the conclusion is easy to follow and makes sense.
The way we read online is very different from how we would view traditional reading. We scroll and scan, move forwards and backwards through the text and consume information in a sometimes non-chronological order.
Using subheadings helps your reader to navigate the text without getting disorientated, and gives them an idea of what is coming next so they can decide if they want to read further.
4. Prioritise the important information
Most people only read the first couple of sentences of copy, so you need to front load the important information.
A quick overview followed by elaboration is the best way to appease those readers that just want a simple outline of the answer, and those that are seeking deeper understanding.
Getting to the point is extremely persuasive; it also encourages your audience to act on the information, be that buy a product, subscribe to a newsletter or book an appointment. If you are providing the answer to a problem or desire, doing so easily evokes trust and greater satisfaction.
You’re probably familiar with the term click-bait, and may have fallen victim to it at some point. Think how frustrating it is when you have to read two-thirds of the article before it even begins to talk about the headline topic that pulled you in. You don’t want your readers to feel the same way.
5. Use bullet points
Why? Because bullet points help you;
- Get to the point
- Break the information up
- Summarise the important bits
And they present the information in a way that’s easy to understand.
6. Make your content accessible
If you want your audience to read what you have to say, you have to make it readable. That may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people write without their audience in mind.
Did you know that 1 in 6 people in England have poor literacy skills? That makes up a staggering 16.4% of the population. That is 7.1 million people who could be in need of your product or service, but may feel alienated by your lack of understanding.
Simplifying your wording is all about accessibility. You need to make your copy easy to understand so that your audience feels more inclined to read further.
7. Avoid jargon and technical terms
Being considerate to your readers is important. They’re coming to you because they see you as an expert in your field and wish to learn from you. If you throw language at them that they do not understand, without taking the time to explain and break it down, they are more than likely going to give up.
Your reader doesn’t want to have to use another tab to Google every other word you say, it is tedious and, quite frankly, demoralising.
Try to imagine that the person reading your content has no prior knowledge of your topic…Will they know more once they’ve read it?
You want the answer to be yes.
8. Write naturally
The easiest way to make sure you’re writing in a way that’s understandable, is to write as if you’re speaking to your reader.
Using the second perspective ‘you’ makes your writing more personable and inviting, which helps to build a relationship of trust. It also makes the reader an active participant in your writing so they may be persuaded to read on for longer.
Writing in a more conversational tone is a great way to encourage you to stray from complicated and confusing language. Think about the purpose of your copy. If you’re seeking for your reader to take action, nurture them and guide them to that conclusion, don’t leave them feeling lost and confused.
So there’s a summary of how you can create written content that is clear and concise in its delivery, and that captivates your audience so that they will be better influenced to take the desired action after reading your copy.
At Browndog, we’re aware there is a lot to think about when producing your own content, and it can be daunting when you’re not sure how it will go down with your reader. Luckily for you, we possess the team and the experience to assist you with creating content for your business or brand that is sure to get results.