You've spent hours researching and crafting the perfect blog post. The information is sound and you have written it with your ideal buyer in mind. This stuff is gold, you think. Except... nobody is reading it.
If you suspect this is the case for your writing, I have sobering news for you: you are most likely right. New research shows that 43% of people admit to skimming blogs.
It is enough to make you want to give up on the entire blogging exercise.
With the glut of content that is being published digitally every day, this should hardly surprise us. Unless it is overwhelmingly obvious that there is a benefit for the reader to engage, our brains are wired to ignore most content.
Getting readers to click through to your article is, in itself, a triumph. Once they do, you want to be sure that they actually receive your message, even if that means they are not reading every single word.
Here are five ways you can make your blog posts more scannable.
1. Get to the point
This goes hand in hand with keeping things brief. Our attention spans are officially shorter than that of a goldfish. The reader has clicked through to your content so it is your responsibility to reward them by getting to the point quickly and succinctly.
Your title hooked them. Now use your intro paragraph to reel them in. Make it clear that this blog post is going to deliver what you promised them in the title. Treat the introduction as a synopsis of the problem and hint at the solution.
2. Break it up
I think you know where I am going with this. Headers of course. They serve like mini headlines and, provided they arecompelling, do a stellar job making your copy more scannable and, well, compelling.
Give some thought to the headers you use. Besides aiding readability, they can deliver structure and flow to your article.
3. Keep it short
I did not have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead." (Mark Twain)
Try to limit your paragraphs to a few sentences and keep those sentences short and sweet. Your impatient reader will thank you.
No need to write a War and Peace-like novel here. However as Mark Twain's quote suggests, there is a real skill to keeping your prose succinct.
4. White space
White space brings a sense of zen to your web page or article. Here are some ways in which you can create more white space:
- Increase line space
- Adjust margins to create more white space around the edges of your copy
- Create margins around your images
- Increase space around headers
5. Be bold, bite the bullet and create a list
Here are three suggestions:
Highlighting and bolding important text will help the reader quickly identify which parts are relevant and worthy of their attention.
Bulleted lists look different to the rest of the copy and in that sense they also do a good job of breaking up text.
"Not another list!" I hear you say. But lists are like instant gratification for the impatient readers. Give your audience what they need. Make the information available in a format they can easily digest. Add lists to your list.