A lot of people can write well. You’re probably one of them.
But there is a major difference between writing well and writing something that people will read. True a carefully crafted sentence, littered with grandiloquent displays of linguistic prowess may appeal to the more literarily inclined readers.
But in the world of the web, most people will label you a tool.
You have 4 seconds to make an impression when you first meet someone face to face. Your words on the web have even less time to hook and hold a reader, when you’re competing with the likes of funny cats and Korean pop stars.
Consider a Facebook post for instance. In 2011 Facebook reported over a 20 minute period, the average number of status updates shared is 1,851,000. That’s 1,851,000 competitors folks. Furthermore, given that amidst tales of broken hearted teenagers, duck faced, scantily clad ‘selfies’ and vintage themed photos of food, your words of wisdom will only reach around 14% of your audience, best make sure they listen to what you say.
Here are five ways to make sure your blogs, tweets, status updates and content in general gets read, liked, retweeted and shared.
1) Your fist few words are the key to hooking your reader.
Think of them as a headline. This article by Coppyblogger gives a nice overview of how to write headlines that work.
2) Embrace Brevity.
(I stole this one from Chris Brogan) Less is more in the world of dwindling attention spans and instant gratification. Any time you write something, cut it in half. Research shows that keeping posts between 80-120 is more likely to get them read on Facebook. Blog posts any more then 350 words long tend to waffle. When editing, look to get rid of unnecessary words. One adjective is plenty!
3) Write to benefit your reader.
What are your words giving the reader. Is it a call to action that will somehow benefit them? Is it a piece of invaluable information on a product or service they’de love? How does what your saying add value to your brand in the eyes of the reader? Figure out your intent and convey it as clearly and concisely as possible so your reader understands how it’s enriching them in some way.
4) Write as if you are talking to the reader.
David Ogilvy once said “I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.” It’s safe to say Ogilvy was a fairly rad copywriter. Probably worth listening to his advice. Write conversationally, no one would say “I believe it to be in your best interests to purchase this product”. Say “You’re going to want this”
5) Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite!
This is where the magic happens. No one can writes a perfect article, blog post, book etc in one go! In the world of 140 character micro blogging perhaps this seems redundant. People don’t care what you say on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ etc… Maybe… Or maybe what you’re saying is crap! Reread and rewrite everything you plan on sending out into the big wide world, I guarantee you’ll find a way to improve it!
One last tip is to write about something you love!
Nothing reads better then prose pitched with passion, it’s believable, genuine and relatable!