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How to make people read your articles?

by Roman Kraft
by Roman Kraft

It is not about how much time we invest into working on our blog, but rather how effective that work is.

The Internet has become the largest guidebook for most of us. Customers, users, or entrepreneurs scan and share virtual space, looking for content that resonates with their interests. As the tech-age grows bigger and offers more than just words, we have fallen into the trap of stagnation. Words became less important as the illustration era has dawned.

Perfect match

Fundamental truth: we have to be aware of the fact that people barely read online. Readers are more likely to scan the entire piece for parts they are interested in than to read the text line by line [1].  These findings have substantial implications for how we should create digital content. A crucial stage of preparing our articles is to identify our target audience. As Thomas Jefferson said: “Knowledge is power,” and knowing your reader is an essential part of creating a blog people will read. Narratives must meet people's needs and expectations because readers just want to pick out the information most pertinent to their current needs and leave. What if there is another option?

Write, engage, build a community 

According to the annual Wearesocial.com and Hootsuite report, content audiences choose visual Social Media more often than their written counterparts [2]. With visuals trying to dethrone written communication, we must roll up our sleeves and prep for hard work to keep words a form of communication medium that matters. Social media growth demonstrates that even if we don’t live as a community, we still need one. This fundamental truth can be applied while writing articles. Be conscious of your target group, use language that suits your audience, and try to catch their attention by working on your blog consistently. Studies have shown that people, whose blogs are more frequently commented on, devote more time to their blogs and post more frequently [3]

Persistence yields results 

It is not about how much time we invest into working on our blog, but rather how effective that work is. Continuous development of skills and knowledge of the market for which we create is the key to success. If we want to design content that supports our goal, we must pay attention and write using dedicated tools. Thorough scanning is the primary method to process information online. The amount of time users are willing to spend reading depends on four factors: level of motivation, type of task, level of focus, personal characteristics [1]. How can we use those factors to our advantage while writing? 

Use clear, noticeable headings and subheadings 

There is nothing more discouraging than a linear text without clear headings. In the scanning era, a wall of words devoid of paragraphs, correct editing and highlighting, can easily discourage your reader from digging deeper into your content. The Internet offers a never-ending source of information, so customers will look for content prepared and organized in a well-thought-out way. 

Place information upfront

The organization of your content is essential. Subheadings and links allow people to understand the message quickly while scanning “front-load” information. One may think that hiding the title-relevant information in the depths of a paragraph encourages engagement. However, this practice often results in the opposite. Consuming an entire piece to find what we are looking for can be daunting. Recipients might feel overwhelmed and tired of searching for the specific information they are interested in and even abandon the piece before finishing it. 

Employ formatting techniques like bulleted lists and bold text 

Allow the eyes to focus on the most critical information. Sometimes it might seem impossible to find information among columns of words in blog articles. Proper formatting, bolding the most important parts, and making lists may help attract readers’ attention. By being mindful of the details, your blog will be considered professional and will encourage people to return to it next time.

Use plain language

Keep the content concise and clear. Don’t try to make it poetic or bookish. Simplicity works. Making your blog straightforward should be your primary goal. As complex as your article's theme may be, making it easy to read shows you know the subject well. As a professional and an expert, you should be able to articulate your thoughts clearly and comprehensively.  

Make it quick to read

According to Medium analysis, the average time to read for the Most Recommended Articles is 7.3 minutes. The average reading speed of an adult is 275 WPM (words per minute) [4]. Both pieces of information together give us a secret formula - about 2100 words per article. Can it be that simple? As with everything in life, it all depends. The theme, target audience and complexity of the topic will dictate the piece's length, but try not to write texts longer than 5000 words. 

Medicine: difficult topics need clear explanations 

Medical copywriting is more complex than any other type of copywriting. Here, words have precise definitions; thus, their usage is far more restricted. You must pay close attention to what you write and possess an excellent command of the language and terms you use. Medical terminology can be confusing and sound exotic to an unfamiliar reader; it is your responsibility to present complex medical concepts understandably and logically. Without proper knowledge of the industry, you may end up delivering unsuitable or inaccurate content to your readers. Tackling medical writing takes time, but it is time well-spent. 

Ask PubMED or Google Scholar 

The medical industry is constantly changing, with new knowledge being created every day. As a medical content creator, you are obligated to follow scientific reports daily. Never assume you know something for certain. It is better to verify information using multiple sources than to make a premature claim and be wrong. Because if you lose your readers’ trust by publishing information that isn’t Evidence-Based Medicine, most likely, they will not look for information on your blog next time. Get your mind around the topic you are working on, check information on PubMed, Google Scholar, or other platforms for medical researchers. It is completely normal to double-check and verify the information. Such practice demonstrates your professionalism. In the end, you are not writing about the new clothing line. Medical knowledge is complex, and this complex nature needs to be respected. 

Be specific when it comes to references 

You found scientific articles that suit your topic. Great – what’s next? Some people may say that referencing isn't important, but they are wrong. Proper referencing should become a habit, but try to make it clear and straightforward. Use numbered forms so the reader can easily refer to the work from your bibliography. While forming your citation list, use the same style across all your citations. It shows that you know what you are doing, and that you have prepared your article professionally. 

Take time, work smart 

Creating plain words in the “visual era” may seem to be of little value, but we couldn’t be more wrong. People look for information to expand their knowledge. However, in their search, they seek and try to catch only the essence. Investing in your copywriting skills and developing your blog will most certainly boost visitor numbers. Do not be afraid to put work into your articles. Changes investing time will provide you with excellent results. Let us guide you through the process? 

References:

  1. “How People Read Online: The Eyetracking Evidence”, second edition
  2. digital-2021-the-evolution-of-the-digital-landscape-in-the-united-states (last accessed: 28.02.2021)
  3. Report: “MOTYWACJE, ZACHOWANIA i POGLĄDY AUTORÓW I CZYTELNIKÓW BLOGÓW: RAPORT Z BADANIA ANKIETOWEGO PRZEPROWADZONEGO PRZEZ FIRMĘ GEMIUS SA I SERWIS BLOX.PL
  4. https://medium.com/the-mission/after-10-000-data-points-we-figured-out-how-to-write-a-perfect-medium-post-58c41c314f6a (last accessed: 1.03.2021)
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