In today’s online-centric world of embedded marketing and continuous content production, understanding and implementing techniques for online writing is essential to growing and maintaining a brand. It is very useful to know specific practices for publishing online content that is going to attract the most readers, engage them, and (if applicable) convert them into subscribers to future work. The metatextuality of writing a blog post about writing blog posts is not lost on me. In fact, I intend to capitalize on it by implementing the methods that I am suggesting, so that they are illustrated in concert with their direction.
1. Begin With a Summary
See, I’m already doing it. The short paragraph above, that’s my summary. With blog posts like these, in which you are trying to teach your audience something, it’s important that you tell them what they are going to learn. Don’t just jump into the instruction. Rather, tell them what you will do in the remainder of the article before you proceed.
2. Use Numbered Lists
Have you ever noticed that almost every article on BuzzFeed begins with a number or references a list in the title? From their front page right now: 50 Food Memes That Will Keep You Laughing for Hours, 21 Cheat Sheets You Need if You’re Trying to Cook More, 26 Subscriptions That Make Perfect Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts (there are many more). They are catchy and dramatic, they pique peoples’ interest, and it makes the post easily approachable. The reader sees a title like that and knows exactly what to expect in the article and how it will be formatted. It also sets up the content to be arranged in a naturally digestible fashion. Which brings us to our next point…
3. Write in Short, Easy-to-Read Segments
The truth is that very little online traffic is focused and attentive. If you’ve attracted an internet-user to your page or blog, great, but they more than likely aren’t looking for a wall of text that they must carefully read, highlight key segments, take notes, and form a study group to understand. Make it easy for them or they will find someone else who will, especially in a guide-based format like this one. Headings, simple paragraphs, and consistency are the best way to accomplish this.
4. Use Images
Even after breaking the text up into short easy-to-read bits, keeping the reader engaged can be difficult. Interspersing images (or videos or GIF files) at key intervals keeps the reader interested. They can be funny or instructive or illustrative. It doesn’t matter. They help. Just make sure that you are not stealing content from photographers or other content producers; it’s illegal and unethical.
5. Optimize Your Posts
Picking keywords or phrases helps your writing appear to people who use Google (or Bing? Anybody?) searches. You should use these keywords in your title and place them in the URL if possible. If you are publishing through an application like WordPress, it will also be helpful to use a search engine optimization plug-in like “All in One SEO.”
Written By: Raymond Henderson