Did we get your attention with that headline? It’s short, to the point, and tells you exactly what you’re getting. If it made you want to read this article, then it did its job. That’s step one to keep your readers engaged. But where do you go from there?
After you’ve written a compelling title, you want to keep those readers reading. But you’ve got a great topic, so how hard can that be?
Really hard. Just ask all of those bloggers who despair at readers who spend mere seconds on their blogs. It’s hard work connecting with strangers in a compelling way. And your writing needs to connect with them or they’ll just move on to the next interesting headline.
Want to know how you can make that happen? Keep reading.
Writing Techniques to Keep Your Reader Reading
1. Ask questions
One method of connecting with your readers is by asking questions. Notice how I asked a bunch of them in the introduction? That’s because, as Mad Lemmings points out, “they interact with our brain in an entirely different way than statements”. They keep you hooked.
Of course, those questions will need to connect in a meaningful way. For that to happen, you need to understand your audience. Why did they come to your blog in the first place? What are they looking for? Is it something you can provide? Ask questions in your posts that they want to be answered to keep readers engaged
2. Slide on down the page
Another tip from Mad Lemmings: use greased slide copy. If you’re wondering what in the world that is, we’re glad you asked. Greasing the slide means you’ve created such compelling copy that once a reader starts reading, they can’t stop until they’ve reached the bottom. Using phrases like “imagine this” and “bottom line:” (there are hundreds more) will make it easy—nay, unavoidable—for your readers engaged.
3. Avoid “sticky bits”
Don’t let the reader’s attention wander. You know how that happens—transitions that don’t flow, phrases that confuse, words that don’t ‘fit’… Anything that interrupts the smooth reading of your blog is a “sticky bit.”
If you stumble over your sentences when you read them out loud, you need to rewrite them. While you’re at it, cut out the fluff. If the sentence still makes sense without it, then it shouldn’t be there.
4. Watch your tone (of voice, that is)
Light and lively, interesting and fun, friendly and casual, fresh but factual—these are just some of the adjectives that describe writing that engages the reader. Nobody wants to read writing that’s staid, pompous, or (shudder) boring. Keep your writing tight, clear, and informative, but don’t forget to keep it interesting. Most importantly, sound like yourself.
If you can picture your readers and speak to them directly, you’re more likely to connect with them on a personal level. Writing with passion will help you connect with them, too.
5. Format your post so it’s easy to read
A solid block of text is really hard to read online, so break it up. Use subheadings every couple of paragraphs. Remember, white space is your friend. And it’s your reader’s best friend. White space makes what you’ve written less intimidating and easier to digest.
A reader might quickly scan your subheadings before deciding whether to read your post, so make them compelling.
Use italics, bold script, even bold italics. Anything that adds visual interest to your writing can help keep those readers reading.
To Wrap it Up…
What are you waiting for? Write a post using these techniques to keep your readers engaged and prove to yourself that you’ve got what it takes. Yes, you can write compelling copy your readers will stick with to the very end. Still not convinced that these techniques for getting readers engaged work? Just look where you are right now.