How to write and engage your readers

How to write and engage your readers

How to write and engage your readers

facebook 64twitter 64linkedin 64plus 64reddit 64tumblr 64 Written by Nina Alexander | Published: June 01, 2016
Writing, some say, is the easiest thing in the world. Get a piece of paper and a pen and put down everything that's on your mind. True. This is writing in its simplest form. Writing for readers, however, is a completely different story.

If you're ranting about your bad day in your diary, be it in a notebook or your personal blog, it really doesn't matter if you structure your thoughts or bother to follow a story line. After all, you couldn't care less if someone reads it and in some cases - you don't even want them to. But what happens when you decide to write something which is supposed to engage your readers? What if you want them to think about what you said? Or if you actually want them to get up and do something, be it purchasing what you sell, or exercising till they lose those 20 pounds?

I wouldn't dare call myself a specialist in writing. I have been told, though, that I am a good story teller. And for what I know - this makes a good writer.

Following are my tips for crafting a copy which engages the reader, or better yet - sells a product.

1. Purpose

Choose a purpose for your text
Before you write anything, you need to establish what it is that you want to achieve with your text. When great authors tell stories, they aim to transfer knowledge to their readers. The purpose of your copy doesn't need to sell something. You may want to raise awareness, strike a conversation, or help someone. Whatever the purpose, make sure you know it before you even put down on paper the first letter.

2. You can't tell more than you know

You cant tell more than you know
If you need to conduct a research on the topic you're describing, do it. You can't convince people if you're not convinced yourself, and in order to do this, you'll need some strong arguments.

3. Supporting arguments

Motivate yourself
Put down a sentence for each argument you'd like to use to support your theory. After you've listed them all, start explaining everything in details, but try to keep it short. Seven - eight sentences are usually more than enough.

4. Combine everything

Put everything together
Once you have all the paragraphs, read them out loud. By then, it should be easy to tell which paragraphs should be at the beginning of the text and which one at the end of it. If your text is emotionally charged, spread the most emotional parts of it at the beginning and at the end. If there's a call to action - do the same with it.

5. Minify

No, it's not ready to be published. "Sleep on it" is the best advice I ever got. Editing is absolutely mandatory for every text, and if you can afford to edit at least a day after you wrote it, you'll do yourself a huge favor.

Few more tips

There are few more factors you need to consider if you're writing for a general audience (or if you're crafting a marketing copy).
  • Write simple
    If your readers don't understand you, you'll distance yourself from them. Using a lot of terminology in your copy doesn't say "I want you to understand". It says "I want you to know I'm smarter than you are". And this isn't very appealing.

  • Avoid swag
    Unless you're making a point, using swag makes your copy less trustworthy.

  • Use short sentences
    The longer the sentence, the easier losing the point.
    Write short centences

  • Avoid repetition
    Don't bore people - visit and make sure your text is interesting.

  • Tell a story.
    Try to embed a story in your copy at all costs. Whether you're writing an article for a magazine or the text for a landing page, make sure you have something your users can relate to. The easiest way to do this is to introduce them to a character. The "avatar" you present to your reader can be an animal, your past self, an imaginary friend, or even your very own reader in a particular situation. As long as you can have your reader feel something, that's a win.
Go out there and wow the world with your stories!
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