9 Golden Rules To Grab Readers’ Attention
Know your audience
It may seem simple and logical but many writers take the pen before wondering about the identity of their targets and how to reach them. Before you start your draft, ask yourself this fundamental question: who is my main audience? What would be my secondary audience, and how could this second influence and service to reach my main? Say you want to create a website for a law firm. Your main audience might be your existing customers. However, your secondary audience is much broader and could include other lawyers, specialized journalists, or anyone who may need your services in the future, in other words, your prospects. You need to make sure that your content is both accessible and interesting to all audiences. What kind of questions can these targets ask? What kind of information will you be able to give them?
Apply the inverted pyramid method
The readers have very impulsive attention. They judge the interest of your site in just a few seconds. For immediate clarity and impact, structure your content on the model of an inverted pyramid or cone. The most important information should appear at the top of your page. Then, gradually, you integrate the secondary elements and finish with the details.
Imagine this time that you are creating a web page for a conference. The most relevant information – such as the description of the event, the themes, the date, and the place – will naturally be visible at the top of the page. Then come the secondary information such as the presentation of the speakers and the order of the conferences. And finally, you will be able to get readers’ attention, name the organizers, the various partners of the event or the quotes of the articles published during the previous edition.
Write short and simple sentences
Long sentences have no place on the Internet. The average length to be respected for an online sentence is 35 words maximum. Mainly consisting of words and verbs. Do not use words such as “placidity” or “nebulous” when you can simply write “calm” or “confused”.
Prefer the active voice
Use active rather than passive verbs and specify who is the subject of the sentence. Rather than write “A coffee was ordered”, always prefer “The customer ordered a coffee.” Or instead of saying “The products can be ordered on our website”, write preferably “You can order these products on our website.” The active voice simplifies reading and makes your speech more direct and thus more impacting. This advice also applies when you have to speak directly to your audience. A “You can order now” will serve your cause more than “the order can be placed”.
Nothing beats the concrete
Do not limit your prose to generalities and high-level statements. Examples drawn from your daily life help readers better understand and visualize your messages. See with these two descriptions:
“This is the best dog toy you can find!”
“We made this dog toy from 100% natural and durable rubber, designed to resist punctures and the toughest jaws.”
Which version has the most impact on you and gives you the clearest vision of the proposed product? The details provided in the second description are a concrete sales pitch so effective and will allow you, moreover, to be better referenced on the Internet.
Complete the jargon
The Web must be accessible to all, by the experts as by sir and madam everyone. So, make sure the information you provide is understandable to non-specialists as well. Avoid acronyms right from the first use on your page or insider language. And if you have no choice, feed your comments with links to other articles where readers can get more background information on the topic.
Make the text readable
In addition to ordering information in order of importance, make sure the text is easy to navigate. Most readers will scan the page very quickly with their eyes to find the specific item they are looking for and if they do not find it easily, they leave the page without trying to go further.
Some basic reminders
do not hesitate to use bulleted lists to ventilate your paragraphs. Do not be afraid of emptiness. Place spaces on your pages to separate texts, images. The Readers’ Attention will be much greater. The Titles and subtitles are necessary to structure your content. Titles and subtitles not only help your readers easily find the information they are looking for, but also help search engines index your content in the right way.
Sometimes, a photo, an infographic or a video is better than hundreds of words. Research shows that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and individuals capture visuals 60,000 times faster than text. An easy-to-read map or graph can also help you explain a more complicated idea or concept than text alone. If you are not a certified designer, there are many free and very intuitive tools that can help you achieve these different visuals easily. Canva or Piktochart are two of these tools.