Strong Starts, KISSing, and Break Ups: 7 Tips for Captivating Content

October 9, 2012
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Anna Furniss
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What does writing content for websites, social media and blogs have in common with your boyfriend or girlfriend? More than you might think… ROI DNA’s top writing tips will keep you, your readers, and possibly your significant other, “content,” informed and interested.

1. Start Strong.
Get engaged! Grab your readers’ attention and don’t let go. Begin with something interesting that makes them want to read more. An old English rule suggests starting essays with a question, definition, analogy or brief anecdote. Similarly, when writing for the web, your initial hook determines whether a viewer is going to keep reading your content or click on an advertisement for “Free Sporks.”

2. KISS – Keep It Short and Sweet.
KISS-ing helps both you and the recipient of your, ahem, content. Limiting articles to 400-600 words keeps verbosity in check and ensures that you’re delivering concise information to your readers. But KISS-ing can be difficult as some topics warrant more than 600 words. If you have more quality content, break it into multiple posts. If you engage people with the first post, you have another opportunity to inform while improving click rates and SEO with the second. Score!

3. Make a List.
People love lists. See, e.g. this blog post. Also see, 10 Commandments, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, etc. Packaging content into lists helps people visualize what you’re writing, as well as skim faster for interesting content. Numbered lists also help people know how much information they’re signing up before they click through. Which sounds more manageable? 6 Tips for Organizing Tupperware? Or, Tupperware: An Organizational Expose? (“Neither” is a perfectly acceptable answer for this one.)

4. Break It Up.
Effective titles and clear paragraph breaks go a long way to helping people get through your writing. With the national attention span dropping faster than a sack of frozen turkeys from an airplane, variation helps keep people’s attention and maintain interest (as do non-sequiturs).

5. Maintain Tone.
Just like working out in the gym, aim for consistent tone when exercising your writing muscles. Friendly, informative, interested, incendiary, motivational… whatever you choose, stay with it. You wouldn’t want one bicep bigger than the other, would you? Similarly, don’t start an article with a joke and end it with forecasts of the Apocalypse, or a recipe for lasagna (unless humor is one of the main ingredients).

6. Cut the Fat.
Be concise. Don’t include more language just for the sake of word count. If you can say something in 10 words, don’t say it in 30. Classic examples of useless phrases to avoid include, “In other words,” “That is to say,” and “Due to the fact that.”

7. Distribute & Diversify.
Spread interesting factoids, quotes and suggestions evenly throughout the article or entry. Just as a reader’s attention starts to lag, you can snap them back with a fun fact or tantalizing quote. Plus you can link to the snippet’s source and potentially improve click rates and SEO.

Bonus Tip: Finish Strong. A solid exit helps reinforce your message while giving your article additional structure.

Follow these tips and you’ll have tight, informative content to enlighten the masses, draw traffic to your website and improve your interpersonal relationships.

Disclaimer: ROI DNA makes no guarantees as to the reliability of any relationship information contained herein. But the content advice is great.

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