Do you LOL and ROFL; perhaps you often exclaim OMG, or on particularly bad day are you driven to declare...WTF?
Well here is a new acronym to add to your dictionary...TLDR. which according to Copyblogger stands for "Too Long Didn't Read." Its excellent post lays out a prescription for writing content that's designed for the web.
Web usability research has shown that almost 80% of web users scan what they are reading.
B2B Marketers need to take a scalpel to their content and adapt their style of writing and layout to convert those scanners into readers!
Here's 7 ways to optimise your content for maximum readability.
1. White space is your friend
Avoid the tendency to jam your words of wisdom into long dense passages of text. Use white space. Leave room for your words to breathe. Use a larger font. Feature one idea per paragraph, 3 or 4 sentences maximum per paragraph.
And try writing some paragraphs with one sentence only.
2. Use the mini headline
By breaking your text up with subheadings, you are telling your story in shorthand and leading the reader through your argument.
In the same way you should spend time crafting a compelling title, so you should spend time on your sub headings. Try and be engaging and intriguing and avoid hype, a title exhorting your audience to "Leverage your core competencies to produce best practice solutions" will likely bring them out in a nasty allergic rash!
Coming up with your sub headings before you start writing is a good discipline that instills structure to your words.Is there a compelling story? Do your subheads tell the gist of your information?
3. Use deep captions.
With most people using the email preview pane and viewing meta descriptions on Google searches "deep captions" are two to three lines long and can be seen as an extension to the heading. Make sure they sufficiently intrigue your scanner to dig into your whole article.
4. Add highly relevant links
Internal links back to your own resources, will keep people on your site and reading your best material.
External links demonstrate that you’ve researched the topic and want to highlight other experts.
Good content uses both to expand your reader’s understanding and add value.
5. Use bulleted lists
- They are a well recognised technique in business to present information.
- They are easily scannable.
- Its a great way to present multiple points.
- They provide a visual break from the rest of your text.
6. Use formatting to enhance your story logic
Bold important concepts. Your reader should be able to scan through your subheadings and bolded text and get the gist of your story.
But don’t overdo it, (which would have the same effect as highlighting nothing).
7. Harness the power of numbers
People love lists and groupings. The top 10 things...The 3 steps to...This is grist to the scanner's mill. Breaking down complex subjects into bit sized lists.
Whilst we are on the subject of numbers. Combining numbers with pictures in the form of graphs, pie charts and percentages are great ways to convince readers of your argument.
...and a last bonus tip
Once you’ve used subheads, numbers, bulleted lists and other formatting to highlight the key elements of your post, read through it again — looking only at the text to which you’ve called special attention.
Does the reader get the gist? Have you pulled out the most interesting and relevant words, the words that will pull your scanner in and turn them into a reader?
Attractive, compelling content that converts the casual scanner to a commited reader and on to become an engaged lead is the secret to modern B2B marketing. We have written a free eBook on content marketing. please feel free to download it.