STOP! Attention-grabbing writing – made easy

There are so many words in the world – with more ways to read them than ever before.  Every day, these words try their best to grab your attention.  Those endless e-mail newsletters.  Targeted social media ads.  Creased-up leaflets pushed daily through your letterbox (so many greasy takeaway options, right around the corner!)

So it naturally follows that people are more discerning than they’ve ever been when it comes to choosing exactly what they want to spend their precious time reading.  Bad news if you’ve got something you really want to shout about.  How can you make sure you’ll be heard above all the racket?

Luckily, there are some surefire methods you can use to get – and keep – your readers hooked from Word One, and I’m going to tell you about them right now!

- Rule Number One – the golden rule, in fact, is to know your audience.  Trying to be all things to everyone will make your words bland, and bland doesn’t get much attention.  Take some time to understand who you're writing for, and what they want.

Let’s say you’ve written a blog post all about dating tips specifically for women.   There are lots of similar posts on this topic out there already, so how could you get potential readers to notice yours? 

You could try ‘Ten Great Dating Tips for Women’ – that does the job in telling us what you’ve written and who should be reading.  But it’s a bit plain, isn’t it?  How about something a bit more fun and persuasive, such as: ‘Brad Pitt’s single.  Be quick – read on for ten opportunity-grabbing dating tips!’

Keep your paragraphs short and snappy.  Everybody’s busy, so a lot of people will skim-read content first, to check whether it’s worth any more of their time.  If the first glance reveals swathes of long and unbroken pieces of writing, chances are they’ll move straight on to something else.

Breaking your text up into short paragraphs will make it look reader-friendly from the very first glance – meaning people will be far more likely to stick with it.

- Deliver on your headline.  It might seem obvious, but if you’ve promised your readers ‘ten opportunity-grabbing dating tips’, don’t let them down!  Make sure every last one of your tips is relevant for your chosen audience.

- Really connecting with your readers happens when you tell them a story they can relate to, so don’t be afraid to make it personal. 

If you can weave some of your own dating experiences in amongst your tips (like that time when you went for a candlelit meal and set fire to your hair, later emerging from the loo with your skirt tucked in your pants) people will feel that they’re reading words written by a real person, and they’ll naturally engage with you.

Streamline your writing, so your readers’ eyes will glide smoothly over your words.  Spelling mistakes, over-run sentences and jargon are the wordy equivalents of a stuck record, creating jagged interruptions in your readers’ minds.  Once they’ve been interrupted, they probably won’t return.

- Make sure there’s a call to action at the end.  What do you want your readers to do once they’ve read your opportunity-grabbing dating tips?  Read another post? Comment or ask a question?  Buy something? 

Make it easy for your readers to do what you want them to do…by telling them what to do and how to do it.

(And on that note, here’s my very own call to action (ahem) – get in contact if you’d like me to work on some attention-grabbing words, just for you!)