Be kind to the people who read what you write.
Remember, they have options besides you.
They’re the ones who may end up supporting your business. I know it seems obvious, but it’s a point that’s easy to lose track of.
It’s a little bit like the Zoolander quote:
“How can we teach kids to read, if they can’t fit in the building?”
Except maybe we look at it this way:
“How can we turn readers into customers if you’re copy’s too hard to finish?”
We need to be nice to our readers. Treat them kindly and make things easy for them, if we want them to actually, you know, buy stuff. That’s the goal. We know that our content needs to be exciting and engaging, but there are some practical matters to take care of first.
Here are five tips for producing content that your readers will love:
- Don’t intimidate them. They want to read a blog post that looks interesting, not read War and Peace. So enter, say what you have to say, and get out. No more, no less. If we’re talking blog posts, anywhere between 300 and 600 words will do, usually. If it’s designed to be an “epic” post, maybe a little more than 600, but it better be interesting at that point, or readers fade. If we’re talking page content, 300 words will do just fine. Stick to the subject and don’t waste their time. They’ll remember you for that.
- Be friendly and break things down. People like lists. There’s a better take away, and the content becomes far more manageable. So instead of muddling things up in a paragraph form, give them your five industry tips, reasons, or ways to do something in list form. You can use subheads to break things down a little further. Bolded words stress importance.
- Don’t go keyword crazy. That’s right, don’t do it. When you use keywords in places that pronouns typically do, your intentions become transparent. Once or twice in a document is typically just fine. Google needs to know what you’re talking about, but doesn’t need to be bludgeoned over the head with a sledgehammer. Remember, you’re trying to please the search engines, not game them. Unless you’re lucky enough to count Google as a client, it’s people who will buy your stuff anyway.
- Remember, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m reading your blog to learn. So educate me, but don’t inundate me with geek speak. I don’t know about all the specs for your products and acronyms that your industry swears by. If you need to use an industry phrase, then define it. Bring it down to the level of the potential customer.
- Edit your work. Make sure that your work is looking tip-top before you hit publish. I know that publish button looks mighty enticing, but be thorough before you get there. If you need an extra set of eyes, then have someone look at your work. Don’t let glaring typos or grammatical mishaps slip through the cracks because you’re in a hurry to put the word out.