How to Create Online Content Worth Reading

January 24th, 2011 by Allison Yagesh

Writing online content is different from print because online audiences typically have shorter attention spans—an infinite amount of possibilities are just one click away. Here are five tips to keep their attention:

1. Establish a Goal and Achieve It

Every word on the page should have a purpose. Whether you are selling a product or service or you are trying to educate the audience, be sure to clearly establish your content goals before writing. This will give your content direction and clarity.

2. Answer Questions

To achieve content goals, you need to answer vital questions to give the audience a reason to pay attention. Anticipate questions or stick to the basics by answering a few news-style questions: who, what, where, when, why and how.

3. Eliminate the Unnecessary

Online audiences have notoriously short attention spans. Get to the point quickly and cut unnecessary filler words and phrases. Get rid of anything that adds length but lacks value. Front-load content so the reader will get the most important information in the beginning and have a reason to keep reading.

4. Stay Organized

Each paragraph should have a specific focus. Cater to readers who skim and add subheads to clarify each paragraph’s purpose. Keep paragraphs short and present bulleted lists when appropriate.

5. Personalize It

Know your audience and customize content to address their needs. Write with a friendly tone (depending on the formality of the subject matter) to create an authentic experience for the reader. Provide informative tidbits that will encourage sharing. Overall, make sure that your content is relevant to your audience.


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