If you write online content, your end goal is to attract readers who will keep returning for your next post or article. Your thoughts, stories and ideas have the potential to reach a global audience, although the Internet holds plenty of competition for readership. To expand your audience beyond a small group of regular readers, you need to think beyond simply checking your writing for correct grammar. Some proven ways to accomplish this objective include writing attention-grabbing headlines, appealing to your audience’s emotions, creating content people want to share on social networks, and writing stories that your readers couldn’t find anywhere else on the web.
Learn to Write Great Headlines
According to journalism professionals, people read an eye-grabbing headline at least five times more often than they do the body of an article or blog post. One of the most common writer mistakes is to use the same formulaic headlines that appear on countless other blogs and websites. The overall impression to readers is that they’re less likely to learn anything new or compelling from a blog post or article with this headline. To break this habit and improve your headline writing skills, consider the following questions:
* What kinds of headlines make me stop and read them?
* How are they worded?
* What makes them different from other headlines?
* How can I learn from this writer’s word choices?
Web surfers can have notoriously short attention spans, and a headline they can’t ignore or click away from can be the key to making them new regular readers.
Write Topics That Trigger Emotions
Topics and stories that trigger readers’ emotions are the most likely to be bookmarked and shared with others. The best online content can incite awe, fear or humor to name just a few examples. Excellent writing also gets audience members to think and consider the views they held prior to reading your work. Even readers who may not agree with your ideas are a valuable part of your audience because your writing has brought out a reaction from them.
Understand the Power of Social Currency
“Social currency” refers to the likelihood of readers sharing your content on social media. Higher numbers of share or “likes” lend your work more credibility and tell potential new readers that your writing is worth their time. High social currency also improves your blog or website’s ranking in major search engines. Along with sharing and tweeting links to your newest post, encourage your readers to do the same if they find it has value.
Tell Concrete and Specific Stories
Online audience members love reading personal stories about solving a problem, formulating a new strategy or putting new information to practical use. These types of stories serve as concrete examples of why your readers should take your ideas seriously. As long as your examples fit with your main points and ideas, you can draw these types of stories from your personal or professional lives. Sharing these details also makes you more credible and noteworthy as a writer.
A final tip for growing your online readership: make your writing concise, straightforward and addressed directly to your audience. Imagine you’re telling a story, sharing a set of tips or explaining an idea to a friend. Also write in your own voice rather than trying to imitate what’s already posted on other sites. People respond positively to writing that speaks to them in this direct manner, and they naturally want to share this type of content with others because doing so presents them in a positive light as well.