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How to Write Copy that People Will Actually Want to Read

We know content is king, but how can you ensure your content reigns supreme with the ever shortening consumer attention span? Knowing how people read online is key in getting your readers past the headline. 

We’ll keep this short because statistically speaking, we know you won’t stick around for too long. That’s the reality of digital content; most of your readers will skim your copy, and less than 10% will read to the very end. But not to fear! We’ve jotted down some simple techniques to help improve your online content.

While there is a certain level of intimacy between a reader and a paper book, most of this intimacy is lost online. Your audience is skimming your work at a rate of 100 words every 4.4 seconds. But that’s ok, we can work with that!

While a clean design will make your website easier to use, it’s the copy that sells.

Relevance: is what you’re writing relevant and useful to your audience? Are you creating content that your audience will value? Is it enjoyable to read?

Succinct: it is easy to overcomplicate things. Keep it simple and manageable. Make it easy for your readers to find what they’re looking for.

Action: does your copy have a call to action? Your readers are there to gain something; a link to a recipe, download a pdf, sign up to an e-newsletter etc. Does your copy help them achieve this goal? Is it functional?

Readability: ensure you have a clean design that ensures readability. Is it visually appealing? Does your content suit that platform it’s being displayed on? Is it written in an appropriate voice/ tone?

Refine: rest, review and edit. Repeat as often as necessary.

After you have perfected your copy and ensured its audience and brand appropriate, it’s time to consider how you display it online. You may have recently read that Facebook is prioritising video over the written word. This means you need to work harder to make your online copy attractive and easy to digest. Punctuate your text with images, pull quotes, graphs, audio, gifs, video interactive elements… anything to hold attention and increase sharability.

Correctly formatting your copy will make your content more appealing and enjoyable. The human attention span is fleetingly short. Avoid monolithic slabs of text and embrace the enter key. In the digital world, ‘scannability’ and engagement are key.

Consider your typeface, colour, and typographical emphasis. Exaggerate words or phrases within your copy through flirting with bold, italics or underlining. Note we say ‘flirt’. Don’t fall too hard and fast for these techniques as it quickly becomes distracting and overwhelming.

Finding relevance amidst the flurry of tweets, snaps, stories, updates and posts is a challenge. We are here to help. Flick us an email at @$ed#g*hello@thenittygritty.com.au@$ed#g* to start the conversation.