NEWS FLASH!! Mild-mannered blogger devises brilliant plan to draw customers in, and leave them wanting more…
Suspense! It’s one of the keys to a great article. Today’s readers have a very short attention span and will spend less than 30 seconds reading your article before they decide to stick with it, or go see what Paris, Britney, and Tiger are up to. You have to grab them in that 30 seconds and leave them wanting more. Admit it. I gotcha didn’t I? Now that you’re here, I want to help you write a great article for your site. These are the skills that pay the bills, the keys that meet your needs. You too can be a great writer. I’m going to show you how.
Plant the Seed
No one wants to miss out on something great, or new, or exciting. It’s why there is such a fascination with the lives of celebrities and why every hack and their cousin has started a gossip site. Your readers want you to enthrall them. Remember, you only get 30 seconds to do that. So the headline of your article and the first few sentences MUST grab the attention of your reader. Had I titled this article “The Keys to Writing a Great Article” some of you would have glazed over it. But you didn’t. You urgently wanted to see what I had to say. You too must make your readers excited to see what else your article has to say. You will want to let them know what you will be sharing with them as they continue through the article. Once you have drawn them in, here is how you keep them reading.
The Pyramid of Relevance
Imagine you went to Taco Bell in Washington D.C. and ran into President Obama. When you recount this story to your best friend, would you start it like this, “So dude, I woke up this morning and I was really thinking about where I would go for lunch then I took a shower, got dressed, and jumped in the car, then I went to Taco Bell, and President Obama was there!” You might start that way, if you wanted your friend to fall asleep. More likely you would say “OMG, you are not going to believe it! I was at Taco Bell today and ran into President Obama!! Isn’t that crazy?” You would of course put the most important details first. You want to write articles for your site the same way. Always put the most important stuff at the beginning, then the next important, etc. In journalistic jargon, it is referred to as the IPS or Inverted Pyramid Style. Simply put, the important stuff goes on top, and the rest falls below that. This guarantees that those with short attention spans still get the gist of what you are trying to say to them. But the devil my friends, is in the details.
What’s in a Word?
The words you choose are of vital importance. How many of you can recount large chunks or even entire books of Dr. Seuss? Most of us can. He knew what words to use and how to arrange them so that they would stick in our memories forever. A great article does the same thing. Here is what you need:
- Active verbs-These let you convey the passion and fire in your heart to your reader about a subject.
- Your words-Many people return to read a blog because they feel connected to the writer and enjoy his or her style. My favorite writers convey the same personality in their writing as they do when they talk.
- Quotes-If you include some quotes from other great minds in your article, your article will have a ring of familiarity to it for your readers. Often times others have said things much better than we can say them ourselves. Be sure to give credit where credit is due.
- A good vocabulary-The difference between a good writer and great writer is his ability to use relevant, timely, exciting, words to capture the attention and imagination of his readers.
So, be your name Bixby, or Buxbaum, or Bay, or Mordechai Alli Van Allen O’Shea, it’s time to get started, so be on your way, go forth and write a great article…TODAY! (Thank you Doctor Seuss)