Writing Tips: How to Get Your Audience to Read Any Kind of Text – Long or Short

I recently wrote a Facebook ad for a client. She seemed happy with it; she liked the attractive visuals and the catchy title. Still, I sensed she was holding something back.

“Shall we go ahead with it?” I nudged.

She paused, head tilted. And the replied:

“Isn’t the text too long? I don’t think people will read it. Let’s shorten it.”

She was right, the advert had more words than one would expect. But, I didn’t write a single sentence that a potential buyer would find extra.

“I think you find it long because you’re not interested in buying this. You’re not a potential customer. So you wouldn’t be bothered to read it.”

She nodded.

“But there’s somebody out there, looking for what we’re advertising, and when they come across the advert, if they’re interested, they will read it all. And if it checks all the boxes, they will buy. If not, they will carry on searching.”

She nodded again.

If people are interested in the topic, they’ll read your text

This is a fact. If you’re not interested in plants or gardening, you probably wouldn’t bother reading an article about the benefits that certain indoor plants can bring to your home.

It’s like going through a newspaper. We read the headlines, and then, we will only stop to read the articles of our interest.

And what’s interesting for me, is very different from what’s interesting for you. This is something that, unfortunately, many people forget when they are trying to communicate something through written words.

Remember: always, always, always keep in mind who you are writing for, how they think, what their problems are, what they want or need, etc. Forget about yourself, and what you would write if you were the reader, and focus on the person who will read it.

And this advice applies to any piece of copy you create: Emails, blog articles, video scripts, social media posts, you name it.

But make your copy inviting

Now, let’s be clear: just because the topic is interesting for your audience, doesn’t mean they will read it. Far from it. You have to make the reading of your social media post, newsletter/email/Whatsapp message or blog post a pleasurable experience, both for the eyes (appearance) and the brain (language).

And to achieve this, the first thing you should do is forget most of the rules about writing you learned at school.

Short and helpful writing tips to make your texts more attractive:

Writing tips

Writing tip 1: Don’t BORE your readers.

  • Go straight to the point.
  • Make sure you say everything you wanted to say.
  • Don’t explain things when you don’t have to.
  • Avoid repeating the same idea over and over again.
  • Be specific when explaining matters. Avoid words like “do” or “thing”.
  • Make sure the title will make your readers continue reading the rest of the copy. Make it enticing by adding some curiousity.
  • Write in a conversational way, imagine the reader is right in front of you and you are talking to him or her. (Again, forget what you learned at school)
  • Know when it’s time to stop writing and wrap up your text.
Writing tips

Writing tip 2: Make them UNDERSTAND what you are trying to say as quickly as possible.

  • You are not writing to impress your readers with your knowledge on the subject or your writing skills (they don’t care about that). You’re writing to get your point across.
  • Use simple language. But this doesn’t mean you have to write like a 10-year-old.
  • Avoid jargon. Don’t take for granted that because you know something, your readers also will.
  • If you are writing about a difficult subject, do it in a way that even your grandma would understand it.
  • But don’t treat your readers as if they were intellectually disabled.
  • Use metaphors and comparisons.
  • Use as many examples as you need.
  • Use short sentences, because your readers need to breathe.
  • If you can use less words to say what you’re intending to say, then do it.

Writing tip 3: Make the copy nice and ENJOYABLE.

  • Spice up your text with a few meaningful anecdotes. We all love listening to stories.
  • Nobody likes clichés and trite expressions. Avoid them like the plague.
  • When it’s appropriate, use some humour, your readers will appreciate that you made them smile.
  • Be friendly. But not overly friendly.
  • Avoid slang, unless it’s justified.
  • Be yourself.
  • Keep your style consistent throughout the text.
  • And yes, correct grammar, punctuation and spelling are important. They make you look like a decent and trustworthy person.
On the left, text without format. On the right, text with sturcture.

Writing tip 4: Make the copy VISUALLY ATTRACTIVE and easy to scan, because long texts are daunting.

As readers, first we scan to see if the copy is really what we were looking for, and then we read to get all the details. A big block of text can put off even the most avid reader.

  • Write short paragraphs.
  • Use bullet points every time you need to make a list.
  • Use bold letters to highlight important concepts within a paragraph and to allow diagonal reading.
  • Use subheadings to break the article into subsections and let readers know at a glance what the whole text is about.
  • Would an image or an infographic explain your idea better than a 3-paragraph text? If the answer is yes, then use it.

The article that you’ve just read is a clear example of the tips I shared with you. So if you’ve reached this far, I recommend you read it again and see how I applied all this tips.

I hope you found this helpful 😊

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to improve your writing, I recommend the book “100 Ways to Improve your Writing,” by Gary Provost.

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