5 definitive hacks to produce content that keeps your readers hookedSanjana Ray
Producing content in the limitless digital world can be a tricky endeavour. The online reader has only so much time on their hands to dedicate to a single source of content. They choose to follow sites that they believe produce significant and, more importantly, relevant material that can add to value their everyday lives.
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In the past few years, online content has taken a shift from strictly news reports to more feature-based pieces. Articles that have keywords like ‘survival strategies’, ‘solution-based problems’, and ‘signs that you’ are natural crowd-pullers because readers prefer reading content that they believe has been designed for them.
On that note, here are a few tricks to writing content that will ensure your readers stay with you right from your first sentence to your last:
Write for your target audience
As a writer, it can be difficult to gauge which kind of audience will be the most responsive to your content. Consequently, you may feel that making your content more inclusive, generic, and wide-ranging may increase its success rate among different kinds of readers. However, it is a known fact that the articles which are tailor-made for certain audiences will almost always do better than the ones that are left wide open for all. For instance, a ‘Struggles that every 20 something can relate to’ will do better on the charts than ‘Problems faced by professionals on an everyday basis’. So don’t worry about restricting your reach by catering to a select group of readers. Chances are that this will be your saving grace.
Readers love seeking solutions to their problems online. This is why the minute you google the word ‘how’, suggestions like ‘how do I use Paytm’, ‘how to kiss properly’, or ‘how to know who’s read my message in a group chat’ are the first among the list to appear because readers turn to Google for an answer. Hence, articles that discuss solutions-based problems are definite crowd-pullers. For instance, articles like ‘Ways in which you can do up your living room within Rs 500’ or ‘How to use netbanking for the right reasons’ will definitely bring in the numbers, especially the latter in the wake of demonetisation.
Work on your one-liner chain
Sometimes the first part of your article may be invigorating and extremely fast, but may start to lag further on. In these instances, you have to make sure that the reader doesn’t lose interest and abandon your post altogether. Here is where you need to introduce important one-liner chains, where at the end of a paragraph you can add a ‘This is how’ or ‘Let me explain’ or ‘Read on to know how’.
Conclude with a question
More often than not, content that promotes interaction will always do better than that which only reports a story. It is always advisable to put in a question at the end of the piece – something along the lines of ‘Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!’ This will increase the success-rate of your article because people begin to interact with the writer and each other through the comments section or otherwise.
Terms like ‘catered to hundreds of people’ or ‘dozens were affected by the news’ indicate lazy writing. People want specifics. If 23 households were affected by the floods, then give the number. If you’re doing a write-up on the hottest real estate in town, then give your readers exact numbers, like 1500 sq. feet. Or, if you’re writing about the iPhone 7, then mention that the pixels are 750x1334 pixels. Give your readers the right numbers and they’ll come back to you for accuracy and details.
While these are only a few of the many tips that content honchos can offer to you for a price (or not), they are tried and tested pinnacles to creating content that will never be passed-over. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!