Google a topic or a keyword. The first thing that grabs your attention is a relevant title or headline. It can’t be argued that the first thing that hooks you into a write-up is the title. But beyond that, a great title isn’t an automatic ticket to making your readers like your content.
Surely, an eye-catching title will make them pause, think, and even want more, but once you’ve piqued their interest, it’s left to your content to keep them to stay. It is always infuriating when you find a captivating headline/title, and a few seconds into reading the write-up, you can tell that it’s not worth your time and the title was only a clickbait.
At times, it is not a result of your content but your craftsmanship. Having a great story to tell is not all there is to writing. You need to master the art of craftsmanship, and that entails using various techniques to urge your readers to read on—that’s where the real work is! For your writing to be effective, it needs to have these two elements:
- The first is the attention-grabbing factor. You need to make your readers feel that your write-up is worth their time and effort.
- The other factor is to sustain and eventually meet up their expectations. You need to make your content truly worth the read.
No one will pick up an article or story to read if there is no element of interest. The first factor is crucial because no matter how good your content is, it won’t be read if it doesn’t pique interest. You can’t simply say, ‘this is why you should read my book’. Let your title, paragraphs, and chapters do the explanation by being convincing enough to get your readers to read the very last word in your book.
In this article, we’ll dwell more on what comes after a great title and how you can make sure your readers stick around till the very end of your writing.
- Pay utmost attention to your introductory sentence: Like your title, an opening or introductory sentence performs a similar function. If your title sparked their interest, your opening sentence should continue the work. One of the ways to create a good opening sentence is to use the question technique.
Questions propel you to seek answers; it creates curiosity in a reader. When you ask a question, they either know the answer or don’t.
If they do, they will likely want to ascertain the answer to ensure it hasn’t changed. If it’s a rhetorical question, the personal element embedded in it will awaken their curiosity. Readers who are uncertain about the answer will seek out answers in your text and will be motivated to read further.
Here is a good example:
Did you know tomatoes are fruits but are considered vegetables by a nutritionist?
- Make your argument clear: With a good introduction, the body of your write-up should corroborate your opening sentences. Articulate and express your viewpoint with clear-cut words. You don’t want to sound uncertain or confused to your readers. Build your points logically, and let your readers see and feel what you are trying to convey without stress. Learn to simplify your ideas and break complex words into simpler words. Professionalism isn’t in the big grammar you write but in how your words can be easily interpreted and understood. Don’t be blinded by the complexity of your words. The simpler your readers comprehend, the better it is.
- Use short sentences and paragraphs: Long sentences or paragraphs are difficult to comprehend easily. Having too many words and ideas embedded in one sentence or paragraph can be an overload. Think of it this way: you are trying to listen to a friend that talks too fast without catching his breath; how long can you enjoy such a conversation? The truth is, you would likely miss some information that he’d say.
That’s the same effect lengthy sentences and paragraphs have on your readers. They may pick up your article and get overwhelmed, which can be mentally tiring. If your paragraphs are short, simple, and concise, the write-up will be more appealing and encouraging to read.
- Incorporate storytelling: Storytelling is one brilliant writing technique that can never lose its touch. Once you start narrating a compelling story that has interested your reader, they will want to see how it ends. Even if you don’t like reading lengthy stories, once you start an interesting one, you won’t remember the length till you’ve gotten to the end. For your non-fiction writings, you can fictionalise a relatable story or ride on people’s experiences to drive home your point through storytelling.
- Avoid using word fillers: Writers often fall into this trap when trying to meet a specific word count. If you communicate your points strongly enough, there will be no need for word fillers. Words like really, okay, right, very, well, actually, basically, etc., can be avoided. However, there may be times when you will need to use them in your writing but use them sparingly. Over-flogging an article with these words shows your uncertainty and lack of depth which readers can easily sense.
Above all, ensure your words, sentences, and paragraphs evoke emotions. Whether it makes them cry, laugh, happy, or sad, just make sure it creates a feeling. Implement this in your writing, and your audience will keep getting hangovers.
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