As a speaker, author or an expert you probably create written content for the web. However, a few of us realize that writing for web-based courses is DIFFERENT than traditional writing.
You need to understand the psychology of online readers and adjust your writing accordingly.
This post provides you with practical strategies on how to create online content that gets read. It is based on eye movement and other research in psychology and distance learning.
In order to create content that “sticks,” you need to utilize these 7 strategies:
1. Make it positive
This statement seems counter-intuitive since we’re used to seeing negative news everywhere. Negativity does attract attention. However, research shows that it does not sustain attention as long as positive messages. So, make your content uplifting.
2. Make it emotional
Content that arouses strong emotions (positive or negative) gets more attention that content without emotions. When you write a post, think of how you can provoke fascination, anger, anxiety, awe, etc. in your readers and you will get their attention!
3. Break it into small chunks
How much do people read online? They don’t! Or they almost don’t… Research shows that people read less than 20% (!) of all written materials online. I know, this sounds harsh. So how can you ensure that the most important information gets noticed?
Start with the most important things first. Break your longer paragraphs into smaller chunks. (I know this goes against your academic upbringing, but wouldn’t you rather your content be remembered?)
4. Use your titles and subtitles wisely
Research shows that readers pay attention to the first 11 characters of your title and make a decision whether to continue reading your post or not. Make sure your titles contain the most important information, allowing readers to predict what the article/content is going to provide… and of course, make these titles and headlines intriguing so they read it.
5. Create an illusion of simplicity.
Research shows that readers believe that it takes them longer
to read wide lines of text. In reality, however, they read wide lines of text faster than the short ones.
In order to create the illusion of simplicity while accounting for the actual reading speed, start your articles with narrow lines (you can include a picture either on the right or the left of your text, or insert a drop cap). After 4-5 short lines, make your text gradually wider. Just as in this example.
6. Create content that is practical and useful.
Make sure that you can identify the goals of your article or your post in simple sentences. Provide your readers with the outcomes of your content right away so they can look forward to reading the entire story and so they feel that it is worth their time.
7. Utilize lists and bullets for main points of your article.
Research shows that compared to the rest of the content, lists are almost always read in full. Use this knowledge to highlight most crucial information that you want your students and trainees to remember.
If you use just these 7 strategies your content will get much more attention online!