Writing well is always a tough endeavor, but it’s even more difficult when you’re tasked with writing about a subject that doesn’t automatically excite your readers. Finding the right angle for such a topic is important because it encourages larger readership and social engagement.
Try the following tips the next time you find yourself falling asleep at the keyboard.
Tell a story
Your topic may be dry, but your writing doesn’t have to be. Including a reference to pop culture, true events, or personal experience provokes a stronger, more emotional connection to readers.
Science proves that people have more intense reactions to storytelling. An individual’s sensory and olfactory cortexes activate when they read language associated with scent and texture. Additionally, York University psychologist Raymond Mar discovered that brain scans showed similarities between the networks used to understand stories and networks used to engage with other people.
In simple terms: scientific studies prove the emotional, visceral link between storytelling and human connection. This positive brain activity supports the benefits of including a story in your writing.
Use a photo or graphic
Implementing graphics, such as photos, videos, infographics, or screenshots, further encourages engagement from your audience. Studies have shown that readers respond more positively to posts that include photos. A 2013 study by Optimind Technology discovered that articles with pictures receive 94 percent more views than those without photos.
Additionally, readers respond positively to articles with periodic photos to break up blocks of text. A 2015 survey conducted by BuzzSumo found that posts with a photo implemented every 75-100 words get twice the shares in comparison to those with fewer photos. Finding appropriate photos to implement between your paragraphs can lead to more interesting content that gets shared more often.
Edit thoroughly for mistakes
Editing is naturally an important and necessary step to take in any piece. Mistake-free writing provides a smoother read. On the other hand, mistake-ridden work distracts the reader and easily pulls their focus from being absorbed in the writing. To optimize your chances of engaging your audience, edit and proofread on multiple occasions and with a few different strategies.
For specific approaches and tips on proofreading, check out this article from fellow Media Bullseye contributor Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips, who wrote a how to on editing and proofing.
Give it a good title
I’m not suggesting a clickbait-y title- I think we’re all getting sick of those “you won’t believe what happens next” links on social media. Writing a catchy title does have value, however. Whether it appears in email, on social media, or search engines, readers typically see titles before any other part of your article. A good title engages readers from the first glance and encourages them to read the contents, but there are several aspects to consider when drafting one, such as the length, specificity, and syntax.
In particular, length plays an important role in stimulating engagement. According to HubSpot, posts with 8-12 word headlines receive the most shares on Twitter, while titles with 12 or 14 words garnered the most Facebook likes.
Writing can be a frustrating, laborious process, especially when you can’t find the right approach to engage your readers, but including a story, implementing photos, editing thoroughly, and crafting a good title can encourage interest and social engagement from your readers.