One of the reasons I loved writing broadcast news was its simplicity.
The stories I put on TV were a max length of 1:30. The radio newscasts I wrote were no longer than 1:00.
Even at these short lengths, the battle for attention is hard fought.
How can you compete with your writing?
Your Readers DON’T WANT 3 Paragraphs of Context
Get to the point. People don’t want or need three long paragraphs of context to kick off your article. If they didn’t already have some idea of what it’s about, they wouldn’t have clicked in the first place. If we don’t know what it’s about, the SERP will tell us without a single click.
- Link to another page of content on your site that explains it. You need a pillar page setup anyway for SEO.
- Add a “click to open” box of content for those who want it. This is also cleaner for most of us who want to skip it.
- Put context at the end by linking to a “more” or “previous” content.
- Or, create a graphic that gives context in one short sentence to make a visual sidebar. Bonus points if it’s an infographic.
If you write a book upfront, most of us will bounce.
Get To The Point Faster
I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve given up on because I’ve scrolled several paragraphs down and still can’t find a fact the headline talked about.
Misleading headlines make you lose trust. Headlines that require the reader to do work will also get you thrown into the mental “meh” pile. You have to remember (or maybe accept) that readers skim now.
Don’t hook me without delivering quickly. I will hate you and never come back for that. Getting to the point faster builds trust.