Content Marketing: How to Write Content That People Will Actually Read

How to Write Content That People Will Actually Read
Your content should look as pretty as it sounds

Back in the day, people spent hours over the evening paper; they read magazines cover to cover, no matter how long the article. But these days, attention spans are shorter. People like to engage in many things at once, get more done when they can, and for better or worse, it’s changed not only what people read, but how they read it. It also relates to having a business online; people want an easy to read, easy to navigate site to purchase from.

One of the tricks to being a successful writer/business owner is to write content that people not only want to read, but that they actually will read.

How Do You Do This?

How many times have you found an intriguing article online only to mark it to come back to and read later? But you never did. For whatever reason, you didn’t read it when you found it, and you never revisited it. Maybe it was too long, or too busy-looking, or you just didn’t have time. Or maybe you’re looking to buy something but the website just didn’t meet your needs or got too cumbersome, so you looked somewhere else. What can you do in your content writing to avoid these issues?

  • Use bullet points. Bullet points make things “friendlier.” For the skimmers and browsers, it makes content easier to read. For the scrutinizers, it affords them more time to do so.

  • Use boldface. Boldface makes things stand out. Again, a very useful tool in content writing and delivery as it not only works great for the skimmer, but it also adds diversity to the visual appeal of your writing. It can make product names stand out, as well.

  • Add some white space. A page full of type can be a big turn-off, even to the most pensive of us. If you include some white space in your content to break up the text, it makes your reading more inviting, less intimidating. Many people also like headings so they can jump around to relevant parts of the content.

  • Add photos. A picture ties a visual aid to the content and allows the reader more of a connection. Add a caption if you want; it is a way to incorporate more text in an easy-to-read format. If your website is for your business/product, your customers will want to see what they are buying.
How to Write Content That People Will Actually Read
Too much text is overwhelming

  • Keep it relevant. Perhaps if this article dove into the subject of elephants right now, you’d stop reading. You weren’t interested in elephants to begin with, at least not at the moment, so the content needs to stay on subject. If you’re writing about elephants, write about elephants. If you’re writing about writing, keep the elephants out of it.
  • This goes for creating your website as well. You want to remember where the customers are in the buying process and make sure the information meets their needs at that time. Help them work their way into it with things like FAQ, About Us, and Product Information pages. An easy-to-navigate site makes it all the better – readers/customers can easily get to the information they want at the time.
  • On your site, keep the information geared to the page. For instance, on a page that is providing descriptions or reviews of your product, stay away from details about what the payment options are. Save that for the Checkout page, where you can list things like “accepts credit cards online” and shipping costs along with any other relevant payment policies.

  • Remember for whom you are writing. Your audience plays a giant part in how you should write your content. Think about purpose, audience, and venue, and keep your writing geared towards those things.
  • Try to address your audience’s needs depending on the stage of their buying process or any other details that may make your piece more appealing to them. Otherwise, you could lose your audience or customer before you even gain them (this relates to relevancy above). You don’t want to give information that will overwhelm them too soon.
  • When creating your website, keep the pages geared towards who is looking at them. For instance, your About Us page should contain language that meets a consumer’s needs who is just researching a company—tell about your company, background and philosophy. Put the information about purchasing your product on another page so the consumer can get to that when she is ready.

How to Write Content That People Will Actually Read
It’s not just what you write, but how you write it

It works!

See – you got to the end of this piece. Incorporate the above tools into your writing and your website and people will read your content and hopefully buy your product. It’s not just about the words you write, but how it looks and where you put them, too. Best of luck!

Heather Legg is a writer who blogs about small business, writing techniques, and gutter guards..

13 comments On Content Marketing: How to Write Content That People Will Actually Read

  • Hello Adrian
    It occurs to me that one can be successful without following the rules that you have set out. It occurs to me that if just about everyone is following the rules then the strategic act is not to follow the rules.

    In my own blogging, it occurs to me that I do not follow rules. I simply write that which shows up for me as worth writing. And I simply let it flow. Being totally straight, I let go of any concerns about the audience, their needs, the brand, the brand values. Yet, I do write from the context of being of service in that which I write, and of contributing to the wisdom of the crowd by not blindly following the crowd, by giving voice to my authentic voice. Which is often not in accord with the crowd. And in not chasing a following, a following has showed up!

    I wonder what that discloses about the world.


    • I think both Maz and Heather are right.

      On the one hand I did read to the end of the article, and there is nothing more off putting than a page of densely packed text.

      On the other hand there is nothing to beat a little personality in your writing. Presentation alone doesn’t really cut it.

      Maybe there is a middle ground?


      • Hi Maz, James,
        I think you both make very good points.

        The way that I see this article is one of a starting point, the ABCs etc.

        But, I know from my own experience of reading and writing that writing from my own perspective, in my own voice, from my own heart with my readers in mind is the best way to go and the best way to connect.

        However, to write in one’s own voice can be hard especially if someone is not used to writing and expressing themselves in this way. So, I think there is, perhaps, a useful process here. A process that is a bit like painting, where, first we learn the techniques of painting and through that we can build our confidence and experience and discover our own ‘voice’.

        What do you think?


        • Hello Adrian
          I say that the situation is the opposite of what you say it is. What do I mean? I mean that first just write that which shows up for you without awareness/consideration of rules. Just write for the joy of writing – of putting to paper that which wants to be expressed on paper.

          As you write, enjoy writing, continue to write then you will of your own accord experiment in your writing. That is just what is so – we are creative and we like to tinker. And through tinkering you are likely to try out stuff. Some form of tinkering will work better than you expected and you will keep them. Others you will let go.

          And I am clear a point will come when you show up for yourself as a writer. At this point you may just get interested in writing techniques to add polish to your writing.

          The approach you advocate and which is practiced in the over regulated, highly constricted, non-spontaneous, non-creative anglo-saxon societies kills writing. It kills self-expression full stop! Think of the child that speaks, does she learn to talk by learning the rules of grammar? No. Now imagine if that child had to learn the rules of grammar to speak. I suspect few children would ever speak for the fear of getting it wrong.


          • Hi Maz,
            I couldn’t agree with you more on the approach that you advocate: learn by doing and discovery.

            I wish that more people had the courage to do that. But, the fact is that courage for many people is in short supply and they need/want ‘stabilisers’ to help them get started….a bit like when learning to ride a bike.

            Here’s to encouraging people to be more courageous and to a greater number of courageous people.


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