5 Helpful Tips To Keep Your Readers Engaged

As we’ve entered into a whole new era of fast and accessible information, the media platforms we use to consume news have been inundated with a ton of articles. Literally thousands a day. It’s gotten to the point where we couldn’t even keep up with the flood of information hitting our doorstep if we sat glued to our chair and spent every waking hour trying to keep up.

But instead of customizing what information we’re receiving, which we sort of do, we try to ingest as many articles as possible. The problem is that we tend to forfeit our attention span and breeze through them faster than a hummingbird flaps its wings. All of the depth and nuance that the author so carefully included goes completely unnoticed. The longer your article is, the larger the risk you take in having it read to completion. We’ve become clickbait connoisseurs in a way, which is notably depressing.

So how do you get people to read an article all the way to the end? More importantly, how do you do it without compromising quality? There are a few ways you can keep readers captive before you let them back into the wilderness, without making your ideas punishingly skeletal. Here are a few tips you can use:

Give New Information in a Unique Way

If you’re writing an article that’s already been written, why would anyone want to read it? It’s always important to give a fresh angle on a popular topic or try to find something new about it that no one has written about.

I know, easier said than done. But it really goes a long way in keeping your audience at the edge of their seat waiting to find out something they hadn’t known or thought of before.

Focus on Your Audience

Unlike Pokémon, you can’t catch ‘em all. Some people simply will not be interested in the material you’re putting into the media ecosphere. And that’s OK.

You’ve got to start with your core audience and then try to expand your potential audience from there. But don’t cast too wide a net or you won’t reach anyone.

Be Honest with Your Headlines

Yes, clickbait is attractive, but that attraction is fleeting. So fleeting, in fact, that your audience isn’t even going to put both feet in the door until they know that you can put your money where your headline is. And let’s be honest, clickbait articles almost always can’t.

Be positive that your headline is going to match what you’re writing. It doesn’t mean that you can’t give it a little oomph, but there’s a huge difference between having the pull of an interesting headline and having the pull of a black hole.

Break Up Your Paragraphs

The worst thing you can do is put everything you say into one towering paragraph and expect your readers to stay tuned to it. That’s just mean.

It might seem like a simple thing, but we’re always trying to compartmentalize our thoughts and ideas and an ominous paragraph just ends up looking like mush. Break it apart. It looks better and it flows better. There’s no reason not to do it.

Grammar is Important

This might be self-evident, but we still need to keep this at the top of our mental checklist. If our grammar isn’t spot-on, our ideas are going to lose a lot of credibility with readers no matter how eloquent, informative, or innovative they are.

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Written by:
Jacob is a journalism and political science student at Arizona State University. He likes to learn and write about anything that isn’t cliché. His primary interests are foreign policy, solutions to global poverty, and tech innovation. He has helped lead multiple student groups on campus that have hosted a range of speakers on international issues and has acted as moderator for a couple himself. In his free time, he likes to watch movies, read weird books, and drink offensive amounts of coffee.
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