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Your precious words. You know they’ve got to be right to attract the audience you want.
You’ve slaved over them, carefully crafting each phrase. You finally hit “publish,” and what happens?
Nobody reads them. No comments, no tweets, no sharing on Facebook.
It’s enough to send a writer into deep depression and wipe out motivation to keep producing great content.
Think you need to spend another 10,000 hours perfecting your writing skills? Probably not.
Actually, the solution may be a lot easier than you expect. Writing less and styling your text so it’s easy to read could be all you need to do to attract and hold attention.
Jakob Nielsen’s seminal web usability study from 1997 showed that 79 percent of web users scan rather than read.
Think about how you use the web. You’re in search of information. And if you don’t find it on the page you’re visiting, you click away and look elsewhere.
The web is a “lean forward and participate” medium. Television, by contrast, is a “lean back and let it wash over me” medium.
What can you do to engage your readers so they lean into your content, stay on your pages, and interact with your information?
Make it snappy
To write successfully for the web, you need to forget some of what you learned in English composition class.
Accept that people scan web pages, rather than reading them in detail, and work with this reality rather than fighting it.
If you want to cover a complex topic, consider breaking
If you’re a writer, you might have heard this most of your life:
People don’t make a living writing. You should find something practical to do with your life.
Smart, capable writers grimly pass around war stories on Facebook. Penny-a-word assignments, clients who don’t pay, disdain for our craft, and disrespect for our profession.
And yet, look around at this digital world so many of us spend our lives in — it’s made of words. The technology to produce digital content exists because we create words worth sharing.
Text, video, audio — it all needs great writing if it’s going to be worth spending our time on.
If writing is your profession and your passion, you can accept crap assignments for crap money and crap treatment.
Or, you can choose something better. Because there is something better.
In the time I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve noticed some necessary traits, abilities, and strengths that make the difference between life as a well-paid writer and life as someone who likes to write but can’t seem to get paid for it.
Here are seven of the most important.
This might seem squishy, but if you’re meant to be a writer, you know what I mean.
There is no substitute for the love of writing. For the passion of getting the words right: the head-scratching and the pacing around the house and the endless drafts that aren’t quite right yet.
If you don’t love language and your topic and the act of putting words together, none of