Harness the Scanners and Entertain the In-Depth Readers

Are you a scanner? Are you only going to catch the photo above, the headline, the first sentence, and any subheads before cruising on to the next website? Or are you an in-depth reader, one who sees and comprehends every word in this paragraph, and is always catching the minor errors like misspelled words, or the use of “for” when the writer really meant “from.”

A marketing content writer needs to write for both reading styles. You want the scanners to come away with accurate information, even if they don’t read every word. And you want the in-depth readers to stick around until the last period in your piece of content. Good online content needs to have excellent photography or engaging graphics, a stellar headline, a strong lead-in sentence, bolded subheads and quality text that hold a reader’s attention. If you don’t have any of these items, or your text is poorly written and overly promotional, you’re going to lose your audience. A lost audience means lost business.

Even if your goal of content writing is to help your SEO program, it still needs to be good. What makes good content?

Keep the reader interested

Scanners rarely settle down to read an article thoroughly. And in-depth readers will leave after the first paragraph if your content doesn’t interest them. But, if your content is informative and presented in an interesting way, even skimmers will stick around. There are many ways you can make content interesting.

  • Try breaking your material into lists or bullet points.
  • Use graphics to illustrate a point.
  • Tie in a common theme throughout the content.
  • Use quotes to help tell the story.
  • Skip the techno jargon and use everyday language. Nobody wants to try and figure out an alphabet soup of acronyms just to keep everything straight.

Keep your readers in mind when you’re creating content, because readers who stick around to read your blog or website might also head over to your shopping cart to make a purchase. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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