Elements of Effective Writing
Effective writing is the foundation of creating compelling content. If your writing itself lacks luster, the only thing your reader will be compelled to do is click away from your site.
The elements of effective writing, of course, include such fundamentals as good grammar, syntax, word usage, etc. But to boost your articles and blog posts beyond the basics, to make your content compelling, you’ll need make your prose more than polished.
You’ll need to make it personal.
Know Your Audience
In order for your writing to be effective, you must first know your audience. This crosses over into marketing a bit, but if you know who you’re writing to, you’ll be more able to communicate well with him. Or her.
Prominent marketers teach copywriters to envision “an audience of one.” Effective writers borrow this concept, ensuring their articles are written in a conversational tone. This creates a sensation within the reader that the writer wrote the piece just for her.
Visualize an image of your reader. Give her a name. Conduct an “interview” with her. Ask her about her needs. What problems is she desperately seeking solutions for? How can you, through your words, solve one of those problems right now?
Make Your Reader Feel Special
Treating your reader like a preferred customer is another marketing ploy, and a good one. Successful companies use customer-loyalty incentives to boost repeat business — from car dealer rebates to grocery store discount cards. If a customer — or in the case of we writers, a reader — gains an insider feeling while visiting our website, they’ll likely return. And often bring friends.
Providing perks to regular readers is an excellent way to get return traffic to your site. Offer sneak peeks at upcoming posts for newsletter subscribers and/or Facebook fans, discount codes for your products, drawings and contests for those who comment, and other imaginative inner-circle freebies, and you’ll quickly grow a strong community.
Let Your Reader Get to Know You
One of the top reasons readers return to blogs is because they like the blogger. Whether you’re writing blog posts, articles, or even a book, sharing your personality through your writing voice is one of the most effective writing tools you can use.
This writer-reader bond can develop into a strong relationship, even if you never meet or communicate one-on-one with your readers. Allowing them to peek into some of your thoughts and feelings can convert readers into fans. Fans who will read everything you write and share it with their friends either through word of mouth or spread it virally via social media.
Value Your Reader’s Time
Provide functional material, not fluff. Place at least one, if not more, actionable item into every post. And invite feedback about how your readers used what they learned.
Give them a deadline, if applicable. One of the commonalities of successful people is speed of implementation. Upon learning a new technique, some people are prone to procrastinate putting it into practice. They may fear they won’t do it perfectly and will therefore fail, but an unused tactic has no hope of success.
This is just a short list of ways to make your writing more effective. To learn more elements of effective writing, sign up for the FREE Creating Compelling Content mini-course.
Linda Fulkerson is a blog coach, online marketing specialist, and award-winning photographer. She presents workshops on Blogging, Social Media, and Online Promotion.