How your writing style can help or hurt your blog’s traffic

Posted on March 23, 2012

Photo by LightWitch Courtney Brooke via Flickr Creative Commons

There’s a saying in marketing that “copy is king”. Besides having fresh news and interesting insights, your content needs to be written in a style that flows naturally and grabs the attention of your readers. It’s always worth a refresh on how to write content that will grab your reader’s attention and keep them interested through the end of your blog post or site.

Here are some writing tips to remember:

  • Spend time on the headline since you only have five seconds to get their attention. They say that 80% of readers will either pass on reading the article or read further based on the strength of the headline. Does it entice them to read the post?
  • Why should I care? Answer this question when you start writing and when you do that important edit and review. Have you told them the benefit to them?
  • Use the “you” second person perspective instead of the “I” first person perspective and you will draw in the reader instead and making it all about yourself.
  • Write in a conversational style so it sounds like you are speaking to your reader in a regular conversation. If you won’t talk that way in a regular conversation, don’t use it.
  • Use words you would normally use. Don’t try to impress your readers with words they need to look up in their e-dictionary.
  • Write at an 8th grade level because that’s where comprehension is highest.
  • Use less words. Remove any unnecessary words and see where you can simply use one or two words instead of a lengthy phrase.
  • Keep your paragraphs short – 5 lines each are optimal.
  • Make it easy for your readers to skim your articles by using bullets and subheads to break the paragraphs up into smaller chunks that are easier to digest.
  • Don’t forget to make sure that your keywords are included in your copy to help increase your search engine optimization. Don’t just plug in the words after you write the piece, but make sure that your sentences still flow naturally.
  • Check your spelling and grammar, and proof, proof and proof again. I often will read a piece out loud to catch anything that the eye will miss.

What are your best writing tips?

Ursula Herrick is the president of Herrick Media, a boutique PR agency focused on media relations and social media marketing.

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