If your website is filled with lots of long-winded content, you may be selling yourself short. No matter how interesting or informative your web content may be, today’s digital marketing secret is that most online readers only scan online content. Research shows that 79% of online readers only scan what they read online, with a mere 16% of readers perusing every word. As a result, you’re wasting your time and resources writing longer content because readers only want to see short, scannable microcontent. If your content is too long and wordy, it will simply be overlooked. To help you switch to a scannable style and increase the chances of your content getting read, Forbes.com shared some big ideas for creating bite-sized content.
Plan for the Scan
Think of microcontent as simply a shortened, scannable version of your longer website content. It features the facts front and center to pull readers in. Since today’s readers have very short attention spans and more online options than ever, content that’s short and scannable will keep readers on the page and keep them coming back to your site.
But creating scan-friendly content demands a different approach to writing. Forget flowery phrases and pages of paragraphs. Think short, straightforward, and simple to scan. To help you get more by writing less, here’s a brief breakdown of ways to switch to a scannable style:
1. Headline Helpers
- Make headlines into a less-than-10 word summary of your web content.
- Use a sentence format for ease of reading.
- Use clear, direct language to convey concepts to every level of reader.
2. Introduce a Brief Introduction
- Write a short summary after the headline to introduce the main points of the content.
- Try to limit this summary to fewer than 20 words.
3. Segment with Subheads
- Use sub-headlines throughout the content to distinguish each main idea and divide the content into separate sections.
- Only use short sentences and phrases.
4. Be Bold
- Put key words, phrases, and ideas in a bold typeface to draw attention to them.
- Place calls-to-action in a bold typeface.
- Emphasize ideas by bolding them.
5. Shoot for Bullet Points
- Put lists of ideas into easy-to-scan bullet points.
- Use bullet points for lists of information with multiple items.
6. Steps for Scannable Web Content
- Keep sentences to no more than 16 words.
- Use simple language.
- Include only one main idea in each paragraph.
- Divide a lengthy paragraph into a few smaller ones.
- Use a conversational writing style.
- Make sure to use good grammar.
- Include personal pronouns to form relationships with readers.
- Big words don’t impress customers. Use simple language that can quickly be read and understood.
By creating short and scannable microcontent, you’ll emphasize key ideas, while greatly increasing the odds that people will read and respond to them.
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