Do you ever suffer from content overload? Every day we log in to the internet and are bombarded with blog posts, social media posts, emails, podcasts, videos etc. There is more content at our disposal than anyone could possibly process. Sure some of it is trash but there is a lot of awesome information at our fingertips.
How do we handle the avalanche of content? Most of us have become very adept at scanning quickly and choosing which content deserves our time and attention. This is exactly why you need to break up your blog posts to make them easy for your readers to scan.
You need to show them in a quick glance what your post is about and why they should give it a place in their limited schedule. If they don’t get it immediately they’ll move on to something else. Here are a few ways you can break up your post so they are easy to scan.
Use headlines and sub-headings. If you outline your posts before writing, you can quickly see how to break it down. Each point in your outline could be a subheading. Perhaps you don’t outline your posts and instead jump right into the content. If this is how you create you can add your subheadings after you write your post, whichever works best for you. The only important thing is that they are in there before you hit publish. An added bonus is, if you use H1 or H2 tags for your headlines and headings, it will entice the search engines to visit your web site.
Keep your paragraphs short. Have you noticed you read differently online than you do on a hard copy text such as books, newspapers and magazines? In a book or magazine you have large blocks of text and will read each word. Online or on digital devices we tend to have a short attention span. The solution for your blog posts is to keep your readers attention with shorter paragraphs and sentences. Ideally, your paragraphs should not be much longer than three or four lines.
Use lists and bold important key terms. Another way to hold your readers attention is to present your content in the form of a list. This may include:
- a list of several related sentences
- a list to share examples
- a list of key benefits
A list is an effective way to break things up and grab your reader’s attention. And they can be as long or short as you need them to be.
Don’t overlook other formatting options. Emphasis key terms by using
All of these formatting options make it much quicker and easier to scan a piece of text and figure out what it’s about without having to read every single word.
Use the attention drawing power of graphics. When we first learn to read, we are drawn to graphics. In children’s books they often tell the story. So it makes sense that a picture is one of the best ways to convey, within seconds, what your blog post is about and earn the interest of your blog readers. Let’s look at some stats:
Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. (Source)
Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. (Source)
There figures definitely prove that a picture is one of the best ways to convey, within seconds ,what your blog post is about and hold your reader’s interest. If you need more proof, scroll through your Facebook feed and notice which posts get you to pause or even stop your scrolling. Or look at the top seven social media sites (per eBizMBA):
You see two of these, Pinterest and Instagram, are graphic based sites. It’s clear to see that graphics will hook your audience and maintain their attention so your blog posts get read! You can also use graphics to break up long sections of text.
Take another look at your blog posts and see if you can implement these tips to make them easier to scan and get read!