You Have 140 Characters to Get Their Attention* Part 2: Body and Content

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 12th Dec 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1e4rji9g/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

“I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.” ― Woody Allen

We are Reading Differently

“My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” ~Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid

Although Carr’s comment is disheartening if you are writing with the illusion that people are reading your articles, it helps to understand the facts:

From: Nielsen Norman GroupEvidence-Based User Experience Research, Training, and Consulting

•In 1997, the world's first study of how users read web content summarized the findings in two words: they don't. Instead of carefully reading information, users typically scan it.

• In 2006, eye-tracking research found that users frequently scan website prose in an F-pattern, focusing on words at the top or left side of the page, while barely glancing at words that appeared elsewhere.

• Recent research quantified this finding: given the duration of an average page view, users have time to read at most 28% of the words on the page.

Write Like They Are Reading

Time is a precious commodity. Yes, we all have the same 24/7, however, when we want information that is what we want and we want to be satisfied now.

We search through Google and Bing and get sites promising content only to find pages that are only rich in keywords, not content.

How do you write what is satisfying for you as the writer and yet still respects your readers and their time? You write like they read.

Write For Humans, Not Search Engines

If a reader takes the time to read your article, write the article to them, after all they already know what the keywords are, that is how they found you.

Content and Body: Meat and Potatoes First

Give them the substance of your article and let them find it easily. Learn to respect your reader’s time.

• Highlight important information in bold
• Learn to use italics for emphasis
• Put your graphics or images next to the relevant information
• Use videos to reinforce your information, or set an overall mood or theme

Now they know what you are serving them, the main course – the body and content of your article.

Adding to the Buffet of Words

Metaphors, like meat and potatoes work to convey a complex reading/writing pattern for web articles.

If I continue it, people may be curious about the other offerings. Therefore, I will continue with words that reinforce the concept.

However, some people want more than meat and potatoes.

How much more is the issue for how people read articles today.

Are they familiar with the Other Offerings?

Writing about any subject means using vocabulary for that topic; however, a good writer does not dumb down their article; they just offer the least complicated or simplest word possible.

Respect your reader’s time. If they have to ask what is on the buffet line because it does not look familiar or your words are too academic, archaic, or seemingly sophisticated, your reader is gone.

Do not try to impress your readers with complex words. Impress them with the simplicity of your article discussing a complex issue or subject.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”~ Leonardo da Vinci

Conclusion: Deserts

You may think you are sweet, delightful, lovable, and engaging and want to add your own personal experience to your article.

That is like dessert; some readers will pass on the bloat and extra calories.

If, and only if your personal experience about your article's subject will help your reader, inspire them, motivate them, or encourage them, do you need to be part of the article.

However, if you know that your knowledge, skill or life event will summarize and conclude your article with more information for your reader, present it.

There are thousands of people writing on the same topic. Making your article unique and interesting because you have shared a different perspective on the subject is what can set you apart from other writers.

It can be that surprise use of a paper umbrella on the ice cream, the skewer of exotic fruits, the addition of a mint leaf, or the extra chocolate sauce.

Just make sure that your conclusion is as tasty, rich and satisfying as the body, not some store bought confection you threw on the table as an afterthought, or added words to meet a word-count minimum.


For effective Titles, Tones and Diction, read You Have 140 Characters to Get Their Attention* Part One

For additional articles by Marilyn Davis

Credits: All Images: Morgue File

Join a community of dedicated, supportive writers at Wikinut

Tags

Article Content, Body Of An Article, Conclusions To Articles, Content Of Articles, Effective Content Writing For Articles, How Web Articles Are Read, Keywords, Meat And Potatoes In Your Content, Reading Articles On The Web, Reading Articles Online

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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Comments

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Good evening, Mark; thank you for the quick moderating and star. I appreciate them both. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Jerry Walch
13th Dec 2013 (#)

You earned the star!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Good evening, Jerry; thank you ever much. I'm following Twain and not using the word “very”, however, that exclamation mark prompts much more than a simple thanks. I appreciate it coming from you. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Nice! Sharing!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Good evening, Phyl; oh I'm going to have to Snag this page with the exclamation marks and frame the picture. Thank you, thank you, thank you.~Marilyn

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author avatar joyalariwo
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Very Interesting and informative article Marilyn

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, joyalariwo; thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Delicia Powers
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Outstanding page and information, thanks Marilyn....

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, Delicia; thank you for the kind words. May this holiday season be joyous for you and yours. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Marilyn, again, I think every writer should read this. Well done and well deserved star. Sharing now.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, Connie; thank you for your comment and sharing. I think this is working....:) ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
13th Dec 2013 (#)

such a clever way of blending...great page indeed Marilyn...sharing too

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, Carolina; thank you, I appreciate the sharing as you know. I hope the blending does reinforce that we can write about the same topic from multiple perspecitves making the writing our own. We actually had gone to a Christmas party and I realized that too much can just seem like, well, too much, so that party prompted some of the orientation. ~Marilyn

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
14th Dec 2013 (#)

Surprisingly profound analysis about a "superficial" topic.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
14th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, L.R.; I don't think you have commented before. I appreciate that you took the time to read and comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Jerry Walch
14th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning Marilyn. I disagree with L.R.s analysis of your article. If an article helps just one person (I'm sure yours have helped many new writers), the subject matter of that article is far from being superficial. Beyond saying that, I will no comment on his comment :-))

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
14th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, Jerry; thank you, although I could choose to take the comment as "still waters run deep", as if the subject is the surface, and the writing underneath is profound :) I know that my writing, just as yours and L.R.'s, is not going to get a favorable comment each and every time. In fact, I wrote another article on Compliments and Criticism to specifically address the fact that each gives us something to view within ourselves. Do I consider the subject superficial? No more so than I do any other topic I may write about, especially geared to newer writers. Furthermore, the days of my 3000+ word articles have been influenced by a Twitter 140 character mindset and so even I am going back and reviewing writing as a new experience. Therefore, writing about how to write in this digital age is a good exercise for me as well. ~Marilyn

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author avatar M G Singh
16th Dec 2013 (#)

Nice post

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
16th Dec 2013 (#)

Good evening, Madan; thank you for reading and commenting. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
18th Dec 2013 (#)

Insightful tips Marilyn, thanks. I try to keep my posts simple but always give my best shot.Many would have written about Mandela and some might have had personal meetings with him, but I tried to muse on his legacy from a commoner's point of view. I was obviously touched by the response. We all have different views on almost any issue and it is nice to read about them though time is always a factor - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, Siva; you stress an important aspect of writing - the individual writer's perspective on the subject. After all, we are all drawing from the same word pool, so what makes our articles different? It is the point of view. Thanks for the comment, I know that time is a factor for us all and one of the reasons that I try to respond to all comments; you took the time to comment, and the least I can do is respond. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Legend
20th Dec 2013 (#)

All good tips! well written!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
20th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, Legend; thank you for the comment. Hopefully, you can use some of these tips to improve your articles. ~Marilyn

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