Reader question: How do we get people to read to the end?
“How do we get people to read to the end of our newsletter articles and blog posts?” This question came up in one of my writing workshops.
I share some ideas in this article. I also suggest that you complement your initial question by asking “How can we ensure that people who don’t read to the end—or who don’t read every paragraph—still grasp our main points?”
1. Write in a reader-friendly way
To attract and retain your readers throughout your articles, write in a reader-friendly way.
This starts with clearly identifying your topic and how it’ll help your reader. Do this in your introduction to snare readers.
Next, write headings that guide your reader through your article. These should show how your article will deliver on the promises made in your introduction.
Observe other good writing practices, such as strong topic sentences and clear, concise writing. Clunky writing discourages readers.
2. Use “gold coins”
Readers tend to bail out of reading online after less than two minutes. That’s the point where Poynter’s Eyetrack research suggests “establishing a ‘gold coin’ like a simple pullout quote or visual element that keeps the reader engaged about halfway through a long story.” This could be a provocative quote, graph, or photograph. Or it could be “a telling detail, a bit of description, an apt phrase, a moving anecdote,” as Dr. Ink says in “Dr. Ink Discovers the Sixth ‘W’.” As Dr. Ink says, “If these are spaced strategically in the story, the logic goes, the reader will have incentive to move down the path. As soon as the gold coins run out, the reader leaves the forest.”
Bonus: Capture readers who skim
It’s not realistic to get every reader to finish each of your articles. However, if you observe the tips listed above, you’ll get more mileage out of your articles. This is because you’ll communicate well with those who only skim. They can still grasp the gist of your articles.
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