About 80 percent of people scan the first page of an article before deciding if they are going to read it or not. People have busy lives. So, good content is essential to entice the reader’s mind.
It is important to observe specific writing styles and understand what makes them effective and attractive to so many readers. Major writers – whether they are novelists, poets, bloggers or journalists –share the same great feature. They awake certain feelings in their readers. In other words, the content that they provide answers specific questions people have.
So, what exactly is good content?
Good content is well-written
You do not have to be Shakespeare or the best writer in the world to provide good content. “Well-written” means that you must know the grammar rules of the language in which you write. When in doubt, either open a dictionary or, if you know somebody who is knowledgeable enough, ask them. You should also be able to rely on somebody else to proofread your work. This is absolutely necessary when you write a larger work, like a novel, no matter how familiar you may be with the language.
A few useful tools:
–Dictionary, to check the spelling and definition of words. The famous “its” written to mean “it’s” is one of the most frequent typos.
–Thesaurus, to look for synonyms and avoid being too repetitive.
–Grammar book, to avoid surprises. For example, a lot of people have problems with prepositions. Prepositions are the small words that are used to express a number of relationships, such as time, location or purpose. Examples of prepositions include “to”, “off”, “down” and “on.” They are very tricky! Another example of confusion would be “who” and “whom.”
Well, fortunately, such tools are available for free on the Internet.
Good content is well-documented
No matter the topic on which you want to write, every statement must be thoroughly researched and documented. Look at the first two pages of results on Google to find common information. If several websites have the same information, it is safe to assume that you can use it as a trustworthy source.
Every statement that you make must be backed up by reliable links or resources. It is the best way for people to take you seriously and come back to you when they are looking for answers.
Good content is well-organized
A message that is well presented is sure to win the hearts of the readers. Even the most boring topics can be given a new life!
A novel without paragraphs and chapters would be impossible to read, right? Well, it is the same for everything else. Whether it is a short story, a poem or an article for a blog or a magazine, you must make sure that you can turn your piece into a treat for the eyes.
There are several ways to do this. Two of the most effective are:
- Break out a long text into short paragraphs and give each a title. People can see the main idea right away. This is what a lot of people do on the Internet when they write their top 10 lists for example.
- If the topic is broad, why don’t you try to write a series of articles? It is a fantastic way to build up anticipation and get readers to come back for more.
Good content is constant self-questioning on the part of the writer
A good writer is a person who treats his or her readers the way he or she would like to be treated as a reader. And the topic or genre does not matter at all.
A piece of advice. Re-read what you wrote, trying to put yourself in your readers’ shoes. This way, you can simplify the message to make it widely readable and enjoyable.
It is the same when you want to sell a product. You have to think like a business person and a customer…
As you can see, providing good content is not about being the best writer in the world. It is about writing FOR an audience and not FOR yourself alone.
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Cendrine Marrouat is a writer, published author and translator living in Canada. Official Website: http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com