People don’t read on the Web.
They just don’t read online.
They scan and scroll, going through stuff at lightening fast speed.
If you don’t catch their eye, they are gone. If you have their attention, you better do everything you can to keep it.
That’s what we have heard, right. That’s what everyone keeps on talking about.
People are pressed for time. They subscribe to hundreds of blogs. Their feeds are literally spilling over, so they ignore everything.
I’d like to offer another view.
People do read online.
They read bloggers they really admire, they read stuff that intrigues them, or just make them forget their troubles for a few minutes. They read posts that offer unique point of view.
People do read online. They just read the stuff they love to read.
But this is not what you are thinking, are you? When you are writing your blog post.
You are thinking – oh, people don’t read so I’d better make it snappy. I must write to attract every one who lands on my site. I must catch all the people passing by.
The problem in writing for this kind of potential reader is that you develop a ‘want to please’ mindset.
You are not writing because you have something useful to offer, but you are now begging for attention. You are also writing to the wrong audience – audience that is not a good fit for you anyway.
What happens next is this: When you write, you care all about grabbing their attention. In fact, this becomes your first priority.
You do everything you can to get people to start reading.
You become obsessed with perfecting headlines. You are forever thinking about hooks to lure people in.
Your writing becomes gimmicky – just a tool to get people to read what you have to say.
Here’s a thought ..
People want to read what you have to say
Now, assume for a second that you have an audience eager to listen to what you have to say.
They are really interested in what you have to say.
They are here – and they are all ears.
Isn’t that a much better place to be in? Writing to someone who cares versus writing to someone who is practically a stranger?
If you write to people with the assumption that they are notgoing to be interested and you need to fight to get their attention, you lose.
If you write to people assuming they have no time for you, you lose again.
By doing so you are actually saying you are not worthy of their attention.
You try to write short, snappy posts. (Do this if that’s is your natural style, not everyone writes like this. I do, and I also love fragments. Just saying.)
Your posts always sound rushed. Like you want to get to your point real quick. And this is not a bad thing entirely, you should not write drawn out intros for the sake of making it longer. That being said, don’t write with the fear of losing readers, either.
My point it, don’t rush because you feel people have no time.
Start with this mindset: These are people who like me and trust me. Now write what you have to say.
Write for scanners and readers both. Scanners gonna scan, you know what I mean. It helps to keep the mechanics of writing online in mind – short sentences and paragraphs, headings and bulleted lists, lots of white space.
But don’t forget the people who read.
People have time
People have time – they will find the time. They just choose where they want to spend it.
I subscribe to many blogs and the topics that interest me, I read word to word. I don’t skip.
Headlines don’t even matter. They don’t have to be clever either. (I open every single email from Copyblogger – if they were thinking between 5 possible options, any would have worked for me. Heck if they send a post titled … blog post about content marketing – I’d still open it, but that’s just me. I don’t recommend you go down that route. But don’t obsess either.)
Unless the topic specifies something that I will most definitely be NOT interested in, I always open emails from my favs.
I can’t wait to receive the new posts from these guys
- Danial Laporte. I just love her insights. They are Gold.
- Social Triggers. Derek’s videos are so cool. I love watching them.
- Marie Forleo. Adore her antics. And her business advice is always rock solid.
- Penelope Trunk. I love her eccentric views. Plus I am really interested in personality types and right career choices for people.
- Mark Schaefer. A real thought leader.
Do you think these people are rushing in their writing on my account? Are they worried that I am scanner?
I am. But not what it comes to THEIR stuff.
Sure they are making their posts tight and to the point, not because they want to appeal to traffic that is passing by, but because it makes
for excellent writing.
I can’t wait for their latest posts. I am reading every word. (And I am the biggest scanner there is).
People move on
In my initial stages of blogging, I subscribed to a lot of ‘educational’ blogs because I wanted to learn as much as I can, and as quickly as I possibly could.
Since then, I feel confident that I don’t need the beginner or intermediate level stuff when it comes to content marketing and blogging. I have moved on. Many do.
Keep in mind, people move on for a number of reasons. They might feel they have gotten everything you have to say and simply find other blogs to follow. (This is especially true when you are writing purely educational content).
There is so much you can say about a topic if you are teaching it. That’s why people graduate from programs, courses and Universities, you know.
People like what they like
Now that we have established how much I love Copyblogger – it is fair to say that I read about 80% of their stuff. (I do actually open every single email of theirs.)
Not every post is relevant to me, not every post appeals to me.
I will devour anything on better writing, better author ranking and anything by Sonia Simone or Jon Morrow. Lately I have been loving their Author Files.
But I do skip every post on Facebook, Pinterest, SEO or anything too technical.
Like Naomi Dunford of Ittybiz says (too lazy to look up the reference), if you appeal to at least 20% of your audience at all times, you are doing it right.
So next time you are writing, picture a friendly reader’s face who is opening your email with great anticipation … not some random stranger passing by.
Stop rushing. Imagine your readers hanging on to every word.
If they are your person, you will draw them in anyway.
You don’t have to write for the visitors on the off chance that they will stay.
You have to take care of your readers and people who will become your readers, even if they scan other people’s content.
People don’t read on the web – unless they are really interested in the content. Found this gem posted somewhere.
Duh! Isn’t that just like – everywhere else?