Tip # 6 – Write Tight!

Posts must be readable

 

Sustainable SEO for Small Business Tips

With the SEO of content marketing, there are two parts when it comes to creating content. For the purposes of this article, we shall consider the written post to be our “content”, though bear in mind that this is just one form of content.  Others include Hangouts on Air, videos, SlideShares, podcasts, etc.  

First is the content itself.  You need to have something informative, helpful, or entertaining to say. If you can manage to incorporate all 3, give yourself a gold star and go to the head of the class.

Second, is getting your content seen.  You have to get people’s attention long enough that they skim your content for a moment, and then, if all the planets are aligned properly (or so it sometimes seems), may actually read it.  

It is this second area which this tip addresses.

Believe it or not, it is often much easier to write a long post than a short one.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you can only do justice to a topic in two to three thousand words, or even more. A post needs to be as long as it needs to be.  But be careful, because it’s sometimes easier to ramble on a bit than to compose a more succinct piece.

However, it’s not really length that’s at issue here.  The important thing is readability, which AJ Kohn recently gave as his #1 tip for optimizing content. 

How do you make your content readable?

Write Tight!

This is a phrase used by Eric Enge for writing short, concise paragraphsI would go one step further and say write shorter sentences, too. 
Even go so far as to start a new line for a sentence within the same paragraph to give it some extra emphasis.

In other words, break some of the ‘good writing’ rules you learned from your high school English teacher… as long as you know you’re doing it and have a good reason to do so.

Formatting your post is also crucial.

  • Always bold your title.

  • Include subheadings.  Try a different font size and color.

  • Check your overall font size, also, as well as line-spacing. Remember that not all your readers have the same eagle-eye vision you may have.

  • Adding extra images or screenshots helps break up a post, especially if it’s on the long side.

  • Use bullets or numbered lists.

What effect does a “write tight” approach have on your content?

1. It’s all about first impressions.  Visually, it creates a more inviting look.  When the reader see more white space, it seems less intimidating, and even more important, less time-consuming.  Remember, this is the attention economy!

2. Your post is more skimmable. People will skim first to see if they’re interested in what you have to say.

3.  Your post is more readable.  If it passes the ‘skim test’, then people may very well settle down to actually read it.

If you’ve also been the aforementioned informative, helpful, and/or entertaining, then… voila!  You’re on your way to engagement because…

5.  If a post is more readable, it’s also more shareable!  Which is really what you’re after.  People who find your content worthy of sharing with others, will increase your visibility on Google+ and in Google search.

6.  You avoid the tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) trap. This usually happens when the reader sees a long post with very little white space and not enough subheads, color, images, etc. to break it up.

This is just one aspect of getting your content seen, but I love it because it’s easy to implement.  Just think white(space) and write tight!

 

If you found this tip helpful, please pass it on and share it with others.  Thank you!

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