Writing for the Reader

lady reading a Kindle

In the article ‘Quality Content is King’ we discussed how it is not the number of words that is the most important factor of your article/blog but the quality of those words and posed the question of who you are writing for – an algorithm or human reader?

In this article we will take a closer look at the subject of writing for the reader and provide a few hints and tips that you will be able to use to help you when writing your articles/blogs.  

Be yourself

When you listen to the best music acts, view the best artwork or read the best novels you can immediately identify who is performing, the artist or the author as they have a style that is unique to them and is an important part of who they are. The same is what you should be aiming for with your writing.

As you build up the number of blogs/articles, your style will become apparent. If people like your writing style, they will expect this style to be a constant. Your style will become part of your identity and brand.

Your blogs may include personal stories/anecdotes, humour, tasks for the reader to complete, be ‘left field’ or look at things from an unusual angle, be short and concise, have a particular rhythm, provide lots of original ‘sound bites’ or quotes plus plenty more. 

Be the good greengrocer

By the time a reader finds themselves at your blog they will already have formed a preconceived idea about what your blog will provide them. That idea will be based on what they entered into the search engine and the title of you blog. 

We can assume that the reader is looking for information relating to your niche so you have a head start about what they will be expecting. It is your job to ensure the reader gets what they expect – and more, from your blog.

Imagine you need some potatoes, you visit a greengrocer with the expectation they will supply you with some potatoes. The good greengrocer will provide you not only with the potatoes but with some menu suggestions for the potatoes and sell you the vegetables to create those menus. You leave the shop satisfied and happy that you got more than you expected and recommend the greengrocer to your friends. The bad greengrocer will have sold out of potatoes and you will leave empty handed, unlikely to return or recommend to your friends.

You need to be the good greengrocer!

Do this by focusing on the readers needs when writing your blog. Think about what you can give them-

  • answers
  • help achieve their aims 
  • entertainment
  • reassurance and support 
  • further relevant information
  • a means of direct contact with you

– and write your blog accordingly.

Write down the answers to the following questions

  • what answers is your blog going to answer?
  • how will your blog help your readers achieve their aims? 
  • how will blog be entertaining?
  • in what way will your blog provide reassurance and support? 
  • how will you include further relevant information?
  • is it clear how to contact you?

Write the same as you speak.

One of the easiest ways to write as yourself is to write in the same way as you speak. To help with identifying your ‘style’ think of the subject of your latest blog and rather than type it ‘speak’ it, as if you are talking to a friend and record what you say. As you listen back, type what you said.

This is your style, of course it will need tidying up before publishing but this is the ‘bones’ of your latest blog.

When you are ready to create your next blog and have answered the questions above. Using a dictaphone, phone, computer or other method, record yourself as you speak rather than write the blog.

Then type up what you have said.

Use spell check

There are many programs that will scan your blog and make suggestions of corrections and improvements. The only one I tend to use is a spell checker, the reason being that some of the programs although very useful can tend to alter the way your blog reads, thus taking away your identity and making you sound the same as everyone else.

The last thing you want is to sound the same as everyone else but remember you also don’t want a blog that distracts your reader due to huge spelling mistakes or poor grammar. If you find yourself getting confused between there and their or whether to use a colon or semicolon then it may be wise to use a program such as Grammarly. 

Run a spell check and/or a grammar check and make any alterations or corrections.

Put research into your own words

There are times when you will need to research to ensure accuracy. Putting research into your own words is a skill that is very important, to maintain your own style and the flow of your writing. Understand the subject, don’t fall into the trap of just changing a few words and then placing into your blog. 

Proof read

Proof read your blog and make adjustments and corrections as necessary. It can be a good idea to get someone else to read your blog and then get them to bullet point what they feel the main points of your blog are. Do the bullet points compare favourably with the original goal for your blog? 

Don’t be afraid to make changes as many times as required to get it right. 

Proof read your blog and/or have a friend proof read your blog. Make any corrections and/or alterations as necessary.

Checklist

Before pressing that publish button, consider if your blog provides the reader with –

  • answers
  • a way to help achieve their aims 
  • entertainment
  • reassurance and support 
  • further relevant information
  • a means of direct contact with you

In addition

  • Is your blog relevant to your readers?
    • If not relevant, they won’t read it. Remember, you may have a message but that doesn’t mean any one will want to read it.
  • Is the blog written in your ‘style’? 
    • Remember be yourself.
  • Have you run a spell/grammar? check.
  • Have you proof read your blog?
  • Got someone else to proofread it?
  • Have you provided tasks for your readers to try?
  • Provided a way to contact you?

Finally

If you want to be a better writer – be a better reader!

Read, read, read and read some more. 

Thank you for your time, I hope you have found this useful.

Justin

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