How to Write for Lazy Readers
I might have come across harshly with this title. What I’m calling “lazy” might be a byproduct of busyness and lack of time. Either way, the fact remains that people don’t want to consume online content that’s a chore to read.
Whether readers are genuinely lazy or crunched for time, you need to make it easy for them or risk getting ignored.
How can you help ensure your content isn’t too much trouble to read?
Consider the following suggestions.
Six Tips to Make Your Content Easy to Read
Don’t belabor the point.
While long-form content statistically does better from an SEO perspective, don’t stretch content when you can get your point across succinctly. Adding words for the sole purpose of reaching a word-count goal will create volume without substance.
Readers don’t want fluff. Say what you have to say in as many words as it takes you to say it effectively — no more than that.
Deliver content in bite-sized chunks.
Rather than using long paragraphs, break things down into shorter segments that won’t overwhelm readers. Concise paragraphs and use of numbered and bulleted lists add white space that provides plenty of eye rests, making it easier for readers to stick with you.
Also, avoid run-on sentences. They make it difficult for people to follow what you’re talking about.
Use headers to highlight the main points.
Most people skim online content before deciding if it will be worth their time. I admit that I do, just like 55 percent of online readers. By using headers to showcase the main points that you’re covering, you can draw readers’ attention and pique their interest in going deeper into your content.
Using headers will also help you organize your content so that it flows logically from one point to the next.
Make your content a conversation.
A casual, conversational tone can also help keep readers engaged and interested. Using “you” rather than third-person pronouns makes content more personal and relatable.
Don’t get fancy
Using big words and excessive jargon might seem impressive, but if readers don’t understand the terms you’re using, you’ll lose them. To make sure most Americans can understand your writing, aim to write at no higher than an eighth-grade level. Consider using tools such as Hemingway App or readable.io to determine the readability of your writing.
Review what you write to make sure it’s as error-free as possible. To catch mistakes and identify what needs improvement in your content, consider:
Sleeping on it — Review your writing several hours or a day later. Seeing it with fresh eyes will help you catch things you didn’t notice before. Reading it aloud — Hearing it rather than just seeing it will help you catch mistakes and weaknesses.
Using Grammarly — This tool can save you a significant amount of time when editing and proofreading your content. The free version picks up on errors in spelling and grammar. Grammarly Premium, which I recommend, has more robust features including advanced checks for grammar, punctuation, context, and sentence structure; word choice suggestions; a plagiarism detector, and more.
Hard Work: A Requirement When Writing for Lazy Readers
Lazy does not mean apathetic. Readers, even those who want content to be a breeze to consume, care about the quality of writing and the information they get from you. Create content with your audience’s interests and needs in mind, and fine-tune it to ensure you’re delivering it as clearly as possible.
Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, one of the leading Internet marketing agencies in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC, and web design services. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally.