Most people will not read everything you write. Even your loyal readers and fans of your blog won’t always read every word that you lovingly place on the page. No matter how much effort you put into your blog or your web site, only a tiny proportion of people will actually make it all the way through.
That’s why you need to ensure most of your keywords and your main messages appear in the top half of your articles and blog posts. Few people make it through to the end. It’s not that they get bored – it’s just there are other distractions that get in the way. Our brain is never processing one single thing at a time. It works on multiple tasks simultaneously. When we are reading something, no matter how engrossing or interesting, there’s a chance that your brain’s “Executive Function” (a sort of telephone exchange for thoughts and ideas) will interrupt you with something it has been working on.
Research on newspaper and magazine reading has shown that typically only a quarter of the people who start an article make it through to the end. Online you can expect a similar level of attention for your writing. So, what can you do about it? How can you get your messages across if most people are never going to read your entire blog post?
The surefire way to achieve this is to make sure your main information is in the top half of the article – indeed, the top half of the top half. It’s a writing style that has been adopted by newspapers the world over for centuries because it works. You can actually get the day’s news from your paper each morning without reading more than every headline. Indeed, if you do just that you will be better informed about current affairs than many other people…!
Newspapers hit you between the eyes with their headlines – you know exactly what the story is about just by reading half a dozen words or so. But if the headline has to be a little cryptic, well, guess what, the first sentence of the story itself will fill you in on the details. What a reporter then does is add detail to the story later on in a writing style known as “pyramid writing”.
You make your main point right up top – just like a pyramid – then broaden the information as you go. Indeed, if you’ve made it this far in the blog post (thanks, by the way) you’ll have seen that right up top I told you that you need to get your main message and your keywords in the top half of your blog post because most people won’t read much further. All I have done in the remainder of the article is expand on that particular point.
People who make it through to the end of your blog posts are those who either want the extra details you provide, or haven’t yet been distracted by other thoughts. But they – like the people who never make it all the way through your lovingly crafted articles – still get your point.
You can get your messages across in blogs easily if you adopt the pyramid principle of writing. If, however, you give background first and then lead people up to your point as a kind of conclusion, most people will never get the message. And that means your blog is not having the impact it could have.
Thanks for reading this far – much appreciated and welcome to the “25% Club” of people who got here….!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+