How to structure your content so it’s valuable to both “in-depth readers” and “skimmers”
Thoughts from a Singapore freelance copywriter
With a smartphone in hand, it’s easier than ever to get access to information.
The only issue, is that today’s readers often have the attention span of a goldfish. (I’ll admit, I have this problem too when scrolling through the spread of news on my Facebook wall.)
What does this mean for your blog?
It means that your articles need to:
Capture the attention of skimmers, who are just looking for key highlights
Provide in-depth information, so your readers get the payoff they deserve for taking the time to read your blog post
And a really good blog post will even convert skimmers, into readers.
But how can you write an article that can captivate both skimmers and in-depth readers?
With these 3 key techniques.
#1: Use Sub-Headers
Sub-headers are great for both skimmers and in-depth readers, as they provide essential information at a glance. Take this article, for instance.
Even if you miss reading most of this article’s text, the sub-headers will provide you with tips that can be invaluable when you write your next blog post.
Of course, going in-depth will give you a greater understanding of what the sub-headers mean, and how to properly apply the advice given.
In this case, here’s a detail that only in-depth readers will learn. Use easily understandable, partially complete sentences as your sub-headers. This way, skimmers will understand the advice given, without having to decipher it in their head.
For example, what if I’d gotten creative and named this section “The art of sub-headers” instead? It’s a small change, but to someone who’s blazing through the article, can make a huge difference in whether they understand the content.
#2: Emphasise Key Points
Notice that line in orange, in the section above? Most people would have. That’s because it’s been strategically bolded and coloured for the benefit of both skimmers and in-depth readers.
That’s one way to emphasise key points.
Another way to get your readers’ attention is to make your text big.
You’ll see this technique being used in sales pages all the time. Why? Because it works.
Skimmers always read large text. The subliminal communication taking place here is,
“This text is big, so this point must be important."
Meanwhile, readers who are devouring every word in your article will also appreciate how key points are emphasised using bold, highlighted, and large text – so everyone wins.
#3: Use Bullet Points (Or Numbers)
When structuring your blog article content, remember these two rules:
Paragraphs are for in-depth readers
Bullet points are for everyone
Paragraphs are fantastic homes for detailed information. This is where the “meat and bones” of your story, or advice, resides. This is also where your in-depth readers will get the most value from.
Meanwhile, bullet points call attention to themselves, attracting skimmers to them like moths to lightbulbs. (Without, of course, the dying and other messy bits.)
But like the other tools mentioned in this article, bullet points also improve the reading experience for in-depth readers. Bullet points (whether numbered or not) give readers a chance to breathe, have an overview of what’s coming up next, then deep dive into the following paragraphs.
In short, bullet points are useful for everyone. Be sure to use them.
Putting It Together
While there are many advanced techniques for effectively structuring your blog article content, these 3 tips are the basic building blocks for crafting an article that will appeal to both skimmers and in-depth readers.
Keep these in mind when crafting your next blog article, and you should have a well-crafted post that your readers will enjoy reading (or just skimming) through!
Or if you’re prefer to save time and ask a professional freelance copywriter for help, I’m available and always happy to help. Contact me and I’ll help make your blog a place that your fans/readers will love.
Image credit: Pixabay