Note from Glen: You know a post is truly valuable when it remains useful long after publication. Gary’s post is a perfect example — I refer writers to it all the time. While a great headline will attract readers to your post, you’ll need great subheads to keep them there. Enjoy!
You know you’re in a war, right?
Ok, so no actual guns or tanks are involved, but you are indeed in a bloody battle for the eyes and minds of your readers.
The blogosphere is a huge, congested, noisy space where everyone is jockeying for position and fighting to get noticed.
So to overcome this fact, you’ve done what you’ve been taught to do:
You’ve come up with great ideas that readers will find useful
You’ve created killer headlines that jump off the screen and demand attention
You’ve spent hours writing and rewriting stellar content that delivers and reads beautifully
And yet readers still come to visit your blog and… (click) bounce just as quickly as they came.
Why It Doesn’t Matter How Great Your Content Is
Look, I know you work hard on your writing – and if you study and apply all the great writing advice that’s available out there, it’s a safe bet that you’re writing some powerful stuff. Granted.
And when you know you’re creating legitimately excellent work, you can easily fall into the rainbows-and-unicorns blogging fantasy. You know the one. It goes like this:
Your readers see a killer headline you wrote on their social media streams and click through to the article.
When they click through, they read every carefully crafted word from start to finish – devouring the intellectual feast you’ve laid out for them.
Having fallen head over heels in love with your work, they subscribe, read everything you’ve ever written, and become evangelists for your brand – spreading the word of your excellence far and wide.
Oh, what a wonderful world it would be, right?
But the harsh reality of the situation is this:
They often don’t even finish reading the article that brought them to your blog in the first place. More
You’re a creative thinker, not a nitpicky grammar geek.
When you sit down to write you like to write, not dither around with mechanics. So when the words start flowing, you don’t want to get in their way by thinking about all those little details.
Not to mention the time factor. As in you can barely find the bandwidth to write as it is, let alone edit for grammar.
But you also care about being perceived as intelligent and credible. And you’re smart enough to know that for your writing to be taken seriously, it needs to come across as polished and correct.
The problem is, it’s been a long time since Mrs. Pendergast’s sixth-grade English class. And you were pretty hazy on the rules even back then.
Searching the Internet can quickly turn into a dive down a black hole of barely remembered terminology and examples that don’t really fit.
So what’s a blogger with good intentions but limited time and resources to do?
Well, here’s the good news. Language evolves, and as it does, so do our notions about what is “correct.” You might be surprised to learn that some of what Mrs. Pendergast taught you is now considered outmoded.
Of course there are still rules to follow, but read on, and you’ll find they’re no longer quite so intimidating.
And with a little repetition, applying many of them will soon become second nature.