All writers want someone to read what we write. We may not admit this openly, we may dress up our explanations of why we write in more noble sounding language, but the bottom line is: we want to be read.
In this post, I’ll give you five simple ways you can get more people to read what you write.
- Get clear about who your writing is for. Many writers are completely out of touch with their own audience. Put more clearly, they don’t even know who the audience is. Get clear on who it is you’re writing to, and keep them in mind while you’re writing.
- Write about things your tribe is interested in. I know this sounds like the simplest of advice, but I’m astounded at how often it is ignored by writers. Just because you are interested in a subject, don’t assume that your audience will be. How do you know? Once you’ve figured out who your audience actually is, it’s pretty easy to see what they’re already reading. Pay attention to the kinds of blog posts, books, and discussions that are already popular with your intended audience. Write like that.
- Use short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs. Yes, I am once again repeating the advice of Hemingway. If it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for you and me.
- Use magnetic headlines. The headline, or post title, is the primary tool at your disposal for persuading people to read your stuff. If you write pithy, provocative, persuasive headlines, people will read what follows. Write boring headlines, and people will skip you without a second thought. I’ve written several posts about how to write headlines-you might want to read them.
- Use the momentum of popular trends. One of the most popular blog posts I have written in a long time is entitled “The Stephen King Guide to Writing As a Business”. Why did I write this post? First of all, because I admire Stephen King and I’m currently rereading his book On Writing. Secondly, I knew that he was on the minds of many other people (because of the new TV miniseries based on his novel Under the Dome.) And sure enough, I have received “search engine love” for writing that post. You can do the same. All it takes is a little bit of thinking about what is going on in popular culture right now.
Follow these five simple points, and do it consistently over time, and you too will find that more people are reading what you write.
Question: what techniques have you successfully used to grow your audience?