Three Steps to Write an Article That Is Read and Turns Your Reader into a Follower

Jessica Lynn

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Ifyou want to write words that get read, you need to grab your readers’ attention. And keep them there. This article is about how to do that. You want to write so that you motivate the reader to read all the way to the end of your post and then, take action.

We are all at our own pace in our writing practice.

Keep in mind that it’s a deliberate practice, and writing takes work. Below is an excerpt from one of the best books on writing, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott.

People tend to look at successful writers, writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially, and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much…

Not sure who ‘her’ is, but I can think of a few.

What does taking action look like for your readers?

  • Follow your advice.
  • Subscribe to your mailing list.
  • Buy your product, course, or book.
  • Buy what you recommend.
  • Share, comment, engage with your work.

Those are the main points.

If you can grab the reader and make them stay, you have the potential to turn them into a true fan. A true fan is someone who finds value in the content you give and will most likely buy a product from you because they want more of your knowledge and are willing to pay for it. You help them in some way. Otherwise, they wouldn’t stick around.

The words you write anywhere, whether on a blog post, an email, a product sales page, or your website, all matter to achieve these goals. This is called copy or copywriting.

Convert and connect

Your words have the power to connect with humans and convert them into fans, and if you don’t, you won’t be able to grow your audience and, thus, your business.

There are three main goals you want to focus on:

  • Headline
  • Body
  • Call to action

Set the stage

Every writer has some kind of ritual or trigger that gets them into the creative process and tells the brain, “Hey, you, it’s time to write.”

My process has developed over time and changes depending on what is going on in my life. One thing that doesn’t change is I write in the mornings.

When you sit down to a blank screen, the way to stay in the chair and finish the work is to come to your writing desk with an idea percolating. Sitting down to write with a specific topic, along with bullet points of what to work on, is one way to avoid writer’s block. When you are away from your computer, take notes when an idea strikes. Bring the notes with you to your next writing session.

Find a trigger. Here are some:

  • Caffeine — once you have your first cup, you know it’s time to sit down to write.
  • Reaching for headphones — this is a big one for me. I know I’m getting down to serious business, the deep work that writing requires when I reach for my headphones.
  • Exercise — after your workout can be a great time to sit down to write. You get your ya-ya’s out, which allows you to stay focused longer. On some days, I do this as well.

Below are the three things to focus on first.

1) Headline

You could write the most brilliant post in the world, but if your headline isn’t good, it won’t matter. Because no one will read it. Your headline needs to be both specific and intriguing. Specific so that the reader knows what the post is about, and intriguing so you don’t give away everything in the headline while also appealing to the reader’s emotions.

It is a tight-rope act.

One of the biggest reasons I won’t click on a newbie’s article is because the headline sounds boring, isn’t specific enough, doesn’t tell a story, or all three.

That is a missed opportunity to gain a fan. I have no idea if the post is any good or not, but the headline sure isn’t selling the article well.

If you don’t know what a good headline is, look to other writers. Scan their headlines. What grabs you as a reader?

Chances are, if someone else’s headline grabs you and other people as well — based on the engagement the story has — it’s a good headline. Now, write similar ones. This is one of those deliberate practice exercises — the more thought and practice you put into it, the better you’ll get. That is why it is called a “practice.”

When I first started writing headlines, I was OK at coming up with good ones, but since I’ve been paying attention to which headlines get noticed and which don’t, I’m much better are creating a headline that grabs.

Here are 801+ Power Words That Pack a Punch.

2) Body

Think of the body of your article as one interesting sentence after the next.The first sentence is only a tad more important than the next. Each sentence has to grab the reader into reading the sentence, and so on.

Sadly, the truth is that when a reader lands on your post, rarely do they read all the way to the end. You have to make them want to. You are literally fighting to keep them interested because somewhere along the way, you’ll lose the reader to a notification that pops up on their phone or a more interesting headline.

According to the Sticky Blogging course I took, there are three ways to start a post, making the readers want to stay.

Interrupt yourself, drop hints, or agitate the problem.

Interrupt yourself

Share an anecdote or story and then interrupt yourself, not finishing the story until the end. Come back to tie up the story toward the end of the article.

Here is a great example of this from the website Pinchofyum.com. You don’t know if the author quits her job or not, until the end of her post.

Drop hints

I drop hints in the beginning of my stories about when my marriage started falling apart. I start the article off with an anecdote about the ugly separation from my ex, not revealing — until the end — whether we are divorced, which is called foreshadowing.

Not until the end of the article does the reader know what happen. Here is an example of that,

How My Lawyer and My Husband Taught Me The Gift of Non-reaction.

Agitate the problem

Make the reader uncomfortable with the problem before you provide a solution toward the end of the post.

Make them uneasy with statistics, anecdotes, and rhetorical questions and problems. They give the answer.

What you are doing as a writer is creating a question mark in the reader’s mind propelling them to keep reading because they want to “close the loop.”

As humans, we want to “close the loop” of a problem that was presented.

3) Call to action

A call to action moves the reader to do something because they responded to what you wrote.

The action can include signing up for a free course, joining your email list, buying your book, or engaging with your content in some way — share, like, comment.

Keep your call to action simple and only offer one action at a time, don’t offer up all three. You will lose the reader, they will choose to do nothing if too many options are presented to them.

Readers want one choice when it comes to a call to action.

Change your call to action depending on what your post is about to align with what you’re asking the reader to sign up for. If you’re simply trying to build your email list, make the call to action something like, “Join my email list here.” If you wrote a post about how to make more money online, create a freebie for your reader and link it to your call to action, “Sign up for my free course on making money online.” Connect it to a dedicated landing page that gives away that course when the reader enters their email. You will collect email addresses faster than you know what to do with them.

Conclusion

When you convert your audience into real fans, these loyal fans are more likely to buy your products, services, and content.

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Writing on all things California and Texas. It unfolds here. Your daily dose of local news. From politics to food, from celebrity culture to current events. Follow me for the latest updates. Twitter: @girl_thriving

Los Angeles, CA
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