The internet is full of content, but not all of it has the power to grab our attention, keep it for the length of the entire article, and convince us to take action.
However, there are proven techniques that can make your writing more engaging and enjoyable for the reader.
In this article, we’re bringing you five easy writing tips that will improve the blog content you produce and keep your readers engaged as they interact with it.
Let’s dive right in with a tip on proper writing structure.
Table of Contents
Use the TEEL Method to Structure Your Writing
A lot of blog posts start with a great idea which quickly descends into chaos because of poor execution.
But what if there was a method you could use that would guide your writing from start to finish and keep it engaging and fresh all the way through?
Well, you’re in luck.
Such a thing actually exists, and it’s called the TEEL method. Here it is in broad strokes:
Source: Fortis Agency
The TEEL method enables you to structure any topic you want to make in a few simple steps.
It’s so user-friendly that it’s still taught to students in academia to help them write compelling essays and papers.
But how does it work? Let’s break it down.
The purpose of the topic sentence (also called topical statement or statement sentence) is to inform the reader of what you will be talking about and introduce them to the subject at hand.
It works best when the sentence is direct and to the point, but doesn’t provide ALL the answers.
That makes it an intriguing introduction that motivates the reader to read on.
Let’s look at an example.
This section about title tags begins with a simple definition of title tags (the topic) and a brief description of how they can improve SEO.
The reasons behind this argument and what the reader should do to optimize title tags are not given here, so the reader needs to keep reading to find out more.
That’s when you give them your explanation.
This is the reasoning behind your argument. Here, you expand on what you stated in the topic sentence and elaborate.
In the above article on best practices for creating corporate wikis, the argument is given that visuals improve content readability.
The explanation for this is that people can retain far more information when it’s presented to them in visual terms.
This fact is even supported by real research, which is an excellent practice for the explanation part of your argument.
Once your reader is convinced that your argument holds true, it’s time to show them how they can apply this knowledge to their work or life.
You can do that by providing actionable advice or an example from the real world.
In the following example, which is an article about creative employee onboarding ideas, the author does both:
The section recommends turning employee onboarding into a bootcamp.
In the illustrative part of the section, the reader can find actionable tips on how to do that, as well as a famous example from Facebook’s Bootcamp for Engineers.
To wrap up your argument, simply draw a conclusion from what you’ve said so far and link it to your initial argument.
Here’s a good example:
This linking process repeats the opening statement of the section (don’t ignore pre-boarding when onboarding remote employees) and summarizes what arguments were made in the section.
And how about this link:
In conclusion, the TEEL method will help you structure your sections and help you flesh out the argument you want to make in a way that’s logical, actionable, and easy to comprehend.
Keep Your Paragraphs Short and Sweet
This is something you already know intuitively, but let’s put it out there anyway: people absolutely detest walls of text.
When confronted with writing that isn’t separated into digestible chunks, our minds simply refuse to process the information, and we soon become distracted and lose our place.
Just look at this monstrosity, for example:
Have you read a single word or did your eyes just naturally skip the whole thing down to this sentence?
By the way, the page above is an excerpt from James Joyce’s famous novel, Ulysses, arguably one of the most complex and difficult-to-read pieces of literature ever written.
After seeing just one page, you’ll likely agree with that sentiment.
Modernist writers like Joyce might have gotten away with writing walls of text, but modern-day content writers definitely can’t.
Their writing needs to be digestible, easily scannable, and resemble the way people actually talk if they don’t want readers to bounce from their post immediately in search of a more user-friendly article.
Like this one, from the masters of SEO, Ahrefs:
Do you see the difference?
This text is divided into shorter paragraphs of no more than three lines.
That way, the reader has a natural break between ideas to contemplate what was said and absorb the information so that it actually sticks with them.
Shorter paragraphs also make it easier for the reader to scan the article and find the information they came to your blog for in the first place.
That’s crucial because people who visit online content are looking for fast answers and advice, not entertainment or high art.
Once they see that it’s possible to find what they were looking for quickly and easily, you’ve got them hooked, and they’ll keep reading the article.
But it’s not just about keeping your paragraphs short. The secret to interesting, engaging writing is paragraph variability.
This, too, is something you instinctively know.
If every paragraph in a text is, let’s say, four sentences long, that structure quickly becomes repetitive. And that causes you to become bored and lose focus.
In contrast, let’s look at what happens when we change things up a little.
Adding a one-sentence paragraph every once in a while creates dramatic pauses and places a lot of emphasis on just one small idea.
So if you have something crucial to impart to your readers, consider condensing it into one sentence and isolating it as a single paragraph.
Creating spaces for contemplation, making your information scannable, and causing some drama once in a while are all good ways to keep your reader engaged and captivated.
You can do all of that simply by varying the length of your paragraphs.
So just hit that “Enter” key a little more often and see your words fly off the page.
Mix It up With Different Sentence Structures
Paragraph variability isn’t the only thing that can breathe some fresh air into your writing.
Switching between shorter and longer sentences, as well as simple and complex structures, prevents your writing from becoming monotonous.
It provides a better reading rhythm for your audience.
This is what author and writing coach, Gary Provost, has to say on this topic:
Source: Aerogramme Studio
He’s totally right, isn’t he?
It’s easy to lose focus reading that first paragraph.
However, once the sentence structures become more diverse, our attention sticks to the writing, all the way to the last word.
Provost’s ideas are actually backed up by hard evidence.
Recently, Ahrefs conducted a large study to see what kinds of articles do well with online readers.
They analyzed 24,000 blog articles that ranked in the top ten results on Google, meaning Google found them to be optimal in terms of both SEO and user experience.
Their findings were utterly fascinating, and we definitely recommend checking out their results to see what kind of writing internet users and Google’s algorithm like the most.
But for now, let’s stick to sentence structure.
The study found that a large proportion of poorly performing articles had sentences that were too long.
Source: Fortis Agency
Clearly, overusing long, wordy sentences isn’t the best way to grab your reader’s attention and keep them engaged.
Here’s what Ahrefs concluded:
We found that 43% of low-scoring articles have sentences that are too long. Then again, a stream of short sentences can feel jarring and choppy. Alternate between sentence length and read your copy aloud to see if it sounds natural.
Now, alternating between shorter and longer sentences is definitely a good start. But that’s not the only thing you can shuffle to provide the reader with a more engaging text.
Let’s see what else you can do.
For one, have a look at the way you start your sentences. Do you tend to begin with the subject (name, pronoun) and follow it with a verb?
If you do, don’t worry, that’s how most people do it.
Like in this paragraph:
Source: The Write Life
But just for the sake of variety, try to mix it up every once in a while. For example, the second sentence above could be rewritten:
Turning her head, she met his eyes for a moment.
It’s a small change, but it’s enough to provide a bit of rhythm and variety to the writing—as long as you don’t overdo it.
Finally, try not to be too reliant on just one sentence structure. If you notice you’re mostly writing simple sentences, focus on throwing in some complex or compound ones.
Here are a few examples:
So, as you can see, there’s a lot you can do to make your sentences more diverse.
Use these tips to keep improving your sentence structure and you’ll never write a boring passage again.
Good content should be a conversation. You want your reader to take on an active role and actually think about the arguments you’re trying to make.
An easy way to accomplish that is to address your reader directly, by writing in the second person (you).
Addressing your reader directly gives your writing a light, conversational tone and it mimics the way people actually talk.
And having a conversation with someone is always more engaging than reading words on a screen, wouldn’t you agree?
Let’s put it to the test.
Below are two pieces of writing. The first one doesn’t address the reader directly, but rather expresses some facts and invokes an abstract subject:
There’s nothing wrong with this kind of writing. It’s factual and provides the reader with the information they need.
But could it be more engaging?
Now let’s look at a content piece written in the second person:
So, which one of these do you like better? Is it the second one?
We like that one too. Let’s try to figure out why.
The first article addresses a large group of people, developers.
Now, if the reader really is a developer (the intended audience of the article), they might rationally understand that the article could potentially be valuable to them.
However, the second article addresses the reader directly.
The reader instinctively understands that this article will help them, specifically, and starts to form a personal interest in the article.
That’s a much more powerful connection than trying to appeal to a person by an abstract category, such as their profession.
And just like that, the reader is now pulled into your story and imagines themself as a part of it.
Before we move on, one word of caution. Being direct when addressing your reader is a great idea, but try to avoid being pushy.
As a content writer, your job is to suggest ideas and propose solutions. But, your writing can get a bit obnoxious if you present your opinion as the ultimate truth.
Don’t worry, though. You can easily avoid all of that simply by paying attention to the modal verbs you’re using.
Modal verbs allow you to present your arguments in different tones. They enable you to express things like obligation, necessity, or suggestion.
Here are some of them:
Source: English in General
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Imagine if this article told you that you must/have to/ought to always alternate between different sentence structures.
That’s quite different from suggesting that you could/might try alternating between different sentence structures.
In the first case, we’re positioning ourselves as the only source of truth and telling you what to do. In the second, we’re simply suggesting a possible improvement.
Remember, being direct is a great way to engage your writer in interesting conversation and motivate them to think about your arguments.
That being said, no one likes being told what to do, so don’t be too pushy with your opinions.
Support Your Writing With Facts
Our last tip is to be convincing with your writing by supporting it with facts. There’s a lot of misinformation flying around, so your readers will be looking out for articles they can really trust.
In fact, internet users these days are aware that not everything they read online is true and they are skeptical of unsubstantiated claims.
Source: Fortis Agency
Therefore, content writers need to support everything they say with evidence. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
For example, here’s an excerpt from an article where the writing doesn’t fall back on facts:
This section uses pure logic to try to convince us of their points. Everything that’s written here sounds about right, but where is the proof? Are we supposed to take the author at their word?
By the way, have you noticed another bad practice here? Perhaps the usage of modal verbs?
The author uses phrases like “you must empower” or “It’s critical that” to get us to believe them without offering any evidence.
Now let’s take a look at a different kind of writing:
The author of this blog post claims something and immediately backs that up with survey data.
If the reader is still unconvinced, they can follow the hyperlink in blue lettering and read the research for themselves.
This makes the claim more believable.
Citing research and including statistical data in your articles can make your writing more convincing, while also preventing you from making statements that aren’t truthful.
Of course, not everything can be backed up with studies and research, so what do you do when you can’t find any statistics to support your argument?
Well, you can try to find someone with real experience in the matter and retell their story. Like this:
In the above example, the author argues that employee onboarding is more engaging if managers are involved in the process.
They mention Greenhouse, a company where team leads hold presentations about the teams they lead and the work they do to new hires to help them understand the structure and relations within the company.
By providing a real-world example, the author has managed to prove their point to the reader (even without citing surveys or research), who now understands that this is a real practice that works.
To sum up, it isn’t difficult to convince your readers that what you’re saying is true and that your advice is sound.
To earn your readers’ trust, just make the effort to support your claims with data and examples from the real world.
In this article, we’ve provided you with a couple of fresh, actionable, easy-to-implement tips to make your writing more engaging.
We’ve shown you how to structure your arguments so your content flows better, the ways you can vary your paragraphs and sentences, and we’ve given you pointers for writing in a conversational and convincing manner.
All that’s left for you to do is experiment and see which of these tips fit your style and unique writer’s voice.
So just keep practicing!
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