I’m going to let you in on a little copywriting secret today right off the bat-are you ready for it?
How you format an article can sometimes be more powerful than the actual words on the page.
Just think about how you read things these days:
- Where you get your news from around the Internet
- How you communicate with others through text and email
- The amount of words typed in your average Facebook post
- Your obsession of watching videos and streaming content
Add all of these things up and it tells us one simple thing- humans are becoming lazy. The Internet has so royally spoiled us over the past decade that we hardly ever bother reading old-school news reports anymore.
Heck, as a society we barely watch the news on TV.
That’s because everything we need to know is right here at our fingertips. We follow folks on Twitter, read a few social media posts and watch a video or two…and our current events time for the day is officially over. Just like that.
So what does that mean for you, a writer? Let’s talk a little more about that secret I just shared.
If you look back up to the top of this page, you’ll see that I’ve used a good bit of formatting so far in a variety of ways:
- There are extremely short paragraphs
- There are two bolded sentences
- There are two sets of bullet points
- There are several sentences underlined
- There are lots of questions directed at you
Even though you don’t realize it, every time your mind sees one of the things mentioned above, it automatically pauses for the smallest of milliseconds. And this brief stop is just enough for you to register that this page is extremely easy to read…even though you’re not really focused on the actual words. It’s the optical illusion of the layout that makes this page more appealing.
The Magic of Proper Formatting
So when you’re writing for a client on iWriter, you need to incorporate your own form of magic to keep your readers interested. Part of that comes from transitioning nicely from one sentence to the next and keeping your paragraphs really tight, but the formatting also plays an equally important part.
For example, you might have noticed that I started adding sub-titles to this tutorial as well- that’s just another signal that helps your mind break up the page into more digestible sections. The more sub-titles, the better the page seems to flow, even though all the content will be exactly the same as it was a few seconds before.
Using Formatting to Your Advantage
Sub-titles also work nicely when you want to get your client’s keyword front and center for the reader, yet you don’t have a whole lot to say on any one subject. So you create a series of short paragraphs with sub-titles and the page still has a very readable feel to it.
Other Types of Formatting
There are also a few formatting types that you should be aware of, even though we don’t use them here on iWriter. Inserting photos, videos, charts, testimonials, diagrams and infographs can also make a page appear to be a lot more appealing, especially when they’re used in longer articles.
Formatting Issues to Avoid
It is important, however, that you never over-format your articles to the point where the natural flow is broken. For example, I introduced each bullet point before adding them in and I always completed a thought before adding another sub-title. Formatting only works if your content works with it- so don’t think that it’s a way to get out of doing your homework on each article.
Educating the end-reader always comes first…no matter what.