The Golden Rule of Blogging: Readability!
Is it me or have many blogs (corporate and otherwise) become over-simplified? I often feel like I am reading a fourth grader’s essay. On top of that, the information has been dumbed down to a single idea or two. I often feel like I am reading an edited article with some of the main facts removed. An old rule of thumb was that blogs should optimally be 500-700 words, but now even that seems too long.
Blogs are becoming so easy to read that they are hardly worth reading anymore. You’d get more titillating information from reading the ingredients in a package of chewing gum.
Why? There is so much competition online that most feel you need to be short and to the point. Your readers don’t have time or inclination to wade through a lot of information, points and arguments. You had best be making that point in the first sentence. This conventional wisdom has been driving a world of substance-less content.
So what? The dumbing down of content has created a huge opportunity. People are still hungry for substance–probably more so now than ever because blogging has become so watered down. Customers still need to evaluate products and make important choices. Online information has become a crucial channel for finding information, proving thought leadership and sharing all sorts of ideas.
But how do I get people to slow down enough to listen?
Every blog must be readable and skimable.
Look at this blog carefully. You can read it in either 30 seconds or 3 minutes. How? On the one hand, if you only read the bold and italicized words you can get the general idea of the post quickly. And that may be all the information you want or need. Or you may want to go more in-depth. You can do that be reading the rest of the blog to get further examples and reasoning behind the bold statements.
By writing your blogs to straddle the short and long forms you can have the best of both worlds. You can build your arguments and supporting documentation so that it is complete, but you don’t have to worry about losing you public’s attention. Go ahead! Be as boring as you want. As long as you make the main points stand out for the casual passer-by you will succeed in writing consumable content that is easily shared and discussed in online forums. You can even throw in a few complex sentences and delectable prose!
Really this is no different than any billboard advertisement. The large bold text pulls us in and the details get us to consider the product or service. Efficiency for both the writer and the reader is achieved. No one is pulled in only to find there is nothing to see, and writers can freely use all the space needed to fully explain and inform.
Let’s do something about weak blogging. It doesn’t benefit anyone. I am looking forward to skimming your next blog. Who knows I may be drawn in to read the entire thing.
Thought Horizon is a B2B solutions company dedicated to helping corporations leverage social media and analytics to improve market efficiency. Our approach to social selling includes working closely with marketing and sales to create custom solutions that produce measureable results. Learn more at Thought Horizon.com