As an advocate for the reader, I’m sensitive to written content because I want it to engage not repel the reader when they see it for the first time. Writing content takes a lot of time and energy, and I want that investment to pay-off by having the audience actually read the written piece versus dismissing it because its ill-fitted at first glance.
Graphic design has something to do with it, but it’s mainly the written content that is judged harshly. The length of the piece, the style of the fonts, the way the words are laid out on the page and so on. You already know the headline, if applicable and first sentence are the most important. They must be concise and holistic to give the reader a brief about the entire piece.
Put yourself in the reader’s shoes to determine what they need to know versus what you want to tell them. Give serious consideration what they already know about the topic and if it’s necessary to spell out things that are common knowledge in your industry. For example, younger readers think 12 point font screams, similar to the way they interpret all-capitalized letters, while older readers find 10 point font too small and frustrating to make out. Another example is if you are writing content and want to relay you have a skilled team, exceptional service and quick delivery, there is no need to include a paragraph that describes those components because the words are already descriptive.
To provide a positive experience for your audience, consider these elements when writing content.
- What do they really need to know?
- What font size and style best suits them?
- Are there acronyms that need be spelled out and explained?
- Is the point of the message in the first sentence and paragraph?
- If instructional, have the steps been tested for accuracy?