You have between 3 and 7 seconds to convince your audience to click. This click earns you another 3 to 7 seconds to get them to read. And then — you have to keep them reading while everything else in the world competes for their time. How you write your content is as important as your topic to keep them reading.
These 6 proven strategies will make the 7 seconds work for you:
Stop Reading While You Write
Fun fact: A growing body of writers turn their screens off as they create content. They want to get their thoughts down — they know they can edit it all down and correct it later.
People love to read as they write. They want to be proud of what they put on the screen. They will stop and edit, re-edit, correct, almost sentence by sentence. Unfortunately, there are few less productive methods in writing.
Always-on self-editing slows writing but — more importantly — it dilutes your thought process. The best content writers develop new ideas as they write — they don’t stop and edit. They want to get ideas down first. Proper spelling and structure come after the content is down.
Delete Your First Paragraph
Consider your first paragraph your warmup. These are your stretches. You won’t get into your writing groove until you’ve written a paragraph or 2 down. The more experienced you become with the techniques we discuss below, the more your deletions will become edits to the first paragraph.
Pick a Compelling Title Before Your Write
Your title immediately provides you with a framework. Your title sitting at the top of the page provides a guidepost to your destination. Working to hone your title into a conclusion statement brings your mind into your topic — and gets you started more on point.
Know Your Conclusion Before You Start
Clients (and other readers) want your opinion and insight. And they want it fast — in the first line or at least the first paragraph. This demands you start your writing with a clear hypothesis. You can change as you go — but starting with a conclusion helps you gather your own thoughts, be pointed, and further develop your thinking.
Words ending in -ing are active. These words are more engaging — they serve to keep the reader interested. Words ending in -ed are passive. They make your writing more distant from the reader as the past tense is already gone.
Don’t Write: Talk through Your Keyboard
Conversations are casual. They lack big introductions and formality. You put your words out there bounded only by your thinking. Writing is formal. It requires a setup, an introduction, and boundless rules. These rules no longer apply to any online content. Talk through your keyboard instead of writing.
One more benefit — it will take you half the time to write the same or more content once you adopt this writing strategy.
Feel free to cheat. Rely on an editor to remove passive sentences. Use them to suggest shortening sentences. This also gives you more time to focus on content.
Top legal decision makers want to see compelling thought leadership and content. They have a deluge of inbound invitations — most don’t make it through the 7-second test. Your ability to break through and then deliver puts you higher on the list of people to call. And this is the beginning of an inbound lead.
Best in the market ahead.
The Mad Clientist