How to Write Copy for Those Who Only Skim

Written by: Phillip Nones

Let’s face it, there are a lot of people out there who “skim” rather than “read.”  The best way to respond to that reality in content marketing is to prepare “scan-friendly” blog posts, emails, social media posts and other content.  Here are a few ways to help make that happen:

Punctuation – Periods, commas, colons, ellipses:  use these and other punctuation to direct eye traffic, add emphasis to your words, break up long sentences – and generally build momentum for your message.

AVOID EXCESSIVE USE OF ALL UPPER-CASE WORDS – It might draw attention, but it makes your message harder to scan and read.  (Plus, it usually looks cheesy.)

Long sentences?  Avoid them as much as possible.  They’re difficult to scan.  Plus, it’s a pretty simple edit to transform longer sentences into smaller, bite-sized pieces.

Make essential information easy to find – things like web links, dates, times and location are details that people find important and expect to see easily without having to hunt for them.  Using buttons or other artwork in various colors, sizes and shapes to present this information helps further.

Make your point several different ways – a graph, comparison chart, photo or testimonial can support your message very effectively.  Often, those will catch the scanner’s eye better than mere words.

Photo captions – People are naturally drawn to photography … and curiosity leads them to read the corresponding captions, too.  Use those “hot spots” to drive your messaging and encourage additional reading.

Taking the time to make your content scan-friendly is worth the effort – and will likely increase engagement with your content marketing pieces.


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