8 Improvements Readers Want From Online Writers:
1 - Stop With the Lists, Already:
9 ways to do this. 3 ways to do that. 1 stupid move that dooms you to failure. It's as if everything in our lives can be chunked into neat, easily digestible bits of information. Not true. It also suggests we've grown so stupid that we need numbers to recognize the start of a new thought. We always kind of figured that's why writers used paragraphs.
2 - Be Substantial, or at the Very Least, Less Vapid:
How many articles entitled X Number of Things to Never Say In a Job Interview are we supposed to see before we begin poking ourselves in the eyes? There are hundreds of thousands of you writing out there. For heaven's sake, please come up with something original.
3 - Be Specific:
We already know that it's bad for our careers to tell our bosses to go to hell. We'd really like specific and concrete examples of how your advice will help us. If you're making it up as you go along (like I am) then have the guts to admit it. If you use outside sources of information, then provide a link. If you're worried about us not coming back to your article once we follow the link, then improve your writing.
4 - Use Bigger Words in Longer Sentences:
We understand that you feel as if you need to write to the lowest common denominator, but how about throwing a bone to those of us who can read somewhere above a 5th grade level? That last sentence held more than 30 words and some of them were polysyllabic! Did any of you writers out there have trouble understanding it? What makes you think you're smarter than we are?
5 - Match Title And Content:
Bait and switch is dishonest and that's a bad thing. So, when you lure us in with a catchy title and then fail to deliver matching content, we call you bad names. Maybe you don't care if we call you bad names. But we want you to know, all the same.
6 - Quit Hiding The Product:
You probably need money to buy food and there's money to be made in highlighting goods or services. Have the wherewithal to hint, up front, that the information you're providing is a big, long, perhaps paid-for advertisement for a product that was given to you for free. Have pity on those of us reading at a 5th grade level. We can't always tell when you're pushing product. That's likely the point.
7 - Be Brave:
If you feel strongly about something, then say so. We're not going to start hating you and stop reading because your writing makes us think. In fact, it make us more likely to check your updated posts. You don't have to go all crazy-obnoxious-conspiracy-theory on us, but avoiding any trace of offense turns your words into the blandest of processed cheese-foods.
8 - Give Insights Into You:
You're in the wrong racket if it scares the pants off you to know that what you write might live forever. Yes, you have a reputation to market. Yes, you fear, somewhat justifiably, that any controversy you stir might sink you at a later date. We're not asking to see pictures of your bare bottom (nothing personal, we're just sayin'). But it sure would be nice if you let your light shine, if only a little. Think of the dead writers you admire. We bet none of them hid behind their words. Neither should you.
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