5 ways to avoid killing readers with your content | The Write Idea

5 ways to avoid killing readers with your content

By Renae Gregoire

The Internet is like our oceans ... filled with garbage.  

One day, while I was out on the Internet, doing typical Internet-y things -- Facebooking, following links, reading articles -- I discovered what seemed to be an intriguing article, both by the vivid image and promised topic: 10 colors that increase sales, and why.

Sounds good. Looks nice.

Cool images draws you in but ....

I decided, "Oh, my clients and I could use this information; let me check it out." 

So I clicked in, expecting to learn which colors increase sales. 

<rant>

What I got instead was nothing more than a rundown of what colors "mean" or "represent" in terms of buyer psychology. 

And even that information was weak or off!

Here's one example.

That's it? What are complimentary colors? Do you mean complementary?

I don't know what complementary colors are, but I DO know what complimentary colors are: 

"Red, you look marvelous!" squealed Blue. "And Pink and Yellow! Oh my! You look delish!"

"Oh stop it!" giggled Yellow. "You know you're the bees' knees, Blue!"

complimentary colors

Image by hababoon at Sketchport

Also ... are you saying that blue alone will give lesser results? Where are the numbers?

Grrr.

Another example.

You can’t go wrong with pink.

So … you are suggesting, basically, that all young females will respond positively to pink and, vis-à-vis the article's title, my sales will be better than if I used any other color?

I’m not really a feminist, but this content smacks of ignorance, male and other.

One more example:

Ummm … why is yellow dangerous?

Why is it powerful?

How does using it increase my sales?

GRRRR.

I spend a lot of time online, both for my own pleasure and learning and as part of the research I do for clients.

And this kind of lazy writing is everywhere!

Frankly, it pisses ticks me off. 

I’m so tired of following links to the promised land and finding either nothing of substance or a rehash of the same tired information everyone else has already shared.

This type of information is KILLING the Internet, just as surely as pollution is killing the creatures in our oceans.

</rant>

Now, let me equip you to be better, to do better, than 90 percent of content producers on the Internet!

Five things to check to to avoid polluting the Internet and killing your readers

Please, I beg of you.

Before you publish your next article, run it against these five checks. 

If you do, you'll not only be a better human; you'll also avoid killing me your readers, and further contributing to the enormous amounts of fluff and pollution online.

1. Check the title of your piece against the content inside of it.

Does the content deliver on the promise of the title?

If not, huge mistake.

Terrible mistake!

Please fix it.

Even if you discover the mismatch at a late stage, changing the title isn’t hard.

2. Check that your content provides proof of promised results.

“Mix blue with complimentary colors for best results.”

What kind of results are we talking about here? Conversions? Sales? All possible actions?

(And P.S. … It’s complementary, with an “e.”)

3. Define terms readers might not know.

Speaking of mixing blue with complementary colors – what are complementary colors?

And which colors are complements of blue?

4. Check your assumptions and generalizations.

When you're talking about gender and other hot-button demographics, like religion, or sexual preference, please don't generalize or assume.

Bottom line: not everyone is like you.

5. Look for – and answer – unanswered questions.

Like … why is yellow dangerous?

What does “overdoing it” mean when it comes to the color red?

I could go on but ... time is precious, and I don't want to waste yours.

--

Thanks for reading. 

Thanks even more for acting and making the Internet a better place for us all.

P.S. This is post #10 in my 30 Day Blogging Challenge!

P.P.S. Curious? Join my tribe to learn more!

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About the Author

Renae Gregoire is a content mentor and clarity expert changing the world one outstanding leader at a time. The coaches, consultants, and experts she works with have big visions for creating transformational change--if only they could create that content! Her work typically involves a blend of strategy and wordsmithing, with a heavy focus on the reader's perspective. Renae is also the creator of the Blog Post Inspiration Deck, the Blog Your Brilliance online program, and the Content Coaching Club.

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