Hold the reader by the…

by David Harris on January 14, 2011

If you want somebody to read a feature-length story all the way through, you have one biggest challenge: preventing them from turning the page to another story or clicking to another website. Think of your audience in an ADHD age as something to lose. If they have started with you, you have the potential to keep them to the end, but it’s easy to throw that away.

Each step of the reading process is a place where a reader could jump ship. The headline is the first judgement point. The deck or summary is next. The story lede had better be compelling. The nutgraf had better make the promise. The body needs to stay engaging. The ending shouldn’t disappoint.

If you focus on each decision point, you can write to keep your audience and stop them choosing somewhere else to give their limited attention.

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