Tuesday, April 5, 2011

E is for Engage Your Reader: A to Z Blogging Challenge

E is for Engage Your Reader

If you are new to online writing, you've probably heard a lot about the value of engaging your reader and may even be wondering exactly what that means. Many new writers mistakenly think engaging the reader means giving a call to action. Sometimes, a call to action is needed to engage the reader, but that isn't always the case.

According to Merriam-Webster,  Engage is defined as:
5. a : to hold the attention of : engross <her work engages her completely> b : to induce to participate <engaged the shy boy in conversation>

Your job as a writer is to hold the attention of the reader or induce them to participate. So how does a reader participate?  Readers participate when they connect to with your work. They participate when they entertain your ideas and thoughts or when they make connections to things in their own lives.

Tips to Engage Readers

  • Write in the language they understand. Readers don't engage with pretentious words and jargon (unless of course that is the language of your audience)--they engage when the language  is easy to understand.
  • Add personal experience. Readers engage with writing that springs from personal experience. It builds a bond between the reader and the writer, at least for a moment. Never under-estimate the power of personal experience to engage readers.
  • Keep it relevant. Personal experience is a powerful tool to engage readers, but when you wander off to stories of Great Aunt Edna's false teeth, readers tend to disengage.
  • Give them something to think about. Even that article about cleaning the bathtub has room for thought. Present your information so it allows the reader to draw their own conclusions instead of telling them what they should think.


Anonymous said...

People love stories. A lot of people like personal stories. You write something with a great style, and even if you're an unknown, you can be a Frank McCourt.

Good tips. Glad I found you today through the A to Z. Today I began at the END of the linky list, and that brought me here.
Ann Carbine Best’s Long Journey Home

GigglesandGuns said...

Write as if they are there with you, living your story.