Michael Stelzner asks How Do You Capture Skimmers over on his Writing White Papers blog today, and it got me thinking. It’s true, everyone’s busy, and admit it, we don’t read things carefully, we skim. So what’s a writer to do?
Michael suggests using lots of good subheadings and short paragraphs. I’ll add this:
Use Bulleted Lists
Make a list. Bulleted lists, either numbered or not, make it easy for skimmers to read your paper, ezine, blog post. Case in point, here’s how you format for skimmers:
- Break up your writing with subheadings
- Break up your paragraphs into shorter ones
- Use lists whenever you have more than three items
- Be sure to identify your list with a subheading
Here’s another tip: I’ve seen writers put the number of words at the top of an article along with the minutes it takes to read it:
Writing for Skimmers
(c)2007 Patsi Krakoff, Psy.D.
163 words, reading time: 1 minute
This reassures people in a hurry that they have time to skim your work. What do you think about this technique?