Make Them Pay Attention To Your Words, Not Your Typos
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Thanks for Attending 2016 Maine Wordcamp

If you’re here, you are likely looking for the slides and resources from Elisa’s presentation Make Them Pay Attention To Your Words, Not Your Typos from the 2016 Maine Wordcamp event.

Grammar Is The Greatest Joy

You can find a copy of the slides below:

Additionally, here are the links and resources referenced in the presentation, for further exploring:

The Two Secret Tricks Proofreaders and Editors Use:

  • When in doubt, read it out loud
  • Read backwards – focus on each sentence on its own, from the end of the document and back up, to break the narrative and focus on structure

Finally, the Q&A session, complete with more thought-out responses.  🙂

  • Question: In the WordPress spelling and grammar tool, does it force auto-correct?
    • Answer: No. It will prompt your to confirm each change it is suggesting, and offer explanation why it is suggesting those changes.
  • Question: What length is the best for engagement on articles?
    • Answer: It depends what the objective of your article is. Yoast SEO recommends articles be at least 300 words long to get traction on search engines, though that number is considered to be low by many content agencies. Most recommend at least 500 words, unless you have a graphic intense post. Engagement of likes and comments tends to be high on articles 700-1000 words, but they may not have as much impact. For example, what is the last Buzzfeed article that you talked about for weeks after you clicked like or share in the moment? Articles 1000-2500 words seem to be the new “hot spot” for making an impact on your readers, but you may not see as much of the “vanity metrics” numbers. Anything over 2500 is usually legacy or evergreen content, a meaty in-depth, well-researched article that you plan to reference as a cornerstone piece of thought or information.
  • Question: What length is best for paragraphs on articles?
    • Answer: Similar to length for engagement, paragraph length depends on the objective for your article. The rule of thumb for most writing online is “the more white space, the better.” In other words, people tend to mentally skim over or cancel out huge blocks of text. If you are looking for a more intellectual crowd, they will likely be more willing to dig into paragraphs of 5-7 sentences, but most average online readers (the Flesch reading ease of 6-8 grade) will prefer 3-5 sentences per paragraph.

      Additionally, when there are too many long paragraphs, especially in online writing, the brain will actually start speed reading. Meaning it reads the first sentence of a paragraph, and the last, and immediately infers what the message of the paragraph is. So don’t hide your good stuff in the middle.

  • Question: What is the best way to get people to click on our articles?
    • Answer: Much as it pains my soul to say this, the best way to get people to click is by creating clickbait. The way that you write your headlines is going to be what gets people onto the site. Think Buzzfeed or magazine covers. Portent has a great Title Maker tool that may jog your mind for ideas. Also, images. Both inline on the article and when you share it.
  • Question: How do you choose what audience to write for?
    • Answer: That really depends on what you want your content to “do” for your business or brand. Want to simple get more eyes on your site? A more general audience, the 6-8 grade reading ease, is the way to go. If you want to target your audience more specifically, in terms of technical expertise or intellectual and academic journalism, aim for a 9-12 grade reading ease. If you are going for Taleb level ego, feel free to write collegiate and above, and leave the rest of humanity to “figure it out.”

      This will also depend heavily on who your target customer(s) or reader(s) are, which you have likely determined in your business and brand planning.

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Thanks for attending!