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3 easy ways to make your writing stand out as International Screen-Free Week nears

International Screen-Free Week (1-7 May) will encourage us all to unplug. It aims to promote mindfulness of our screentime, advocating for a healthier balance between tech- and non-tech-based activities.

Screens are ubiquitous in the modern world. You have access to live news and social media notifications 24 hours a day and, more importantly, so do your clients.

A totally screen-free week probably isn’t feasible, or even desirable, in most professions and the same is likely true for your life outside of work.

Your clients will be in a similar position, which makes it more important than ever that your online content stands out.

Your articles and posts are competing against a barrage of other content and rising concerns about screen use

The species’ recent rise in screen use has been accompanied by concerns that we’re becoming more impatient, less intelligent, anti-social, and in need of a digital detox.

A new book, though, Unlocked: The Real Science of Screen Time (and How to Spend it Better) looks to bust some of the myths around our digital age, and specifically the dangers of smartphone and tablet use.

It suggests that shifting the focus from screen time to screen habits could be the key. That might mean:

  • Not panicking yourself into digital cold turkey
  • Trying (and I’ve already failed at least once) to avoid the language of addiction
  • Objectively reviewing the evidence and finding a solution that works for you.

On the latter point, a recent survey suggests that two-thirds of UK adults support a ban on the sale of smartphones to those under 16. But would this address the main issues?

When producing content for your clients, you’ll understand from your own tech habits that your message needs to rise above a constant stream of rival content.

Or, to put it simply, your content needs to stand out.

Speak directly to your clients and deliver benefits from your headline to the call to action

1. Write a winning headline that clearly sells a benefit

You’ll have read before that, on average, five times as many people read an article’s headline as read the body copy. That means you need to grab your reader from the off. If you don’t, the rest of your content could go unread.

Your headline will need to do one, or all, of these three things:

  • Deliver news
  • Arouse curiosity
  • Promise a benefit.

Generally, headlines that promise a benefit are the most effective. (Remember, too, that this might be a blog headline or an email subject line.)

You have knowledge and experience to impart and you know that your wisdom will benefit your clients. Be sure your headline makes this benefit clear.

2. Use sub-headings to guide the reader through your article

Once you have your readers’ attention, you’ll need to keep it.

Be sure to address your headline immediately in your body text and then use subheadings to break down the benefit, gently guiding your reader through your content.

As we have already seen, your clients will have a lot of content vying for their attention and they are busy people too.

Inevitably, some readers will only skim your article. By ensuring your subheadings clearly outline the benefits you’re selling, even skim readers will leave with your key message.

3. Write a strong call to action so your reader knows what needs to happen next

You’ll need to be concise in all your writing. That means cutting out unnecessary words and being clear about your content’s purpose. This is especially important when it comes to the call to action.

Once you’ve guided your readers to the end of your article, it should be obvious to them what they need to do next.

Your call to action should be:

  • Clear
  • Simple
  • Specific
  • Linked to a benefit
  • Time specific.

Make it easy for your readers by telling them in plain language what they need to do next, why they need to do it, and when.

Clear messaging, with specific benefits resulting from specific actions, will ensure your content rises above the crowd.

Get in touch

Whether taking regular screen breaks or undergoing a social media detox, healthy tech habits are key to our physical and mental health.

Your clients might opt for a screen-free week in early May, and that’s fine. Just be sure that your content is the first thing that grabs their attention when their devices are switched back on.

If you’d like help making your content stand out from the crowd, the Yardstick Agency has a team of experienced financial services writers on hand to help. Email or call us on 0115 896 5300 now.

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