Your next perfect client is out there. Right now. There she is – a friend of a friend, or the former client of a related practitioner, or the second-cousin of your dog walker’s teacher. She’s scrolling through her social media feed when she spots the title of your blog post that seems to answer the exact question that’s been keeping her up at night.
This is it. This could be your first chance to impress her, to show her what you know, to reveal your personality and unique approach. This could be the start of a relationship that brings you closer, bit by bit, blog post by blog post, until she recognizes that you are the perfect person to help her.
Or this could be your last chance. There may be something about your blog post that sends her in the opposite direction. Now sometimes this is exactly what needs to happen. Maybe your approach doesn’t appeal to her, or maybe your personality rubs her the wrong way. Either way, it’s best she keep searching because any work you tried to do together would most likely fail.
But what if you ARE a good fit, but she couldn’t see it? What if something about your writing is what drove her away? It may have if you have any of these three reader-repelling habits:
Reader-repelling habit #1: The long and winding sentence
You probably already know if this is one of your habits, but a sure-fire way to spot it is to read your work out loud and notice:
- Do you run out of breath before you finish any of your sentences?
- By the end of the sentence, do you forget what the sentence was about?
Relationships are built on feelings. If a long and winding sentence leaves your reader confused or disoriented, they will associate those feelings with you the next time they see your name.
Watch the video below for an example. You’ll see how I actually add more words to break up and clarify the ideas in a long and winding sentence.
Reader-repelling habit #2: The stuffy sermon
Do you talk at your readers instead of with them? Do you feel like an imposter so you try to sound smarter to compensate? Do you tell them exactly what to do instead of encouraging them to try your ideas (and explain why)?
Preaching to your readers creates distance between you. They can feel like you don’t understand them or where they’re coming from.
When you’re reading your blog post out loud, imagine that perfect client sitting across from you. Ferret out any jargon – words or expressions that only people in your industry would understand.
This isn’t about dumbing down your writing; it’s about using plain language – clear terms that mean the same the everybody.
Instead of preaching to your audience, remind them how you’re connected. Are you a member of your own target market? Have you overcome the same problems you know help others solve? Or can you share a client story of how you’ve helped someone just like them?
There are plugins (like Yoast SEO) and apps (like Grammarly and Hemingway) designed to assess the readability of your posts. Use these to stuff the sermon and better connect with your readers.
Watch the video below for an example of how I turned a preachy sermon into a helpful suggestion.
Reader-repelling habit #3: The big bad wall of text
Nothing sends me away from a page quicker than this one. When I see big blocks of text with no break on the page, I immediately feel a sense of heaviness and overwhelm. It seems like way too much work to get the information I’m looking for.
When you preview how your published post will look in your blogging platform, count how many lines of text there are before a break. I try to keep most paragraphs at five lines at the most, but usually three or four lines.
Keep in mind that your reader may have chosen to display text at a specific size on their computer, or they may be visiting from a mobile device. That’s why it’s important to break up the text in other ways, such as:
- Lists – You can use bullets for most of your lists (like I have here). The only time you’ll want to use numbers is if you’re presenting a specific number of points (e.g., here are three tips for better sleep, or here are my top 10 uses for apple vinegar), or if it’s important people follow your steps in order.
- Images – Photos, charts and icons are another way to create visual interest and give the reader’s eyes a break.
The video below shows how I divided up a big bad wall of text to make it easier for the reader to digest the information.
If you want your next post to woo – not repel – your perfect client, banish these bad writing habits. Instead of confused, preached to, or overwhelmed, your readers will feel clear, connected, and comfortable.
P.S. Want to write high-quality content that has more impact, attracts more ideal clients, and makes you more money? Register for my FREE webinar, Write Less, Earn More With Blog Posts That Are Easy to Write and Irresistible to the Perfect Clients For Your Health and Wellness Business.