I was recently asked by @mjuraj for advice on how to write something more engaging, and about what guidelines I follow. Before he had asked, believe it or not, I'd never really thought about it!
Not wanting to leave a fellow developer without answers, I started to think:
What guidelines do I follow in my writing?
Whether we know it or not, we all have our own guidelines that we use while writing. You may never let your paragraphs be longer than four sentences, or may have a very profound use of commas; whether it is good or bad form, guidelines have a strong role in the way we write.
I am no different, and have my own ideas and guidelines that I follow when composing dev.to posts, tweets, and even commit messages.
So, now, for my opinions and answers on how to write more engagingly.
A strong part about solid writing is motivation, and writing about something you love and want to share with others is the perfect way to get some. Writing about something you don't enjoy can cause your writing to become careless as the piece goes on, leading to less engaging writing.
For example, I love Swift and Rust, and feel I have many interesting things to share, so you will often find me writing about those two languages.
TL;DR Find something you love, and you'll want to write.
Nobody wants to read a post written by someone bumbling about something they don't understand, like a front-end UX designer writing about back-end software they have never touched before.
Proving your credibility is one of the largest parts of engaging your audience, and showing them you know what you're talking about will allow you to do that quickly.
TL;DR Prove you know what you're talking about, and the audience will listen.
At school, I am a wall-of-text writing guy. When I write here, or for other platforms, I make sure to keep paragraphs short and to the point.
Nobody wants to be bombarded by a wall of text, and concise paragraphs help readers become engaged by letting them understand your points quickly.
TL;DR Keep it short and sweet, and give the readers what they want.
If people wanted to read monotone technical documents, they would ... well, they would read monotone technical documents.
When writing your post, remember to add a splash of personality, such as a joke, a jab at something, or a bit about yourself. Let the readers know that you are human too, or give them a laugh, and they will read more comfortably.
TL;DR Give the readers a piece of yourself to draw them in.
This does not go for more professional types of writing, but in posts such as on dev.to and Twitter, speaking to the audience will make them for interested in your post.
By making the audience think, it helps them remember your writing, and maybe even leave a like or comment; a type of engagement.
TL;DR Make the readers think.
You all knew this was coming: just as your teacher stressed in grade school English, it is important to keep your writing clean.
Readers do not want to see countless grammar errors, as it deters them from believing you are credible. Clear, professional-esque grammar and style engages the readers through helping boost your credibility.
TL;DR Even though it can be annoying, make sure your grammar is clean and professional.
So, I've summed how I engage readers into six points:
- Find Something You Love
- Know Your Subject Well
- Keep It Concise
- Have a Touch of Personality
- Speak to the Audience
- Make It Clean
I'd like to thank @mjuraj for coming to me with his questions. It was an honor to be contacted!
Discuss: These are just the ways I engage readers. What is your advice?