Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Using Numbers when Writing Articles

How to Catch People’s Attention

People generally read articles to gain information. They need to know how to do something or a title catches their attention. In our rushed society an article that is short and simple to read is preferable to long involved directions. This is especially true when searching for help on the internet.

Using Numbers in Titles
I have found that using numbers is effective in catching readers’ attention. In fact some of my most-read articles have a number in the title. Here is one I named 20 Facts about Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s averaging 1000 reads per week. Other top performers include 10 Types of Teenagers and 10 Tips for Long Haul Flights.

Numbers Simplify Articles
When people see an article that refers to 10 tips or 12 ideas, they assume it will be laid out in a simple manner with brief, easy-to-understand points. This idea can be used with virtually any topic and will help divide it into manageable sections.

When to use Numbers
Numbered articles are particularly good for using in the following situations:
· How to articles – 5 Easy Steps to Unblocking a Drain
· Basic facts articles – 7 Little Known Facts about Labradors
· Light-hearted articles – 8 Gross Thoughts about Digestion
· Diagnostic articles – 10 Signs of Heart Disease
· Self help articles – 6 Steps for Getting out of Debt

Article Categories Overlap
In many cases, an article may fit into more than one grouping and this is to be expected. Some websites permit an article to be placed in more than one category and this will allow for wider exposure.

Number the Points
Divide the article into short paragraphs that stand alone. Then number these and make sure they follow on in a logical sequence. The number of paragraphs will give you the number of points for the title. Be sure to include an introduction and conclusion and then sit back and wait for the reads to come rolling in.

Whether an article is for a church magazine, a secular magazine or the internet, it adds appeal to use numbers in the title. Readers expect it will be concise and simple to read and will often choose to look at it on this basis.

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Visit her at Debbie Roome or read some of her work at Suite 101 , Take Root and Write and Faithwriters.

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