The University of Dayton describes attention to detail as achieving thoroughness and accuracy in accomplishing tasks, by paying attention to all areas involved.
It’s an incredibly valuable skill that professional writers use with remarkable success and expert bloggers leverage on to achieve monumental results.
This could literally transform your career – so get ready…
The Incredible Impact of Attention to Detail
That extra effort in ensuring every comma is in the right place has the potential of skyrocketing your online writing success. Seemingly trivial details can have as much impact as major aspects of your content.
i. Small Details Matter
UK tax authorities made a seemingly insignificant change to the wording of letters sent to people in arrears, stating that most other people were paying their taxes. This resulted in an 86 percent clearance rate for that year, compared to 57 percent the previous year.
This resulted in an 86 percent clearance rate for that year, compared to 57 percent the previous year.
That simple example illustrates just how every single aspect of your content- attention to detail- matters.
You should spend ample time carefully drafting each component so it delivers the intended results. That’s how professional copywriters command out-of-this-world rates while many others scramble for a few crumbs.
ii. Detailed Content Makes Your Story Believable
This is especially useful for creative writers who pen novels and poems, and even for script writers.
No one would get sucked into your story if the engineer in it doesn’t use such terms as capacitive reactance, frequency modulation and mass spectrometry.
Make the story so life-like that readers start believing it actually happened.
Take a look at some of the greatest books like Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
Real life is full of intricate details, and all manner of complicated plots and twists. And that’s exactly what readers expect in order to believe your story.
This also applies to other forms of writing: SEO, technical, blog, feature and copy writing, among others.
Is it a product review? Make sure every aspect that a potential buyer needs to know is covered. Is it an SEO article? Incorporate every aspect that search engines evaluate when ranking content. Is it a white paper? Be as comprehensive as possible and delve deep into the intricate details.
iii. Google Loves It Too
Gone are the days when you could just drop a few keywords within a totally unrelated article and get all the Google love you desire. Google’s advanced algorithms now consider the entire word cloud surrounding your target keyword, in a process called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).
What does that have to do with attention to detail?
When you write an article with attention to detail, you’re sure to include a whole host of words/ jargon/ industry terminology related to your keyword.
When you write about blogging, you’ll include multiple related terms like “SEO”, “content marketing” and “web copy.”
You’ll likely also mention notable bloggers/ online marketers, like Neil Patel, Pat Flynn and Gary Vaynerchuck. Several notable blogs would also appear in your writing, such as TechCrunch, Mashable and Lifehacker.
Such rich content has a greater chance of ranking high in search engine results pages.
iv. Greater Conversion Rates
Conversion Rate Experts transformed a simple landing page into a highly detailed and comprehensive landing page, which helped Moz increase annual revenue by $1 million.
That can happen for you too.
You would rather dedicate your efforts to crafting a few exhaustive articles (or at least, make sure your landing page is exhaustive), than crafting a whole bunch of short articles.
If your articles are so short that people don’t find the answers they need, they’ll go off searching for answers in other websites. Meaning you would lose visitors who could potentially turn into clients.
A comprehensive article, particularly a landing page, covers all the benefits of your offer and also addresses any misgiving someone may have.
v. Attention to Detail Can Raise Your Reputation
People assume if your content is so detailed and comprehensive, then you must surely know what you’re talking about.
It also makes people trust your opinion… only an expert can present thoroughly insightful content. You become a thought leader and many won’t have any problem seeking consultation from you.
Quite a number of bloggers don’t attach the title “expert” to their names, but they are automatically considered experts in their field, simply based on the attention to detail seen in their content.
They don’t go hunting for writing jobs in freelancing sites, but rather dedicate their time to crafting expert content on their blogs, or even through guest blogging. In the end, they are more likely to get hired when they approach high-paying clients.
Signs of Attention to Detail in Writing
It might be easier to win over less discerning readers even with weak content, but they too would desert you when they find a better writer. In other words, even the least discerning readers can identify quality when they see it.
i. Your Content is Comprehensive
Comprehensive content presents as much information as necessary to cover the intended topic.
This requires extensive research and even expertise in the area. Moreover, you should consider your target readers and how to communicate to them effectively (you would use a different approach when addressing SEO professionals compared to part time bloggers).
The last thing you should ever do is present inadequate content.
When you read some blog posts, you’re left feeling as if something is missing, or they don’t cover the topic in the correct way. Obviously, that shows sufficient effort wasn’t put into crafting the content or the writers simply lack the necessary expertise.
ii. Using the Right Words
A proficient writer will always seek out the right word – not just any bunch of letters.
Targeted and effective content is designed to convey a specific message to a target group of readers. If readers cannot easily relate with the wording of your content, they are less likely to get the message.
You must use the sort of words your intended audience uses, whether they are school-going teenagers, university students, working professionals or established entrepreneurs.
If you’re writing for bilingual speakers, why not drop in a few words in their native language? Like this saucy title (there exists a million and one articles online about philandering men, but this one exclusively targets Kenyan readers):
“Signs of mpango wa kando? Of Kenyan men who hide their wives”
Warning: using the wrong words can dilute the intended impact of your content, or even send a completely different meaning than what you intended.
iii. Excellent Formatting
The first thing people see when they click on your site is the structure of your content. A well-formatted article has short sentences, brief paragraphs, multiple subtitles and lists:
Short sentences = better comprehension
According to research by the American Press Institute, readers will understand 100 percent of your story if your sentences have fewer than eight words. If you go past 43 words, comprehension drops below 10 percent.
Just as with the sentences, paragraphs should have few sentences. You can even have one-sentence paragraphs. This keeps your content from looking like a huge block of text.
Subtitles guide readers through different sections of your content. Well-positioned subtitles show that the writer is interested in making reading easy and fast.
As much as lists help readers easily comprehend your content, they also show how organized your thoughts are as a writer. They show you have identified and want to highlight the key points.
iv. A Powerful Title
Only 20 percent of people who read headlines actually go on to read an article. This means a lousy headline could reduce that percentage even further.
And it might not even be that your content is irrelevant, but just simply that you haven’t captured the true essence of your blog post within the title.
Serious writers make an extra effort to craft an appealing enough title to pull in more readers.
However, professionals never use click-bait titles that promise what the content doesn’t deliver. You should easily tell what the content is about from a good title, but it would still create enough curiosity to make you read the article.
v. Pinpoint Accuracy
False information is sure to damage both you and your client’s reputation, as a writer. To avoid such, expert writers aggressively fact-check every bit of information they write about, especially facts supporting the main idea in the content.
Many people do make critical decisions based on the information they read online. They might buy a product you reviewed, choose to change certain lifestyle habits, or even vote for particular leaders. You could be literally changing the world with a tap on the keyboard.
Accurate information is always supported by data or citation of reputable sources.
vi. Emphasising Even the Most Insignificant Things
Lousy bloggers just gloss over mundane aspects and often just rehash the insignificant issues. Not so with proficient scribes. They don’t take anything for granted:
A seemingly insignificant email closing can produce higher response rates
The guys at Boomerang analyzed more than 350,000 email threads and discovered closings with a variation of thank you (thanks in advance, thanks and thank you) had much higher response rates compared to such closing as cheers, kind regards and best.
Basically, an expression of gratitude in your closing correlates with a relative increase of 36 percent average response rate, compared to other closings.
Using fewer sharing buttons increases shares
This sounds counterintuitive, since you might think offering more sharing options would produce more shares. On the contrary, less sharing buttons actually yield more shares.
Using odd numbers in titles increases click-through rates
Odd numbers appear more natural. Even numbers might give the impression that you padded on filler content to achieve an artificially rounded off list.
vii. Attractive/ Engaging Content
It isn’t enough to write quality, well-researched content, it should also be written in a reader-friendly manner.
Whether you’re writing a casual or more formal piece, the content needs to be attractive enough for your target audience.
Casual content should be engaging, humorous or relatable. This is because people don’t just read to get the information, but also want to have an enjoyable experience while at it.
That extra bit of attraction keeps them coming back for more, and even rereading your content.
Technical writing doesn’t mean boring either. It should be so well written that it inspires interest.
How to Become a Meticulous Writer
Writing intricately crafted content with attention to detail might seem like back-breaking work, but once you develop the skill it becomes second nature.
These simple strategies can help you become a meticulous writer:
i. Make a Checklist of All Critical Components Before Compiling Your Article
Never put yourself in a position where you find that you’ve almost compiled an entire article, but left out essential points.
First, list down all the key aspects that must be covered in your article. While compiling your list, figure out just how much space each aspect needs. Set out more space for the most crucial aspects.
You can also re-order your list, to create a more captivating flow of narration. You might place a teaser section at the start, to get readers scrolling down, and then have the major issues in the middle, and finally a conclusion at the end.
ii. Write What You Know or Get Information From Those Who Know
If you haven’t experienced what you’re writing about, you can’t put in as much detail as required. You’ll end up compiling a shallow piece that your readers could craft on their own.
If you have to write about an unfamiliar subject, seek information from experts in that field – not just any blog or website.
Sometimes you’ll have to turn down offers to write on particular subjects, since writing on something you don’t understand can damage your reputation.
iii. Read as Many Articles as Possible
As you read more quality content, you become more accustomed to detailed writing.
Go a step further to discover what makes them tick:
- Which types of sources do they get their information from?
- How do they present both complex and simple topics?
- What makes the articles stand out from the rest?
- Which topics are covered and why?
- Are the articles comprehensive enough or do they still leave unanswered questions?
- Who are the target readers and is the content well-suited to them?
As you study the best, you can’t help but become better.
iv. Update Your Skills and Diversify
If you haven’t noticed, the type of content that ranks high on Google these days is dramatically different from the years gone by. The leading search engine is demanding more quality for better ranking, and readers are also just as demanding.
The same case applies even in conventional jobs. Employers want professionals with a whole host of capabilities.
If you want to remain relevant in this age, your content has to reflect the complexity of this modern life. This means, you too should have multiple competencies.
For example, if you’re writing about farming, you still need to know a good bit about technology, considering the current automation of farming processes. You would also need to know a bit about marketing, accounting and business management, to give useful information on running a profitable farming venture.
In order to improve your skills, you’ll need to be open to criticism.
The only time you’ll never be criticized is when you’re perfect. Until you get there, learn to listen keenly to criticism.
v. Conduct Intensive, Extensive and Continuous Research
You can’t know what to focus on if you don’t know what really matters. That’s why you should continuously research widely.
Your research can simply start with evaluating how people interact with your content. You can even get their opinions concerning what they like or dislike about it. Always participate in forums and groups in your field, not just for exposure, but to find out more about what your target clients want.
Interact with your website visitors and target clients in comments and through social media. You’ll realize many of the things you value are drastically different from what they actually want.
If possible, invest in analytical tools that help figure out how well your content is performing.
vi. Overhaul Your Content to Produce the Best Results
Only on rare occasions can you write once and produce an impeccable final draft. Often, you would have to re-work the content severally just to get it right. And even then, you would still need a second set of fresh eyes to cut out fluff and refine it.
Here are a couple of tricks you can use to help you produce better content than you thought possible:
Write more words than your final word-count
No matter how hard you try, you’ll almost always have filler content that must be eradicated. To save you the trouble of topping up the word-count after eliminating bunches of unwanted text, just compile a longer piece than necessary.
Writing more content will also give you the privilege of selecting and presenting only the best parts.
Use a text-to-speech convertor or read your content aloud
When you listen to what you’ve written, you just might uncover something you missed while reading it mentally. Using a text-to-speech convertor, you can better identify typos and repeated phrases/ words that you typically wouldn’t notice.
Better still, have other people read it out loud to you and get their feedback (they don’t have to be editors or proof readers).
Write multiple versions of your content
Have you noticed some remakes of popular movies and songs turn out much better than the originals? What if your content could go viral if you just wrote a second version of it?
This might be especially useful when crafting the title. Draft a long list of titles that might be interesting to different audiences. List out as many versions as possible, then narrow down to the most captivating choice.
Even while writing your article, you might phrase sentences in different ways just to figure out the best choice.
Repurpose your content
Would your article appear better as a checklist instead of prose? A Checklist might make it seem more practical and actionable. It could also be more appealing to pressed-for-time readers who can’t read a lengthy article.
Maybe you should instead present the information in table format. Tables give an organized and easy-to-understand look.
Perhaps the content would be better understood in video format. Some concepts might require visible demonstration for better comprehension.
And what about audio format?
Write first, edit later
You don’t have to find the write word to say when writing your conte, sjut spin out whatever is in your mind and draft iot ouit and then edit the entire thing later. Sometimes you might even put in a few curse words that come up in your mind but tdo not worry about that because you will edit it all in the end. This can actually maek you writing more genuine and engaging and also seem more true to who you are. After you have written all that is in your mind, you will find that you have actually exceeded the intended word count with elitle eooftr.
You don’t have to search for the right word when writing your content. Just type out whatever is in your mind and edit the entire thing later. Sometimes, you might even put in a few curse words that come up in your mind, but don’t worry about that because you’ll edit it all in the end.
This can actually make you writing appear more genuine and engaging, and also bring out your unique style.
After writing all that is in your mind, you’ll find that you have actually exceeded the intended word count with little effort.
vii. Focus on the Key Purpose of Your Content
When you lose focus, you end up adding irrelevant information, and presenting facts with little supporting evidence.
Focusing on the key purpose of your article, would force you to delve deeper into the topic and uncover more information.
Keep this in mind the next time you come across a particularly difficult topic with little sources from which to gather information. In such instances, lazy writers choose to drift off topic instead of doing further research.
Once you develop the skill, attention to detail can transform your writing career. Your current client who is paying peanuts is sure to notice the change and might even start giving you tips in appreciation.
You would have an easier time winning bids as your proposals would also be more polished, helping you get more clients.
Now go forth and transform your life.
Victor Nyorani is a freelance writer and founder at iscribe.online