The 10 Second Rule:
How to Write for Diagonal Readers

stopwatch

If you count the number of online news sources, blogs, emails, instant messaging conversations and so on that the average person reads every day, it amounts to a massive amount of textual information. So no matter how great the substance of your content, you are going to be subjected to the 10 second rule.

Let me explain. Essentially, by the time you finish this article, you’ll know how to write in a clearer manner so that the average reader can understand the gist of your content in 10 seconds or less.

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Writing Headlines for Regular Readers, Search Engines, and Social Media

When writing headlines for an article there are three different kinds of readers that you can optimize for:

  1. You can write for regular readers.
  2. You can write for search engines.
  3. You can write for socially driven sites.

In an ideal situation you would be able to write a title that fits all three categories but that is rarely the case. There is a marked difference between the different kinds of readers and that’s why you need to market your content to them in different ways.

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Is it OK to Write for Digg?

Digg BaitingThis is the first post from Digg power user Muhammad Saleem, who will be offering tips about creating content that appeals to users of social media news sites.

Back in January, Ethan Kaplan proposed a new term to describe certain sites:

Made for Digg (MFD), just like Made for Adsense sites, these are sites that are specifically formatted as Digg bait…

While people often argue that there is something inherently wrong with content that is specifically designed to be consumed by socially driven sites, I was probably one of the first people to go on the record arguing to the contrary, and the reasoning behind my stance is simple. For content to be successful on Digg, i.e. for it to be classified as “Digg bait,” it really has to appeal to the community and it has to incite a passionate response from the users, whether the response be good or bad.

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