The other day I saw someone with a shirt reading “Eppur si muove” (“And yet it moves” in Italian). Supposedly, the 17th-century Italian polymath Galileo Galilei said these words under his breath after the Roman Inquisition forced him to recant his claim that the Earth moved around the Sun. But while it makes for a very compelling vignette, there’s just one problem: there’s no proof Galileo actually said it. In fact, the quote first appears over a century after his death, meaning it’s highly likely to be spurious. Yet as Ralph Keyes points out in The Quote Verifier, this quote has become central to Galileo’s intellectual legacy. This is a prime example of why fact-checking is so important.
According to a recent study, 59% of links shared on social media aren’t actually clicked on, suggesting that they were shared on the basis of their headlines alone. Writing headlines is an often-overlooked part of the writing process. After working hard to craft a stellar piece of authoritative content, it can be really tempting to fashion a headline out of the first thing that springs to mind. This would be a mistake. Good headlines are an indispensable part of authoritative content, and today we’re going to look at how you can make your headlines shine just as brightly as the rest of your content.
When you’re writing for the web, you never quite know who’s going to come across your work, and the reality is your content will be seen by people outside your target audience. On the whole, this is a good thing—more eyeballs mean more opportunities to demonstrate your authenticity. But at the same time, this also means that you should try to make sure your content is accessible to a wider range of people. After all, you can have the best SEO in the world but it won’t do you much good if most of the people who view your content don’t see why they should care about it. Luckily, the art of contextualization can help you explain complex topics in a way that’s thorough yet approachable.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about the importance of producing high-quality content. But this requires more than just authenticity and authority. Your content also needs to be structured effectively. If you don’t pay attention to structure, your content might be less impactful than you’d like. Writing a well-laid-out blog post is a bit more complicated than the five-paragraph essays that our high-school English teachers loved so much. Today, we’re going to look at how you can structure your content for success.
An interview with Jenny Town of 38 North.