How to write articles that people want to read

-- May 02, 2022 3 min read

What is the most important thing for a writer? Understand who your readers are and what your reader want. It is all about your reader and what value you can provide to your reader.

A while ago, I came across this video on Youtube about effective writing, which is a course in University Chicago. (Link here). The course is for academic writer, but I believe the rules are applicable to every writer that wants to excel.

In the video, Professor McEnerney talked about what actually happened when readers read and writers write and I call it the intersection of reader and writier. Say the reality of writing is that writing is actually a tool for the writer to think. It is the expression of the writer’s idea. And this is, I believe, what most people think. Writing is the tools to show the world your idea, to show the world what does your world looks like.

Writer and reader from different perspective

However, this is not the truth. Reader reads with their own expertise. They read your own article from their own perspective. And this is where the two worlds collide and the result is either they merged into one or the reader simply gives up reading because they don’t understand.

So the first rule of writing, speak the language of your specific reader. You need to understand what words they use and what background they have. Your task as a writer is to help your reader to understand, so that they can absorb what your idea into their own world.

The second rule is to provide value to your reader. To know what your reader want, first we need to understand how does knowledge work in the world. Professor McEnerney points out clearly for us.

This is what we think about knowledge. It is piling up overtime and there is always a foundation where we can reference to and say our new idea is valid because it has a valid foundation.

Knowledge increase with time

But in reality, knowledge is formed in a space, where the people interact and communicate with each other. In other words, knowledge is determine by a specific group of people. They agree on an idea, that idea becomes knowledge.

Expert determines what counts as knowledge

Now that group of people are your specific reader. And what do they want? They want to hear something they don’t know yet and solve their problems. That’s what keep them reading, because it solves their problem. This is value.

Now on effective writing, there are only 2 rules —

  1. speak the language of your reader, so they can understand you
  2. solve your readers problem