Saturation

Rain rain, go away...I need to mow!

In meteorology, saturation is a state of 100% humidity, when the air cannot hold any more vapor.  Chemistry is the same, a solution so completely imbued that nothing else will dissolve into it.

We experience saturation on a daily basis when the Internet brings us more information than we can possibly digest. With so many writers putting so much out there, how do you grab the attention of a reader who might have already seen the same kind of material several times before he gets to you?

Interesting Headline

  • Your headline has to be an attention-getter.  One way to do this is to put in words that engender controversy or a difference of opinion:

Should Indoor Cats be Declawed?

Maybe only cat owners would be interested in this, but there are thousands of cat owners all over the country.  People with a strong opinion on the subject will be drawn to the title.  Make it even more “WTH” by twisting it a bit:

Should All Pet Cats be Declawed?

*Disclaimer: I am against declawing and this is just an example, so let’s not get into an argument over it.

  • Another way to do this is to offer a solution to a problem, or useful information. People love lists, so a number is a good attention getter.

4 Ways to Keep Your Cat from Killing your Computer

Potential reader?  Anyone with a cat who has stomped on a keyboard or knocked over a drink!

 

Good lead paragraph

 

  • It needs to let your reader know he has come to the right place, and promise more.

Look at these posts on wiseGEEK and Suite101.  The first starts with an answer to the question, followed by more in-depth information.  The second identifies the problem and then promises a solution.  Both paragraphs summarize the post, but they have a sentence that is designed to make you read more:

“ICE agents have a wide variety of duties under the law…”  Hm, what duties? You could stop here, but if you want to know what those duties are, you have to keep reading.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make your cat’s trip in an airline approved pet carrier more comfortable.”  Ditto.

  • Like the twist in the headline, you can make your lead paragraph a little WTH to get people in.

So starting with the headline:

4 Ways to Keep Your Cat from Killing your Computer

Your cat just plopped down on your keyboard, erasing the last twelve pages of your novel!  Why does he do that? To get your attention, of course.  You love him but now is not the time.  Below are four ways to train your cat not to touch your laptop.  Some of them require YOU to change your habits.

Now, put in four ways you can get your cat to stay the hell away from your computer.  They better be good, because your reader may be just inches away from calling Animal Control.

Use keywords

  • Scatter them throughout the article, making sure to get one in the headline and the lead paragraph so the reader will know he has come to the right place.

I’m not fond of blog posts that use tons of keywords, because they often end up looking like this:

Fatal Cat Diseases

There are many types of cat diseases that can be fatal.  Some of the most dangerous cat diseases are rabies, feline leukemia and feline infections peritonitis. Your vet can advise on the best way to prevent these cat diseases.  Owners of cats with cat diseases need to take special care of them. 

Keywords are useful for search engines, so when the reader Googles “cat diseases” your post will come up.  But you don’t want so many that it makes the copy hard to read, or sounds like you’re trying too hard.

Examples, comments, stories bring the post to life

  • If you want people to come back, make it personal.

Obviously, if you’re writing content for pay you’ll have guidelines that may not allow for this.  In your own posts, you can do whatever you want.

4 Ways to Keep Your Cat from Killing your Computer

Your cat just plopped down on your keyboard, erasing the last twelve pages of your novel!  Why does he do that? To get your attention, of course.  You love him but now is not the time.  Below are four ways to train your cat not to touch your laptop.  Some of them require YOU to change your habits.

1. Unplug the computer!  I discovered my cat loves to nap on a warm, plugged-in laptop.  He’s not as likely to do it when it’s cold and dark.  When I’m not using it, it goes off.  Saves energy too.

2.  Use aversion training when the cat approaches the computer.  Don’t let him come up on your desk; make that a no-fly zone.  I used a little spray bottle of water or an airhorn.  These work  well to discourage a cat if “No!” isn’t doing the trick.   No hitting or screaming, please. 

3. Give them plenty of distractions.  Gently remove them from the area and give them a box of tissue, toys or a paper bag to play in.  It’s much like distracting an infant from something you don’t want him to have. 

3.  Establish an alternative area for loves and pets.  The couch is a good place.  When you sit down to watch television, the cat will associate the couch with attention and will seek it out there.  Pay more attention to the cat when you’re not working. 

With time and patience, you can teach Kitty to stay off your computer. 

Got any tips to catch a saturated reader’s eye?  What makes you skip a post?  Share in the comments.

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