People who search for information on the Internet are busy just like everyone else. While they might click away when presented with a long article, they are much more likely to read a summary. The trick for you as a content marketing writer is to make your point quickly and concisely. Using formatting features such as extra white space, bolding, and bullet points can help the reader scan the summary to find exactly what he or she needs.
Know the Reason of Your Article Summary and What to Include
When planning your article summary, it’s best to have an idea of how you expect people to behave after reading it. For example, do you want them to comment after the summary with feedback? Complete a form to receive more information? Make a purchase? Knowing this information helps you tailor the message so you include only that which is most important. Beyond that, the purpose of any article summary is to provide a cheat sheet for the reader and keep him or her interacting with your content.
Choose Your Material Carefully and Keep It Simple
Once you have determined the purpose of your article summary, the next step is to read through the original content methodically to choose what to include in your summary. Have a pen or word processor handy to take notes of the most important parts in each section. You will have the opportunity to expand on the single words and phrases you jotted down when you start to write the article summary.
It’s important to keep your summary as simple as possible, even when the original material is scholarly or complex. Keep in mind that the summary is what people read to decide if they want to spend additional time on the article. You don’t want to alienate people with company jargon or complicated language. Another thing you want to avoid is answering every question a reader could possibly have about the content of the article. By keeping things slightly vague, it helps to entice the reader to explore the article itself.
The article summary is not the place to introduce new material or make argumentative points. The goal is to present the material in a concise way to encourage further reading, not to push a product, service, or point of view on someone. People often have a negative reaction when they feel others are trying to sell them something, yet respond with interest when presented with new information.
Edit Your Summary to Make it as Short and Simple as Possible
Even after proofreading your article summary a couple of times, you’re still not done. You must trim unnecessary words to make it even more direct and to the point. According to content marketing experts, a strong article summary should be no more than three to eight sentences in length. Some people choose to write a summary first and use that as an outline for the actual article. Regardless of your preference, be certain that you maintain laser-like focus in the summary to keep the attention of the reader on your content and not that of the competition.