Over the last few days I have had the opportunity to read through dozens of homework assignments from one of my courses.
This particular assignment was to write a blog post about foods that are good for brain health.
As always, it was a real education going through everyone’s work. The overall quality of writing was excellent. And it was amazing to see all the different approaches people took.
Different writers showed different strengths.
Some wrote amazing headlines. Some were particularly strong with the introduction, clearly setting up what was to come in the body of the post. Others were strongest when it came to the main part of the post, where they were talking about the health benefits of various foods and food groups.
The group as a whole was at its weakest when it came to writing the concluding paragraphs of their posts.
A few people did a reasonable job with their close, but most let their posts just tail off towards the end.
And in case anyone thinks otherwise… this was entirely my fault.
This is something I failed to teach during the class. For which I apologize. I’ll be sure to include more on this the next time around.
Here’s what I failed to say during the class…
Without a strong conclusion, you’re wasting most of the value of your post. This is true across the board. Doesn’t matter what your topic is. Doesn’t matter whether you’re writing to business owners or consumers.
In this case the post was about the various different foods you can eat that improve the health of your brain in some way, or improve your cognitive performance.
Most of the posts included lists of some kind, with descriptions of various fruits, veggies, berries, fish and so on. And then kind of stopped.
Without a strong conclusion, what does the reader take away?
As a reader who was been through a list of brain-healthy foods, I come out of the end of the post with a memory of having read a really interesting list of foods.
But within the minutes or even seconds, I’ll probably start forgetting items on that list.
The post felt interesting while I was reading it, but has now lost much of its value. I’ve begun to forget it.
But what if the author gave me something at the end I could take away with me?
To illustrate the point, here are some subheads you might use for that last part of the post…
- 3 Ways to improve your brain health today
- Why this matters to your overall health
- If you make just one brain-healthy change to your diet, choose this one
How you wrap things up with a bow at the end of each post will depend on the topic and your audience. But do something… don’t leave your reader hanging with no direction.
Finally, here’s something you can do when you’ve finished reading THIS post.
Yep, this is my close.
Go back over the last few posts, articles or other types of content you’ve written.
Now look at the last few paragraphs. Did you wrap things up with a “to-do” item for your readers? Or does the post just fade away?
If you didn’t write a strong close, do it now. Just for practice. That will help you get into the habit of always giving your readers a small gift at the end of every page. With a bow on it.
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