Posted in Content | 6-min read
"Did it end? Was that it?"
The time has finally come — the movie you have been eager to see since you saw the trailer months ago is finally out in theaters. Settling into your seat with your popcorn, chocolate-covered raisins, and oversized soda, the lights fade to black, and you're whisked away into a world of cinematic excellence. You're engrossed in the story. The colors are exquisite. The acting is top-notch. Suddenly, during a relatively benign scene, the screen fades out, the credits begin to roll, and the ceiling lights fill the packed theater with a warm glow. The movie is over…with no ending. No resolution. Every conceivable outcome hangs in the balance. How disappointing.
Many blog articles we read these days have a similar issue. They don't necessarily leave us wanting more, but rather thinking, "I guess that had a few nuggets of usefulness to it, but what gives? Aren't they going to put a bow on it send us off determined to put their wisdom into action for ourselves?"
Let's take a look at what makes a great blog article conclusion and how we can avoid some of the pitfalls.
1. Tie it Up, Don’t Just End it
Do you have a more significant point to make following all of the information you’ve served up? You need to be able to expound intelligently on how these details work together to make your point. Failing to do so leaves the reader feel unsatisfied without a compelling takeaway.
If you’re having trouble concluding your piece, there’s a good chance you just likely forgot your first main point in the writing process. Take a second to remember why you chose to write about this subject in the first place. What points were you trying to make that needed to be substantiated? Now is your chance to make such points.
2. Make it Evident
Have you ever read an article without a clearly marked conclusion? The ending starts to sound like an award ceremony acceptance speech that's been hurried along by the signal of a swelling orchestra movement. Because you don't know that this is the ending, when it finally does end, you're left as dazed as you were in that theater. But how do we make our conclusion evident? By merely letting our readers know.
Some writers choose to conclude their articles with an actual "In Conclusion" or "In Summary" heading. Others will use language within the body that casually suggests that the ending is nigh, such as "So, before we conclude here…" and the like. Whichever way is up to you, but make sure that you give the reader a head's up that they're reading an outro and not just an article that is about to collapse abruptly.
3. Don't Lolly Gag
There's a good chance you've experienced guests that take an agonizingly long time to leave. The party was a hoot, and you won't regret inviting a single guest, but the time has come for everyone to go. Although everyone else had left, there is one couple who feels the need to continue having a conversation even after having donned their coats and given their farewell hugs. You don't want to be rude, so you let them talk about "the next time we see each other" in the open doorway of your house while the winter's wind whips through your front entryway. An article's conclusion that overstays its welcome has a similar sensation. Despite there being no more substantive information conveyed, it just…won't …die. Please don't do this to your readers.
When writing a conclusion, understand the reader's expectation of a resolution. It is intended to tie up loose ends, not to create whole new ends in need of tying. If you have other points to offer, consider creating a section for them in the body of the article. Otherwise, wrap it up and hold your reader hostage no longer.
4. Quickly Summarize, Hitting the Highlights
If your article contains several points to the extent where you could foresee a reader jotting down notes about it, beat them to the punch by providing a summary rundown of the piece — the scores and highlights if you will. They'll not only appreciate having a "cheat sheet" directly from the source but having such a summary will increase the likelihood of them actually applying the wisdom you provide.
An excellent article summary doesn't require you to re-invent the wheel. Simply make a bullet-pointed list of each paragraph or idea summary that clearly connects to the information in the piece. If they need more clarification, they're more than capable of scrolling back up to re-glean your wisdom.
5. Don't Forget a Call to Action
To keep your readers from bouncing off of your company site or your author profile, recommend the next actions they should take in the conclusion of the article. If they've made it this far, they likely enjoy what they're seeing. You have their attention. Use it to your advantage!
Feel free to recommend that your readers subscribe to your newsletter, learn more about your company, or read other helpful articles in the same vein. You're not out of line for asking such. If they're still hanging out at this point, they probably expect you to point them in a new direction.
6. Ask Questions to Encourage Conversation
If you're looking to provoke thoughtful conversation in the comments section of your post or on social media, ask the audience a related question in the conclusion. Comments are not only a great way of hearing what your audience thinks about your work, but they will signal to social media platforms and search engines that your content is engaging enough to evoke buzz.
Asking your readers questions doesn't have to be complicated, but keep the questions deep yet relevant to the subject matter. Ask questions that allow your readers to flex their creativity (they love being able to do that) while elaborating on your points. In this way, you'll both come out as knowledgable authorities on your chosen topic or field of expertise.
A blog article without a clear conclusion is simply a list of ideas. Bringing them together to make your point not only reveals your grasp of your subject also but your understanding of its relevancy.
Remember, for a solid conclusion, you want to:
- Make it clear that the end is near (of the piece, anyway)
- Keep your conclusion concise
- Summarize what you just said, preferably in the order in which you just said it
- Hit them with actionable next steps
- Leave behind a great question on which they can chew
Happy content creating!