Even if you are not a Eurovision song contest enthusiast, it is hard to stay out of the commotion that it creates. Especially if you find yourself in Europe. Weeks before the competition ensues, conspiracy theories emerge about the order of each country’s appearance.
Why? Well, because the later in the competition a country appears, the more the song sticks in viewers’ minds and the more votes it receives. Whether you are a music aficionado or not, there is a lesson to be told here. People’s working memory span is short, and they tend to recall the most recent information presented to them.
Now, why is this important for you as a writer, you may ask? If people recall what they read last and form an impression based on that, then it makes sense that you should pay as much attention to your conclusion as the rest of the content you create.
Writing a compelling conclusion will help you get noticed, stand out from the crowd and increase your traction. Write a fantastic article and a mediocre conclusion, and you can see all your efforts go down the drain.
So, your finishing lines DO matter, almost as much as your introductions, if not more. But how do you write a powerful and memorable conclusion and go out with a bang?
Here are some tips.
1. Call It A Conclusion
Robust conclusions are outright labeled as such. If you have reached the end of your article, introduce a heading titled “In Conclusion,” “Final Words,” “Wrapping It Up,” etc.
People tend to scan content rather than carefully read each word. They frequently search for the takeaway lesson and flit their eyes over their screen to find where this lesson is located. So, make it easy for your readers. Close your article with a powerful and compelling conclusion and make sure that your readers can seamlessly and effortlessly find it by providing a clear heading.
2. Summarize The Article
You know that people scan your article, and you know that readers’ memory span is exponentially decreasing in the overly saturated content world. A powerful conclusion will summarize the article in a few lines. It will provide the gist of the content and allow the reader - who has skimmed through it - to decide if it is worth going back for a more thorough read.
3. Give Guidance For Future Steps
Powerful conclusions give readers a sense of closure and fulfillment. People try to find value in your article, and if they are left hanging, wondering what next, then your article has nothing to offer. Give your readers guidance for future steps and tell them what to do next. This way, you can go out with a bang and establish your credibility as a knowledgeable writer.
4. Keep It Short And Relevant
For the economy of your article, you should not devote more than 20% of your overall word count to your conclusion. Try to be laconic and make each word matter. Choose your words wisely and do not introduce new ideas. It is easy to gear off course and be vague in your conclusion. But if you want to make an impression, you must try to keep your closing lines short and relevant.
5. Use A Punch Line
Going out with a bang requires a punch (line). Punch lines are memorable, impressionable, and a great way to make sure your readers note what you are saying. Manage to put a smile on their face, maybe giggle a bit, and you will have loyal followers begging for more.
6. Ask A Question
Asking a question is a great way to plunge your readers into the action and make them think. You can outright ask them questions like “What do you think?”, “How will you use this information to your benefit?” “Are you ready to follow these tips?”, “Do you have any other ideas to add to this list?” etc. Asking them a question will force them to do a mental recap of everything they have just read and make the information you have provided relevant to them.
7. Go Back To Your Title
Going back to your title gives your article a sense of coming full circle. You end where you begin, and therefore closure is provided. It makes your writing logical and coherent and leaves your readers with a sense of “Aha, I get it now. I understand why the title was so and so”.
8. Make A Clear Message Statement
Make a clear message statement; this is perhaps the most important tip I have to give you. As a writer, you are writing to serve a scope. Be it to inform your readers, be it to convert, and pass on a new idea. Whatever it is, your writing clearly has a message. And this message must be stated loud and clear. Do not allow your readers to intuit or infer what your message is. State it throughout your content. But most importantly, state it in your closing lines. This way, if nothing else sticks in their minds, your message at least does.
So, now I find myself in the awkward position of writing the conclusion of an article about writing conclusions. Ah! The irony. Perhaps a good writing course could help with fresh ideas. We all need a little help here and there, and writers’ block and burnout are more frequent than one might think.
The thing is, writing a compelling conclusion is not an easy task indeed. I have been pondering over my punch lines for a good 20 minutes. It is a laborious and tedious task, but one that is crucial nonetheless.
I know that I must go out with a bang to impress you. I must keep it short and relevant, revert to my title, introduce my message, and give guidance for future steps. Instead, I will simply ask you this:
Are you ready to follow these tips and go out with a bang?