Writing a Powerful Summary

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 2nd May 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3hp3g9nb/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Writing

The secret to writing a good summary includes having a snappy "sales pitch" about the article which convinces people to look at what you have to offer. It is concise, to the point, and does not repeat.

Write a Better Wikinut summary

One of the challenges of publishing articles on any writing site is providing a good summary. In "Write a better Wikinut summary" we are advised:

    Think of your summary as a film trailor, a sneak preview, a cliffhanger. It should draw in your reader and leave them wanting more.

Yes is does summarise what the article is all about, but it expands on the title, just a little. You are also advised to keep it snappy. There are some reasons why the summary needs to be some of the most powerful words we write which shall be covered in this article. This is all good advice but there are some other things to consider.

Largely the summary should provide the foundation for the reader's experience...

Bad Summaries

Ultimately you want your article to be read and the summary should convince the person browsing a series of articles to take to look at yours.

There are two common problems with summaries:

  • They repeat the title
  • They are simply the first sentence of the main article

Both of these are a part of the lazy person's approach to creating a summary, the writer simply copies and pastes the text, easy, done, but not very impressive from the reader's perspective.

If you think about the person who includes the title inside their summary they are not enhancing the title in any way. It is a part of being lazy. If the summary explains the title but uses other words that expand the rationale of the subject at hand which enhances the perspective reader's understanding even before they start reading your piece.

Other summaries provided also ramble on about the subject matter in a way that should be a part of the article; this is hardly being snappy and to the point.

The summary is part of the foundations for a good article, without a good one the article can crumble due to lack of foundation; like this rickety wall.

The Google Impact

Before taking one step further let us think about the leading search engine and how it serves data to its customers. Nearly every page you ever look at has a summary section with it and that is one of the aspects that helps Google rank each page where it does in the search results. The same is true of each page you write on Wikinut.

What Google is looking for is something unique and impressive within 160 characters!

Ideally to impress Google you will come up with a unique set of words that are precisely 160 characters in length.

160 characters is not very much, but it is what you have to work with to make the summary count. Most summaries you write will exceed this length, it is part of the flaw of being human; but if you need to exceed this length then ensure your most important words are at the start of the summary.

The Human Impact

Despite the importance of the search engine it is humans that read articles. It is humans that are searching for information. This is one of the reasons why you must spend time thinking about the correct form of words to use in the summary.

Let us assume your article contain all the information that the reader needs to possess at this time and that you have saved the item with all the correct keywords, or page tags. Should you provide a poor summary then they will not come by to see what you have written. That seems like wasted effort.

In some respects your summary is like your sales poster in the shop window advertising that special deal; get it right and the crowds come flocking; get it wrong and no-one stops by and your sales go down (no matter how good your product is). You may have a better deal than the shop across the mall, but no-one knows it.

A Better Summary?

This snapshot is based on the search results for "write a better summary". Which article would you select from these search results to view?

Much depends upon the person, but also much depends on their needs at the time when they are browsing the web; something we, the writer, perhaps understand little about. There is certainly a psychology to selecting which item to read and we need to be better writers in order to think about the readers needs.

Did you notice that there are 276 million results on this subject? Coming top of the search results is another important challenge.

One last suggestion - once complete remove any flaky or unnecessary words.

Tags

Powerful, Powerful Message, Powerful Summaries, Summaries, Summary, Winning Summaries, Writing, Writing Articles, Writing Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
2nd May 2012 (#)

The endgame is always the most important part of just about any activity. For some, starting is hard, but for all, ending well is a challenge!... for just about everything.
Well done, Peter.

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author avatar xphantoms
3rd May 2012 (#)

Thank share article

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author avatar Tess Irons
3rd May 2012 (#)

Great info, Peter. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
3rd May 2012 (#)

This is very important information for me Peter- as I have been often writing my summary as a quick after- thought and not giving it the proper respect, thank you Peter this is excellent advice!

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author avatar Buzz
3rd May 2012 (#)

Advice worth heeding. Thanks, Peter.

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author avatar Don Rothra
4th May 2012 (#)

Very informative. Nice work

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