How to finish your content
Finish your content by telling the reader about their new normal.
You’ve put some real work into your content. From the thought stages through the writing, the process of creation makes you synthesize your thoughts in an organized way; most don’t appreciate it. When it’s time to end your work, you want to finish your content the best possible way so that readers can remember your words and look to you for future advice.
It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. You don’t want to put all your work into the meat of the content only to have it fizzle out in the end.
Are you interested in finding out the best way to end your content? Read on to find out how.
Think about the ending from the beginning.
This advice sounds a bit out there, but everyone already does it when they create. Regardless of what type of information you are trying to pass on, your goal is to create a world in which your reader has learned the wisdom you are trying to pass on. It’s ok if you don’t actively think about this as you plan and write your content, but it does make it easier to provide that extra punch at the end if you’re aware.
The end you have in mind is where the story has concluded, and the reader has taken your advice.
When writing the end of your piece of content, it’s important to remember not to add anything new. If it’s worth including, make sure there’s room for it in the meat of the content!
How did you get to the end?
Wrapping up your content once and for falls in the seventh step of story structure, the new equilibrium. This structure was developed and explained by John Truby in his book The Anatomy of Story.
The equilibrium is when everything returns to normal, and the desire has been fulfilled. The hero of the story–the reader–has emerged from the other side of your content with a new lesson about the topic.
In case you forget the other steps of the story structure:
- Problem/Need. What problem does the reader need to solve?
- Desire. What does the reader want?
- Opponent. What stands in the reader’s way?
- Plan. What information do you have for the reader?
- Battle. How does the reader get past the opponent?
- Revelation: What has the reader learned about themselves or how they do things by implementing your suggestion?
The revelation is how you begin your conclusion; the equilibrium is the shiny bow you place on top of the content to remind your readers about their new reality. This reality is the one where they have absorbed the information contained within your content and applied it to their situation.
Don’t make this mistake.
One mistake I see content creators make is suggesting a future blog post will contain more information—a cliffhanger of sorts. Don’t do it!
If you want to include something else, go back and add it in, as I mentioned before. It can be a good idea to keep an idea for a future post in your back pocket, depending on your strategy, but to suggest you have left something out creates distrust in your reader.
For example: Say I was describing the benefits of drinking water. The conclusion is not the time to bring up information about electrolytes, leaving a teaser. This kind of last gasp information makes it sound like the writer isn’t completely truthful with their suggestion. It implies there might be more information that could be applicable, which could make the entire post about water seem like it’s of second-tier importance.
Put another way, if it’s worth including in your content, go back and add it correctly. If not, don’t mention it.
Time to finish your content
The best way to describe the final phrases of your content is to describe the new world your readers now occupy. Their problem has been solved. Remind them that you have provided the fulfillment of their desire, so they will want to take action accordingly when they finish reading.
For example, I could wrap up this post with something like this:
Now you know how to put the final words into your content! Go forth and create.