A few weeks ago, we explored three openings you can use in your content. Each of them creates a different setup for the text that follows. They create different flows. Using different kinds of openings (as opposed to sticking with one that seems to work) invokes interest and keeps your audience alert. And the same applies to how you end your text.
Today, we explore three endings. None of them is a summary in the strict sense of it. Summaries are generally ineffective and don’t end with a high enough note. Experiment with these endings, and don’t cling to one of them, no matter how appealing it is. Remember, templates don’t create continually engaging content, if only because they become boring at some point.
The Single Most Important Thing
So, summaries are awkward, potentially repetitive, and not that interesting. Unless you repeat the single most important thing people need to remember — the core idea of that piece of content.
For shorter texts (like social posts), this is often meaningless. But when you write longer texts like an article, a talk, or even a chapter in a book, you should be able to capture the one key idea around which the entire text revolves. In fact, this should probably be the idea you start with before even writing the text: the message you wish to convey. Emphasizing this idea at the end of the text will tie everything together. It will leave the audience with one simple thing to remember — a hook they can use to recall the entire piece of content.
Closing the Loop
A different approach to ending your text is closing the loop you opened in the beginning. Often, the text starts with a question, a dilemma, or a story used as a build-up. In such cases, an effective and engaging ending will close the loop and demonstrate how the key ideas you’ve presented address the challenge you set in the opening.
Closing the loop creates a sense of coherency. It is an effective way to tie everything together and create logical aesthetic symmetry. When the text is well-designed, and you avoid opening multiple threads and challenges in one piece of content, closing with a resolution to the opening challenge leaves no open ends.
In a sense, the Looking Forward ending is the opposite of Closing the Loop. Instead of aiming to create a closure, your text ends with what seems to be the beginning of a new idea.
Of course, this new thread you create must be logically connected to the ideas you’ve introduced in your text. It can even refer to them. But instead of repeating them or resolving a previously presented challenge, you invite your audience to take your ideas one step further and continue to think about them. It invites the audience to take the next step in the journey by leveraging your thoughts. Alternatively, it is a cue for them to revisit your future content and take this step together. In both cases, the Looking Forward ending is playful and thought-provoking, and it creates a relationship with your audience.