A common hurdle that business face when implementing a content marketing strategy is how to write content that people will actually want to read. We see it all the time. The content is boring, stagnant, or a free refrigerator, toolset and cruise vacation wrapped in a timeshare sales pitch. This is probably the quickest way to lose your readers and never get them back. Not to mention that many times the article is in complete disarray without proper formatting and flow. I’m going to share with you today some ways that you can create content that people will love to read, share and follow.
Write Content That People Will Find Affinity With:
A great way to satisfy your readers is to find a common ground. If you can create content that your readers and thus your ideal prospects can relate with then you’re going to have a much easier time teaching and educating them. There are several ways that you can find A commonality. Whether it is a story, state in life, or Industry, these are all ways that you can find something in common.
We have all heard the saying “misery loves company”. This could not be more true. Building a relationship with a reader can be jumpstarted by talking about a particular problem. Talk about all of the different negative effects that it can have on your business. This is also a great lead into our next point of building a relationship…
Find the Solution:
Everyone’s got problems, maybe 99 of them, but not everybody has solutions. If you’re the answer that they have been looking for you are immediately catapulted into the expert category in their mind. The power of influence that you can have over them has increased exponentially. This could mean that your Business provides A solution to different problems or you could provide the solution to an answer that is related to your Business offering. Either way if you are teaching them educating them and providing a solution to their problems they’re going to keep coming back for more.
Be Interested in Them:
You really need to dive in and understand who are your readers. There are many ways that you can accomplish this and one of the simplest ways is by asking for feedback in the comments of your blog. You can also understand more about your customers by asking questions about them. People love to talk about themselves, all you need to do is give them the opportunity.
Being empathetic with the content that you’re creating helps people relate with you. This is the emotional side that you really need to incorporate in you writing to connect with your readers. Meeting people where they’re at and truly empathizing with their situation will build your relationships. If you are writing content that is ho-hum, boring and doesn’t relate to your readers then they are going to drop you like a hot potato.
Your blog articles need to attract your readers attention. Focus on topics that are in the news that you can relate with. This is not limited only to blog content but also video content and infographics. A catchy title is great but if the meat of your content is lackluster or boring, nobody is going to read your next article. We are not looking for the most amazing writing in the world but your article needs to tell a story that is interesting. Intrigue your audience, and give value to your readers and your subscribers will grow.
How to Format Content People Will Read:
The key to getting your content read is to write it for people and not for search engines. I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you this but seriously, If you take anything from this article, this should be it. What you’re blogging about will be of little value to your readers unless it is formatted in an easy to read fashion.
Before we continue I want to make a quick point about organization. Creating a content calendar will help you organize the topics you want to write about. As you can imagine, the articles you’re writing are to attract your ideal customer. These topics will change so your content calendar is a living and evolving document. Working of off your content calendar will help you stay on track and be consistent with your writing.
Outline Your Blog Article: Anything Worth Building Starts with Blueprints
Creating a great blog post begins with an outline. This is how you define what you’re going to write about. By making an outline you are creating a blueprint for your blog post. You will find that if you struggle with getting your ideas out of your head and onto digital paper, an outline will make it much easier. This also helps you avoid run on articles or tangents that don’t ad value to the post but just confuse your readers.
Format Your Blog Post with: The Beginning, The Middle, and The Conclusion
Formatting a proper blog post is a lot like going back to those exciting days of academia. I still remember learning that the best way to format an article is with a Beginning, Middle and Concluding paragraph.
The Beginning or introductory paragraph needs to explain what the rest of the article is going to cover. Briefly explain what you’re going to share with them. It’s not to include every little detail but a short and sweet overview. – See first paragraph for reference 😉
The Middle part of your article could contain several paragraphs. This is the meat of your article. This is where you fully expand your thoughts and teach your readers.
The Concluding paragraph is where you wrap everything up. Bringing all of your ideas from the article to make sense. This is also the climax of your story. What happens next and so forth. Incorporating a relevant call-to-action (CTA) is a good idea as well.
Keywords: Short and Longtail
There is a difference between keywords. There are short keywords and there are longtail keywords. Short keywords consist of only one or two words. Traditionally, these are much harder to rank for on search engines because they are so competitive.
Longtail keywords are longer phrases of keywords consisting of three or more words. These are easier to compete with since there are many more combinations, and complex phrases.
Read more about optimizing content for search here: 5 Simple Ways You Can Optimize Your Content for Search
Stuffing keywords into your blog articles to “optimize” your content for search engines is an obvious way to turn people off. People are not robots, we are people. We like to find what we are looking for but we don’t want to be gamed by the system.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t incorporate the keywords your marketing team is targeting. You just need to be a little more natural about it. Don’t use the same phrase, over and over and over again. If it naturally repeats itself to complete the thought then add it. If it doesn’t and seems forced, don’t.
Here are some quick tips that will help your readers and search engines find your content:
- Use Longtail keywords in the Title, description, and first paragraph of your article.
- Add tags that describe your content.
- Use bold and underline text formatting on important words.
Photos Are Worth 1000 Words & Video is worth 1 Million!
85% of information is taken into brain via eyes. A super fast way to convey a point to your readers is by adding images. Use them to complement a point that you’re making. For example: Including a rising graph chart when you’re talking about growth. An increase of 1000% looks better in a photo than it does written.
Video is also an excellent addition to your content. Forrester Research did a study and found that video can be worth 1.8 million words. While this might seem a little crazy, video is still an excellent way and probably the most effective way to convey a message to your audience.
Here are some excellent points for using video within your content marketing strategy.
- Turns readers into engaged viewers.
- Keeps visitors on your website longer.
- Increases conversion rates.
- Increases opportunity to rank on Google search results.
You can even use multiple videos in an article to complement your written content. Here’s an example post that we wrote a while back that has nearly a video for each app that we recommended.
Internal Linking: If it’s Relevant, Link to It.
What is internal linking? Well if you’re not familiar with the practice you need to get on this. Internal linking is linking from your current article to another piece of content that is on your own blog. You’ve probably noticed that I’ve referenced a few articles whose same topic is mentioned in this post. By doing so, you increase the exposure of that article, create a better user experience for learning more and you tell the Google Robots that that page is important.
Don’t over do it. I think an underlying theme of the article is about doing things in moderation as well. To much of one thing can give you a tummy ache.
Cite Your Sources: Credibility is Key to Social Acceptance and Sharing
There’s nothing worse than finding an awesome stat that you want to use in your blog article and not being able to find the source. Don’t be that guy. Cite all of your sources. Citing a sources involves including a link to the exact source or at a minimum to the author of the source. If you’re worried about sending people off of your blog then make the link open in a new window.
This is done by adding the following code to the link: target=”_blank”
Social Share-ability: Not Worth Sharing is Not Worth Reading
When you read an article and enjoyed the content, the best way to thank the author is to share it with your social channels. Contrarily, this goes for content that you don’t like as well. If you don’t learn from or enjoy the content you’re not likely to share it.
Getting your content shared:
Besides following these best practices that I’ve outlined for you today, there are a few things that you can do to help facilitate the sharing process.
- Ask people to share your content! – duh.
- Include the traditional Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ share this buttons at the bottom of the article. (Most people after they read the article are going to share it and not before.)
- Use “Tweet This Quote/Stat/X” buttons throughout your article. When there’s a neat nugget of information that people think is cool, make it super easy to share. You can get these links generated here: clicktotweet.com, sharelinkgenerator.com, or sharebuttongenerator.aakilfernandes.com.
- Use the “Pin this image” from Pinterest.
Wrapping it All Up:
Overall I hope that this article gives you a solid foundation for creating content that your readers will enjoy reading. Don’t worry, writing great content comes with practice. We didn’t begin writing content like this and I’m sure you’d get a kick our of some of my earlier articles. Sometimes I read them and say “I can’t even believe I wrote that!” so have fun and get started. One piece of content is better than no content at all and one awesome article is better than 10 junky ones.
If you enjoyed this article I encourage you to share it with your collogues. If you’d like to join the conversation, please consider posting your polite thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!