I don’t have to tell you that writing content that stands out is a tough business. If you have been doing this for any length of time, then you are more than familiar with this struggle. So much content is being generated that it can be frustrating trying to stand out amongst the crowd. Like trying to be the brightest star in a night-time sky full of them.
If you aren’t generating the results you would need, these suggestions can help you. Today’s marketers are pulled in many different directions. So, it is easy to lose sight that your content process is missing a few essential things. Make your topic irresistible.
Reach Out and Grab On To Them
Your content title is your first opportunity to seduce viewers into becoming readers. It is also your first chance to lose a potential reader. When something goes viral, the headline is responsible because it got people to click on it. Do not underestimate the value of your headline. Spend as much time on it as you need to evoke curiosity and interest.
- Make your topic clear.
- What would readers not know about the topic?
- Give clues to the answer without being too specific.
- Crank up the curiosity factor by implying your readers don’t know the answer. Use words like unexpected, surprising, secret, confidential, impossible, shameful, odd, exciting, and you’ll never guess.
Reeling the Scanners In
Section headings are equally important as the main headline. First of all, it breaks up the page adding more white space to the piece. Long runs of text is daunting and cause the reader to wonder “do I really want to invest this much time and effort?”
If you can draw in the scanners with one or more section headings, they will start to read one of them. If they find it to be especially well written, they may go back and read the entire story. One good subheading could be the difference between it being read, or scanned over.
Don’t be Boring!
On the web, if you lose interest in a topic it’s easy to move onto any one of the millions of other websites. It is just that easy. So, you definitely have to grab their attention right off the bat and do your best to hold it. The best ways of doing this is to make it as interactive as possible or to keep it stimulating.
Any action that a reader can engage with by typing, clicking or performing another action. It forces the reader to pay attention. It can be quizzes, games, embedded social media, or surveys.
Making Content More Stimulating
Break up potential boredom with a variety of formatting, “rich media” and videos.
Write short paragraphs with short, easy to digest sentences. Use different font sizes, bold, and italicize to emphasize important parts of your story.
Graphs, charts, screenshots and mini infographics are perfect for web content. Adding visuals makes the page less intimidating than just seeing text only. You should have one picture for every 350 words.
Videos are great for breaking up long pieces of writing and for walking readers through a process.
Keep Them Captivated
Captivation is a state where the reader is engaged in the content and should not be interrupted. Your title and introduction set the tone for the paper and the rest of the content should flow from there. I’ve read papers that seem as if they were written in stages where the tone and style are different.
There are two ways to avoid this, write the paper in one setting and/or be careful when editing. Be sure to look at the flow where you stopped to go to a meeting or lunch and when you returned and picked up. Is it similar or can you detect a deviation?
One Upon a Time……. Happily, Ever After
Good copy is more like telling a story than writing a news article. Your content should reflect your opinion and feelings about the topic. An article is an facts based description of a topic. There are a hundred of these type of papers out there. Do you really want to be one hundred and one? No! You want yours to be read.
The key to storytelling is making your readers the hero of the story. Talk about how your subject is relevant to their lives. Start by telling the reader what is in this for them. How they will benefit from reading it. You do this by personalizing it, using “You” and “Yours” throughout the entire story.
Easier Said Than Done
Easier said than done, is probably what you are thinking right now. “Sure, just try and turn this business jargon into a story. Lots of luck to ya!” We are taking this one step at a time. According to Freytag’s Pyramid, every story has six parts to it. These include:
Exposition – The writer introduces the characters and setting, providing description and background.
Inciting Incident – A single event usually signals the beginning of the main conflict. The inciting incident is sometimes called ‘the complication’.
Rising Action – The story builds and gets more exciting.
The Climax – This is often the most exciting event. It is the event that the rising action builds up to and that the falling action follows.
Falling Action – events happen as a result of the climax and we know that the story will soon end.
Resolution – the character solves the main problem or someone solves it for him or her.
Readers will be looking for a resolution to the problem described earlier. They will be disappointed if you do not deliver it. So in one of your final paragraphs be sure to provide an interesting reveal for them.
This is the End, Beautiful Friend
It always helps to recap for the reader before sending them on their way to put your information to use. You can call it Conclusion or Recap or whatever you like. Really focus in on the most important things that you hoped they learned. Keep this concise as it is only a summary.
Writing compelling content doesn’t require an offering to the forces of creativity. It is a matter of understanding the steps and applying them. I think that you will be satisfied with the results, if you apply the suggestions, made above. After finishing, take a break, clear your mind and then read it over. Ask yourself it is inspires you to take action, how readable is it, and if it inspires you.
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