Have you ever spent hours writing a blog post for your business, only to discover that few people read it?
Have you created and sent out an e-newsletter, then later learned it got an open rate of less than 5%?
In an effort to engage your audience, have you posed a question on social media that no one answered?
If any of these situations have ever happened to you, you are not alone. Creating content that is received well by your intended audience is a challenge, and its not because what you are writing is “not good enough” or “poorly written.” Your content simply has a lot of competition.
Most companies use content marketing as a way to reach their audiences. This means they are pumping out countless articles each day (blog posts, e-blasts, social media updates) in an effort to brand themselves and become perceived as an expert source. You have to compete with all of this content. Your chance of rising above your competition and being noticed by your audience is in the quality of what you create.
So what makes content interesting to your audience? Try making a few simple tweaks to your content by adding the following five attributes:
- An attention getting headline. Your headline or title of your content may be short, but it has an important job. Its job is to entice the reader to continue reading. From the headline or title, the reader decides if he or she is interested enough to keep going, hit the delete button or close the browser window. For this reason, the headline or title of your content needs to be interesting, raise curiosity, or ask a question your reader wants the answer to.
- A valuable message. The momentum you develop in your headline must continue into the opening paragraphs of your content. Your words should be enticing, and the first few paragraphs should get and keep your audience’s attention. The message you deliver in your content must bring value to your audience. It must be something he or she wants to know more about, or can use to help solve a problem or question they have. Simply writing about your product or service is not enough. You must tell a story of how and why your product is the answer your audience is looking for.
- A powerful image. A picture is worth a thousand words, and that saying carries over into your writing. An image, photo, graphic, or infographic goes a long way in not only attracting your audience’s attention, but also keeping it and helping them to remember your content as well.
- Readable text. Online readers generally don’t like to read a lot of text. Text-heavy paragraphs on a fuzzy computer screen, a small mobile phone, or a tablet will cause most readers to give up before they really get started. For that reason, you must make your content readable on these platforms. Use short paragraphs, subheadings to break up text, bulleted or numbered lists, bold words, or images and graphics. These make your content easier to skim, allowing your readers to find the information they are looking for quickly.
- Call to action. Your call to action is your request or suggestion to your reader to take a particular action. There should be a call to action on every piece of content you write, even if it is just asking them to comment on your post or sign up for your email list. Having a call to action helps you identify your target audience, because those that take you up on it are showing they are interested in furthering their relationship with you and learning more about your business.
So the next time you are writing content for your business, refer to the attributes above and incorporate them in to your writing. Getting your audience’s attention, delivering readable, valuable content, and encouraging them to take an action will increase your engagement, and turn your audience into long term, loyal customers.
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