By: Marilyn L. Davis
“If it’s all instruction, you get annoyed with it and bored, and you stop reading. If it’s all entertainment, you read it quite quickly, your heart going pitty-pat, pitty-pat. But when you finish, that’s it.” ~Margaret Atwood
Get their Attention and Gain their Trust
While most people know that you are ultimately selling something on your site, or trying to gain followers, they also expect you to provide content that:
While each is a different style of writing; they all have one thing in common — your words engage the readers.
Engagement on your site means that your readers are interested, generating trust in one aspect of your site. They know that:
- Your writing isn’t boring.
- You are conversational, personal, and not preachy.
- The content is going to have some type of value for the reader.
There is respect for the readers; you don’t bog them down with unnecessary words.
Those three descriptors of your writing will translate into loyal followers. It also means, that if you’re writing in a topic niche, readers will come back each time you write about a particular category to learn more.
Sales, SEO, and Secret Admirers
According to the statistics collected from Kapost, “Website conversion rate is six times higher for those who’ve adopted content marketing strategy than those who haven’t. It is imperative for businesses of every size to consider implementing many of these vital content marketing tips as a major part of ‘Conversion Rate Optimization’ (also knowns as CRO). This, in essence, means converting website and blog traffic into sales, because traffic without lead generation and sales are pointless.”
The principles of conversion rates apply to followers as well.
Does your content read smoothly, yet, is informative so people will want to follow your writing and site? Lengthy posts are fine, as long as you understand how people read today.
A too lengthy post might just get by-passed in favor of the shorter version for online readers. And that means they may not make it to the end of the post to follow. However, lengthy posts have their place; you simply must understand your reader’s need to determine length.
Scanning: How We Read Today
Most readers scan today, rather than read word for word. To help keep your readers interested and reading, try using relevant quotes or isolate pertinent sentences in bold and italic, and learn to use subheadings as focal points, or provide eye relief.
Subheadings serve as a visual reminder and provide:
- Markers for the information
- Visual breaks for the readers with white space
- Images that reinforce the content
These mini-headings respect the reader’s time, and most are appreciative of that. Whichever strategy you use for isolating informational points, make it relevant to your blog, so it reinforces your message but is interesting enough to keep your reader engaged.
Creating Captivating Content
Captivating content keeps people on your site longer. When you combine stellar content with a visually pleasing site, you create an inviting environment, and people are more apt to view your products and services. Jeff Molander reinforces, “Content that creates leads is content that fosters confidence in buyers.”
However, it’s not just sales leads that should concern you as a blogger – it’s followers.
What keeps a reader coming back to your site? What keeps them interested in what you have to say about a topic? It’s strategies that persuade readers to become followers. What are some qualities that convert readers into followers?
When and how you establish your worth to readers translates into loyal followers.
Educate Your Readers
Personal Branding Coach, Bernard Kelvin Clive, distinguishes the differences well: “You can’t build a strong personal brand by just posting status updates. People need more than that, they need valuable content, beyond updates and tweets.”
Think about how you feel when you have to wade through a site with hype about all the secret knowledge you can gain by clicking on the “Buy Now!” or hoping that next week’s blog gives you more information, so you click the “Follow Us Now!” buttons.
Frankly, if you didn’t get one or two worthwhile ideas in the current content, what would lead you to believe the expensive or weekly version is worth more?
Readers search; give them something each time that is worth their efforts.
Educating the reader about your topic or site’s offerings can’t get tedious, or they may leave before buying or following. Too light and entertaining and you run the risk of not being taken seriously, and readers won’t buy or follow, either. So how do you achieve that balance? Think of engaging the reader by inviting them to participate.
- Create a survey
- Stimulate interest in an educational forum
- Generate an instant answer poll
- People like to know that they matter to you before what you’re selling has importance to them, or they come back to see if you took their suggestions into account.
Many content writers struggle with the balance between informative or entertaining and selling a product or service, or ending their posts with a follow-up call to action. However, when the mix is right, people tend to return to those sites the next time they need information.
Strive for takeaways in your content. All of us will remember who gave us something useful. When we give readers something practical or helpful in an article, it means that they tend to view our products and services from a different perspective as well. They will return.
No, we’re not just talking fairies, puppies and kitty cats. Enchanting content is:
I’m always impressed when a manufacturer of widgets can educate, entertain, and engage me with information about nuts and bolts, and frankly, if they can do that, you can too with your product.
Be creative in your descriptions; learn about powerful words and drop passive sentences or readers get bored, leave and increase your bounce rate.
All-in-One: Content that Converts to Followers
You can educate, entertain and enchant your readers and prospective followers by using:
- Quotes from reputable sources
- Bullet points for ease of reading
- Images, videos, charts, and graphs to replace some text
- Creative Sub-headings
- Fonts, colors, italics, and highlights to capture their attention
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