By: Marilyn L. Davis
The Three “E”s” of Great Content
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 type of writing, they all have one thing in common — your words engage the readers, and when readers are engaged, they are more likely to follow your site.
However, we’d all do well to heed the words of Margaret Atwood, “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.”
Don’t just get a few readers – get loyal followers. So how can your content create repeat readers? Engagement on your site means that they will often read other posts on the website. You can verify the number of posts they read in WordPress statistics to see if they stayed to read other posts.
Now you’ve got a potential follower.
When you succeed in writing compelling posts, that translates 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. Businesses of every size must consider implementing many of these vital content marketing tips as a major part of ‘Conversion Rate Optimization (also knowns as CRO), which, 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 gaining followers as well. Does your content read smoothly yet informative so people will want to follow your writing and site? Click To Tweet
Scanning: How We Read Today
Lengthy posts are excellent, as long as you understand how people 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, use subheadings as focal points, or provide eye relief with images and white space.
A too lengthy post might get bypassed 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 have to balance the reader’s interests and attention span with how many words it takes to make your post engaging, informative, and correct.
Subheadings: Use Them to Alert the Reader
- Markers for the information
- Visual breaks for the readers
- Good placement for 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 to reinforce your message but is interesting enough to keep your reader engaged.
Subheadings help your readers quickly frame a concept. It is a different type of information gathering, and people quickly notice bold or larger fonts, and isolated boxes of information. Click To Tweet
Creating Captivating Content
Captivating content keeps people on your site longer. Combining stellar content with a visually pleasing site creates an inviting environment, and people are more apt to view your posts, products, or 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?
- Why do some readers utilize the related post function and read more than one post at your site?
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.
1. Educate Your Readers
When you educate your readers, you demonstrate timely, relevant, and informative knowledge about the subject –not just a lot of fluff and keyword-stuffed blogs. 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 spend time researching and searching – give them something each time that is worth their efforts.
Education Must Also Be Interesting
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.
2. Entertain Your Readers
Many content writers struggle with entertainment. It’s not about trying to be funny; entertaining is, by definition, keeping the mind engaged. That’s what you want to do with your readers; provide them with words that stay with them because they found it:
It’s a balance between informative without appearing preachy. 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 valuable. When we give readers something practical or helpful in an article, they tend to view our posts or services differently.
They will return.
3. Enchant Your Readers
Fairies, puppies, and kitty cats are enchanting, but it’s more than just those fluffy topics; 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 posts or products.
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: Compelling Content
You can educate, entertain, and enchant your readers and prospective followers by using:
- Quotes from reputable sources
- Bullet points for ease of reading
- Lists that reinforce your topic
- Images, videos, charts, and graphs to replace some text
- Creative Sub-headings
- Fonts, colors, italics, and highlights to capture their attention
What Content Strategies Do You Use to Gain Followers?
We all know the ‘How I Do Everything Better Than You and Let Me Sell that Knowledge to You” books, sites, and gurus.
So, what have you done to improve your content? If you will, give us your advice in a comment. Thanks.
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Our published contributors enjoy becoming a part of an established, award-winning blog. They gain exposure from our ever-growing audience. In turn, we gain the audience that they bring with their writing.
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at Two Drops of Ink and From Addict 2 Advocate. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
She is also offering her editing services to other writers. If you are interested in having a 1,000-word document critiqued and edited for free, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org