Marketing has so many sub-divisions, sometimes it’s hard to keep track. Content marketing, one of the more misunderstood off shoots, is as tricky as it is simple.
What’s so tricky about it, you ask? It’s just writing. Nope it isn’t. There’s an art. Not everyone can write something that speaks to their readers and prompts them to like/follow you on social media.
You are writing to captivate an audience, an audience that can haul themselves off your website quicker than you can say “audience engagement.”
My point is simple and obvious: If you really want to make your content more inviting, engaging and user-friendly, you must beat your articles into shape using a hammer. Easier said than done, I know.
Content marketing can enhance your online visibility, increase website traffic and sales. But you need to get it right.
Let’s get this show on the road, here are 15 things you need to consider when writing your next blog post:
“On average, five times as many people read the headline that read the copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” said David Ogilvy
I agree with this statement, who would go against the father of advertising? Not me, anyway.
The headline of a blog post needs to be creative and magnetic, if it isn’t, you might as well wave goodbye to the traffic, and your efforts.
It needs to draw the reader’s attention at the first sight and prompts them to read your post. Writing a headline that grabs your readers’ attention is a critical skill and a lot of people cannot grasp this. I see badly written headlines all the time, it makes me cringe inside. Why not check out this headline analyser from Co-Schedule which rates your headline.
If you want to create fascinating headlines, you need to understand your blog’s concept and then write down the headline that can both deliver the desired message and also persuade readers.
Bottom line: It needs to be short and spunky, something to draw your readers’ eyes and entice them to read it through to the end. And, if you’re really good, you might even achieve “sign up here.”
You can’t squeeze everything about your content in the 5-10 words of a headline. This is where sub-headlines save the game and can help you reach the finishing line.
You can use sub-headers to start, finish, or explain (in short) what your content is about. Attention can be caught by the headline, but interest is generated with your sub-headers.
Bonus: Keyword-friendly sub-headlines make your content more visible to search engines; something we all know as a “click-bait heading.”
Now we are talking!
I am a huge believer in KISS (Keep it Simple & Stupid) and I will do everything I can to tone down the jargon or huge, pompous words. If no-one understands what you’re saying, you defeat the object of content marketing.
Simply put, use simple words to explain. Of course, you can use jargon, but only where jargon is absolutely necessary. Everywhere else, keep it short and sweet… or risk feeling the bitter end.
Bullets with a name on it
Make your blog post easily understandable by using numbered lists or bullet points. It helps people read blog posts and find the information they are looking for instantly, without much effort. It’s easier on the eye, too.
You wouldn’t believe how many blogs I come across and laugh internally about the errors made. But, to be fair, I am guilty of this too. Shit happens.
Use full stops, commas, colons and dashes to divide the mass of words into smaller chunks of information that make sense. If you are not sure about punctuation, keep sentences short and digestive.
Try to keep it lean
In a mobile age, we as readers, are more used to reading top-down than left to right.
If you are using the WordPress or Blogger layout along with a specific wide content column, it will be better to select a new layout, or adjust your column width. You can use 80 characters or less in the width to make your blog post narrow.
Test your font type
Monotype Corsiva looks amazing. But if you wrote that paper on, say, Shakespeare’s contribution in that font, prepare yourself for a low grade. Regardless of what you wrote you will be graded down.
Let that be a lesson (hypothetical one): The web is no different. While you can and should do everything to put your brand personality to proud display, keep the fonts and typefaces legible. Sans-Serif fonts (without the squiggly bits) are easier to read on-screens, and of course there are others. Many leading bloggers use the sans-serif font Roboto that is created for easy reading.
Big and engaging font size
Choose a big font size while writing your next blog post. Tiny writing is tough to read online, so it is better to make it bigger.
Check out some of your favourite blogs and compare the font size they use and then you can decide what works best for your potential readers.
Bold baby, bold
Grab your reader’s attention by using bold text in your posts. But only do this strategically. Writing an entire paragraph in bold will make your blog ineffective. But using this tool to highlight some important sentences is an ingenious formatting technique that will put extra emphasis on things you want to stick in your readers’ minds.
Give italics ago (sparingly)
Italics are a great way to emphasise a point, or a question, in a more discreet manner than bold text. But don’t overdo it because after a while italics strain the eyes, and can make your readers switch to the next best thing.
Don’t forget caps
Don’t be afraid to dabble with capital letters for entire words every now and then… They JUMP off the page at your readers. See what I did there?
Tell a story
Every story has three major parts: the beginning, middle, and the end.
So, you can start off with the introduction, then the main information, and end your blog by wrapping up with a conclusion. It will give a proper format to your blog post, and allow readers to more easily consume the information.
Try to make your blog tempting so that your readers crave more content.
Keep attention with internal cliff-hangers
Internal cliff-hangers basically bridge your article, blog or podcast together by using emotions. These are statements and devices within your content that encourage readers to keep reading.
After all, we engage based on emotion.
Visually-appealing images will always attract readers to your blog post. Noticeable images in a blog post emphasise its message and grab the viewer’s attention. It will be great fun to use images to break up your lengthy content into digestive paragraphs. My mind works visually, so when I come across a blog that uses this approach, I am more inclined to continue to read.
Reading fully text-ified posts is tiring and boring – so there are bonus points for relevant images that add to the ‘story’ of your content.
Close your blog post in style
You know how the endings of all great horror movies are open?
The main objective of effective writing is to take the reader on an interesting and informative rollercoaster ride from beginning till end. Try to wrap up your blog post in style so that you can deliver the message to the readers in the most exciting way.
The ending of your blog post will determine the reaction and emotions of people after reading your content. You can leave them contemplative, excited, in suspense, and more, just with a few words that make your ending. And, this is where the email “sign up” comes from because they should be left wanting more.
Yes, that was a poor rip-off, of Lewis Carroll’s famous line in Alice in Wonderland, but you can certainly see the similarities between a rabbit hole and the vast (and crazy) world of the web. Come on get with the program.
The internet is a madhouse and you’re trying to be heard (sorry, read) above the noise. A nicely written piece of content is you trying to stand out from the crowd. And once the eyes are on you, your content will determine how long they stay there.
Whip that blog post writing into shape and keep that spotlight on you forever.