If I said all of the traffic for this site comes from blogging, would you be surprised? No? I Didn't think so. A well optimised website, with good, solid blog strategy can take your traffic from zero to online hero. But great blog posts don't happen over night. They happen over time. In this post we'll share the 10 things that helped our blog content attract traffic.
No matter what sort of website you have or what you’re selling, you’re going to need a lot of content. This includes...
- Content to promote and presell offers.
- Content to build relationships, brand awareness and lists.
- Content to generate and convert traffic.
- Content to sell (if you’re selling infoproducts).
And so forth.
In order to make all your materials more effective and useful, you need to learn how to create high-quality content.
And that’s exactly what you’re about to discover as we walk through the following ten tips for crafting content your audience is sure to love.
Let’s get started…
Tip #1: Check Your Facts
If you’re sharing any sort of statistics, data or other facts, then you’re going to want to double check and triple check that these facts are accurate. If you have so much as one tiny fact wrong, readers are going to be skeptical that the rest of your content is correct.
People do business with those they know, like and trust.
Fact-checking helps ensure that your content is trustworthy. As such, be sure you check all facts using credible sources. Whenever possible, check your facts using the original source.
For example, if you find a fact in a Wikipedia entry, then read the referenced source yourself (such as an academic article) to verify the
Tip #2: Develop Your Writing Voice
The top writers you know and love have a distinct writing style. They may use certain jargon or slang. They structure their content in a certain way. Their writing even has a distinct rhythm, which is created using a unique sentence structure.
If you want to develop engaging content, then you too should develop your own unique writing voice. One way to do this is to think about how you talk, and use a grammatical structure or style that mimics your way of speaking.
For example, you might be folksy in your way of writing as opposed to someone else who is very formal. Or you might be more easy-going and nice rather than someone who is more in-your-face and brash.
TIP: Search Google for “developing a unique writing voice” for more information on how to do this.
Tip #3: Offer Something Unique
If you want your readers to attach a high perceived value to your content and keep coming back for more, then you need to offer something unique.
Here are different ways to do it…
Present “Old” Content in a New Way
While everyone else is sharing rehashed step-by-step information, you can make your how-to content stand out by creating and sharing unique formulas.
TIP: One way to do this is to create an acronym with each letter in the acronym relevant to one step of your formula.
For example, if you’re sharing a six-step process for creating more effective sales copy, you might call it the “P.R.O.F.I.T.” formula. The first step (the “P”) might relate to “Profile the Audience.” And then you’d continue with the rest of the letters, each of which would reflect a step in the process.
Offer a New Tip
If you can pioneer a new strategy, that’s awesome. But if not, then simply sharing unique tips here and there will wow the audience.
- Do you do things in a slightly different way (variation) than others?
- Have you discovered a tip that makes a process faster, easier, or better?
- Do you use strategies or products in new or unusual ways?
Go ahead and brainstorm unique tips you use that you can share with your audience.
Share Personal Info
Still another way to make your content unique is by sharing personal information such as:
- Relevant personal stories.
- Case studies.
Do other people share stories, case studies and examples? Of course, but yours are unique.
For example, if you’re sharing information about how to grow better tomatoes, you might share a case study of what happened when you used a popular product or strategy in the niche. You can also share personal stories, such as a story of how hornworms destroyed your first-ever crop of tomatoes.
Tip #4: Engage the Reader
One of the hallmarks of high-quality content is that it must be engaging. After all, if your text is so boring that no one can slog through it, then your audience will never know all the wonderful tips and information you share.
So, with that in mind, here are tips for creating more engaging content:
Stories help draw the reader into your content, they build rapport, and they make your content more memorable. For example:
- Share a story of a famous person in the niche. For instance, if you’re writing to women about running marathons, you might share the story of Kathrine Switzer (the first woman to officially register for and run the Boston Marathon in 1967).
- Share your personal story. For example, how did you overcome a problem, reach a goal or better enjoy an interest that is related to your niche?
- Share personal stories to build rapport. You can share stories about mistakes you’ve made or embarrassing moments you’ve experienced so that your audience knows that you understand what they are going through.
Here’s the next idea...
Empathize With the Reader
One big sticking point with people in your audience is that they feel alone in their problems. They feel like no one understands them (not even the people who are trying to help them solve those problems). That’s why you want to demonstrate that you truly understand, and then empathize with the reader and validate their emotions around this problem.
For example, if you’re writing to people who want to lose weight, you can talk about the sort of everyday problems they encounter (such as not being able to fit comfortably into an airplane seat). You can then show that you understand how painful this problem is by talking about the emotions surrounding it (e.g., embarrassment).
When the reader realizes that you truly do understand their problems and the accompanying pain related to these problems, they’re going to be very open to hearing your solutions.
NOTE: This applies to any of the “big three” ways to help other people with your content...
- Help them solve a problem.
- Help them reach a goal.
- Help them enjoy an interest.
Your audience needs to know that you understand the challenge they face, they need to believe that you care, and they need to trust that you can help them.
Ask Intriguing Questions
You can open your content by asking an intriguing question, plus you can sprinkle questions throughout your content to keep people engaged.
For example: “Does your dog bark and howl when you leave the house? Does he have accidents or destroy furniture when you’re gone?”
TIP: If you’re posting on a blog or social media platform – or anywhere else that people can interact – then you can end your content with a question that’s designed to get people to comment. E.G., “What do you think?”
Here’s the next idea...
Share a Surprising Fact
Still another way to engage your audience is by sharing a fact, especially one that may surprise the reader.
For example, if you’re teaching beginning marketers about copywriting, then you may share the fact that 5% is considered a decent conversion rate on a sales letter. (The point being, new copywriters might expect a huge number of people to buy, such as 30%, 50% or more, when that’s just not the reality.)
Tip #5: Study the Craft
In order to become a better writer, and generate more traffic, you’re going to want to study the craft. However, just because you’re writing nonfiction content doesn’t mean you should study how to write things like how-to reports and articles.
Instead, you want to study copywriting
and even fiction writing.
These two types of writing will teach you how to engage readers, keep them reading, and get them taking action when they reach the end of your content.
As you begin your studies, pay particular attention to these topics:
- How to craft attention-grabbing headlines and titles.
- How to engage readers on a personal, emotional level.
- How to build interest and keep people reading.
- How to create effective calls to action for results.
Tip #6: Create Actionable Content
While content needs to be engaging in order to keep people reading, ultimately readers value the content based on...
How much it helps them.
That’s why you need to create actionable content that helps your reader solve a problem, reach a goal or enjoy an interest. In other words, it helps them make progress toward the outcome they want.
Even better is if you can create content that will provide quick wins for readers. This means tips and steps that are easy to implement and tend to get quick results.
For example, let’s suppose you’re teaching people how to lose weight, get fit and be healthier. If you give people a simple step like drink a glass of water before your meal so you’ll feel fuller and eat less, that’s a quick win because it takes seconds to implement, and people can start seeing results immediately.
Tip #7: Format for Easy Readability
If people click on your content and encounter a big wall of text, they’re going to click away before they even read the first word. That’s why you need to be sure to use plenty of white space in your content so that it looks easy to read.
The second part of this is to create content that’s scannable. Some people have short attention spans, while others are in a hurry. As such, you can create scannable text so that even skimmers get the gist of your content.
NOTE: Creating scannable content also makes it easier to read, even for those who are going to read every word.
Here are ways to boost readability and make content more scannable:
- Break up the text with meaningful sub-headlines.
- Turn paragraph lists into bulleted lists.
- Emphasize the most important parts of the text using different font styles (underlining, italicizing, bolding, highlighting).
- Insert graphics to break up the text and use compelling captions to share important information and draw people back into the text.
Which brings us to the next tip…
Tip #8: Insert Relevant Graphics
As mentioned above, you can use graphics to help break up the text. Good graphics can also add value to your content. You can use:
- Mind maps
For example, if you’re sharing information about how to complete a dumbbell workout, you might offer photos or illustrations that depict
Tip #9: Craft Engaging Titles
Your titles (as well as headlines and subject lines) can literally make or break your content. That’s because your audience is going to decide whether to read (or buy) the content based in large part on the title.
With that in mind, check out these ideas for crafting engaging titles…
People primarily want to know “what’s in it for me?” which is why you need to create titles that showcase your biggest benefits.
E.G., “How One Simple Tweak Can Shave 5-10 Strokes Off Your Golf Game The Next Time You Play.”
Utilize Social Proof
Another way to create an attention-getting headline is by using social proof. This is when you let prospective readers know that others know something specific or are doing something specific, and that they should too.
E.G., “Now You Too Can Recession-Proof Your Business.”
Get People Curious
The key here is to arouse relevant curiosity. You might do this by telling people they’ll get a desired benefit, but not telling them how they’ll get that benefit. Typically, a title like this goes against common wisdom, which is what arouses curiosity about how it’s possible.
Example, “How To Run An Ultramarathon Even If You Can’t Run Around The Block.”
Use Attention-Getting Words
There are some words that almost always seem to get attention, which is why you’ll want to use them in your titles whenever possible. For example:
- How to.
- You too.
- Really works.
IMPORTANT: You should only use these words when they apply. When it comes to titles and the content they represent, be sure to follow this rule...
Under-promise in the title and over-deliver in the content.
Never, ever do the opposite.
Now, for my final tip...
Tip #10: Proof and Polish
Your first draft may not be something you’re proud of, and that’s okay. The magic happens when you proof and polish your content. This is the step where you take your content from “good” to “great.”
- The first thing you can do is run your spellcheck and grammar check. You can use the tools included with your word processor, and/or you can use professional tools such as Grammarly.
- Your second step is to have a human proofread the content. Ideally, this should be someone other than you, as you’re probably too close to the content to see all your errors. People tend to read their own content the way they think they wrote it rather than the way it actually appears. If you do decide to proof it yourself, then set it aside for a few days to a couple of weeks which lets you look at it with “fresh” eyes.
- Aside from proofing grammatical and spelling errors, you also want to edit your content ruthlessly to make it as good as possible. As you go through your draft, ask yourself these questions:
- Is any part of the content difficult to read? A quick and easy way to test this is by reading it out loud. Better yet, have someone else read it out loud to you.
- Is every word, sentence and paragraph necessary? The point here is to cut out anything unnecessary (fluff and filler).
- Is there any part that’s unclear? In some cases, you may need to add more details so that someone who doesn’t have as much knowledge as you can understand the information and apply it. You may consider recruiting beta readers who’ll show you where your content needs more details.
- Is the writing style easy to read? Aim for a light, conversational tone. A good way to do this is to imagine you’re writing to a friend and use that same basic tone for your content. (This report you’re reading right now is an example of a light tone that is easy to read.)
- How can you better engage your readers? If you find that your content seems a bit dry or boring, look for ways to better engage readers. For example, can you tell a joke? (Use humor sparingly since it’s not understood in the same way by all people.) Would a story engage readers?
- NOTE: Sometimes your content may be fairly serious, but you can lighten it for a moment and engage readers by using light-hearted examples or sharing light-hearted stories. For example, if you’re teaching bodybuilding information, you might share an embarrassing story of dropping a heavy plate in the gym and having absolutely everyone turn and look at you.
- How can you add value to the content? You can make your content more useful by providing tools, where appropriate. This includes checklists, templates, planners, mind maps and similar.
Pros & Cons of This Method
As a marketer, you need content for everything from traffic generation to relationship-building to preselling to sellable products. Your business will grow faster if you’re able to create high-quality, effective content. That’s why you’ll want to put the above tips and ideas to work for you the next time you sit down to create a piece of content.