Ever sat in front of the screen at a loss as to what to write for your shiny new website or blog?
This guide should give you some useful tips and pointers that will help you get started on the road to better and more engaging content writing so people stay longer and read more on your website or blog.
Engaging Content Tip 1:
Grab Attention with the headline
This is an obvious one. But it cannot be overstated enough how important the headline is.
They provide an entry point for the user, and can appeal to us on an emotional and psychological level. Nobody is going to take the time to read your engaging content unless they can relate to it in some way. You need to highlight your content by appealing to a readers 'hierarchy of needs'. People will read things that pique their interests and hopes and fears.
Your headlines will work hard for you – but you have to work hard on them first!
Headline example from a photography blog:
How to find your lens' sweet spot: A beginners guide to sharper images
This headline tells the reader up-front that it’s for beginners. Readers can trust that they’ll understand the content, even if they’re new to photography.
The copy directly following this headline refers to the 'sweet spot' again, reinforcing the positive messaging.
Writing your headline checklist:
- Is the headline clear?
- Is it concise?
- Will it compel the audience to read the content?
- Is it credible? (See number two below for more on this.)
And finally ...
DO NOT USE clickbait, write a headline that is engaging but not blatantly clickbait.
Bad headline example:
Massive earthquake in China reveals hidden cavern, whats inside will blow your mind!
Engaging Content Tip 2:
Spice it up, tell a Story
Circumstance and curiosity are great tools for drawing a reader in. They are useful as both headings and as introductions to stimulate your readers interest, and they pose questions that your readers can relate to.
Any piece of content needs an original angle or story to tell in order to spice it up and make it more readable.
Follow these common tricks that content writers use to wow audiences with their content.
- A good story often benefits from a healthy dose of the 5 C’s
Circumstance, Curiosity, Characters, Conversations and Conflict
- Emotions win! Make your readers feel something in order to spark a reaction
- Use evocative imagery in your content to get your readers engaged through their senses
- Get to the point
Characters conversation and conflict will all give meat to the bones of your content, and give your reader something to absorb while reading your piece.
People reading your content on the internet are time poor. Keep your content short and to the point so you don't bore your reader.
Engaging Content Tip 3:
You are original, so put you're own stamp on your content
People have come to your site to find out what it is you are offering. Don't be afraid to wow them with your knowledge of your chosen field. It's the real in-depth tips, tricks and nuggets of information that we are all looking for daily that will gain your readers trust, respect and attention.
Don't copy and paste from other sources (Google knows!)
Do use other sources as a guide, and to spark inspiration for your own content.
If you do reference another person, then don't forget to namecheck them, and / or link back to their content if appropriate.
Original content example:
A client of mine runs a lovely boutique wine shop in the South East. He has a golden opportunity to provide top-notch content for people that buy wine from his shop or go to his website.
The whole reason he is in business is because he is an expert in his field. Therefore a blog regularly updated with notes and guides on the subject of wine would be of great interest. e.g:
- Wine glossary of terms: Or what does Appellation contrôlée actually mean?
- Tasting notes
- How-to guides like: Should I decant my wine or not?
So whatever it is you do, try and imagine the things that potential customers or clients would like to know or better understand about what you do and BOOM.. There's your content!
Here are some more examples of content pieces that you can create to highlight you offerings:
- “How to” and practical content
- Curated and list content
- Product launch content
- eBooks and guides
- Case studies
Engaging Content Tip 4:
Use relevant Imagery sparingly
Image posts on Facebook get 179% more interactions than the average Facebook post.
source: BuzzSumo - 50 things learned about content marketing 2015
Images tell a story and help readers relate to the content. By using decent imagery you can provide a nice break for the reader, which can also pique a readers curiosity so they reconnect with the subject.
In fact, content that uses an image for every 75-100 words gets the most shares.
Be careful about what visual elements you use, however. Make sure the images add value to the content. The worst thing you can do is add useless stock imagery for the sake of it. This is a sure way to turn off your reader.
In my opinion, if you are hunting the web for a suitable image to back up a point you're trying to make, then think again. The image isn't neccessary. Image use should be natural, you will usually have one or two in mind for a post or piece of content anyway.
Engaging Content Tip 5:
HELP your reader to digest your content by breaking it up.
Your reader wants to access what you have to say in a simple and bite-size chunk format. Way back in 2006 Jakob Nielson’s wrote a famous post regarding how we scan or read the web, and coined the phrase: F-Shaped Pattern for reading web content.
You can see from the image above where users have scanned the content, left to right, and are drawn to point of interest on the page like headings.
So in a nutshell, you just need to chop up your web content into bite size chunks that are easier for the reader to digest. You then divide the chunks up into relevant sections and then either use headings or bullet points as a way of signposting the user through your text.
This approach has a couple of benefits too. Firstly its easier to write this way. Secondly its better for search engine optimisation or SEO. This is because you can make use of your carefully thought out keywords in the headings, thereby making it easier for google to access your content.
To sum up:
I hope this has been an informal guide with some tips and examples that have got you thinking about quality engaging content for your website or blog. If you'd like to find out more or have any questions then please get in touch either by my contact details or sign up for your free consultation below...