How To Write Content People Want to Read
You created a beautiful WordPress blog and chose a nice host for it. You even have really great content ideas that you intend to change your reader’s life with.
But one question you haven’t asked yourself is this: What if the intended doesn’t want to read about your life-changing secrets?
Your blog will fail, your self-esteem will fall and you’ll change the subject whenever a friend tries to talk about your ‘career’.
So, how do you eliminate the what ifs? Follow the following tips to write blog posts that people will actually read:
- Know the People
Whom are you targeting?
This is the question you have to answer every time you sit to write a new blog post. Then you have to ask yourself if the idea you’re presenting will be interesting to them.
With the answer to the first question at the back of your head, you‘ll be able to write the most relevant content for your reader.
With the vast amount of content on the internet, you want yours to be as helpful as possible. It should achieve two or all of these goals:
- Solve their problem #MostImportant
- Motivate them to achieve their own goals.
- Make them laugh.
The first thing you always have to think about is how much help you’re bringing to the table.
- Craft Your Headline
As The Father of Advertising, David Ogilvy, put it, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Your headlines should be specific rather than generic, curiosity-rousing not necessarily sensational and spelling out a benefit – your reader should know what they’re getting by reading your post.
Need some inspiration? Check out Brian Clarks’ “Magnetic Headlines” templates that are based on previous successful headlines.
- Spend Time on Your Intro
I’m sure you’ve read a post that had you hooked right from the start. You just remember reading the first line and reading all the way to the end.
You too can have that effect on your audience. You just have to perfect your intro. While the headline grabs the attention of your reader, the intro gets them reading and continue through to the following paragraphs.
It’s no wonder then that it takes Stephen King weeks, months or even years just to come up with the opening line of a book.
Here are some of the ways you can make your intro irresistible to your reader and help your articles gain traction:
- Ask a question.
- Share an interesting fact.
- Start with the end of your story.
- Apply an anecdote.
- Use a cliffhanger.
- Use gentle confrontation.
- Be Conversational
Look around and you’ll see a lot of content that sounds it’s churned by a robot. This kind of content turns people off.
To avoid that, you need to be conversational in the way you write. This means writing as you speak. Conversational content should feel like a chat with a close friend. Not a broadcast message to a group.
To make your content conversational:
- Make your sentences as short as possible.
- Use contractions. For instance, use “I’m” instead of “I am”, “won’t” instead of “will not”.
- Be free to start sentences with conjunctions such as “and” and “but”.
- Avoid using the passive voice at all costs.
- Apply humor.
- Don’t be too formal.
- Avoid using jargon.
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Just don’t go overboard.
- Embrace Brevity
This is truly an age of information overwhelm. There’s just too much information and everyone is looking to save more time while getting that genuine connection.
Therefore, as a blogger, it’s imperative that you quickly get to the point.
What does this mean?
It doesn’t meant that you restrict your blog posts to 300 words. Neither does it mean that you don’t use all 140 characters on Twitter.
It means that you have to be concise in how you write. That is, get rid of repetition, redundancy and all that robs the reader off the pleasure of reading your post.
Once you’re done writing the first draft of your post, go through it to edit and shorten.
- Check the Format
One of the reasons why a reader could click on your irresistible headline and yet not read your post is due to poor formatting.
You might write the most insightful blog post that no one will ever really read – simply because the format isn’t inviting enough.
To improve on your format, use an easy to read font, make use of visuals, use subheadings, bullets and numbered lists. Also, avoid having blocks of text by breaking up long paragraphs. Your design should also be well optimized for mobile devices.
- Use What Has Already Been Proven to Work
Sometimes you just need to look at what’s working and what has been proven to work. Is it long-form content? Is it list posts? Or do readers prefer content with visuals?
Some of the content types that have been proven to work include:
- List posts.
- How-to posts.
- Controversial topics.
- Video tutorials.
- Personal stories.
Instead of trying to reinvent to wheel, look around in your industry and related blogs and you just might find your next blog post idea.
Proofread your work.
It’s normal to make errors as you write. It’s inexcusable to let the reader see those errors. Content that’s full of errors distracts readers from the main message and makes it easier for them to disregard everything you’re saying. It’s common perception that you’re rushed, careless and unprofessional if your content is full of errors. Remember that proofreading isn’t just about looking for “their” and replacing it with “there”. It’s also about the context, facts, brevity and how paragraphs and ideas relate.
Does your last blog post pass? What more tips can you offer new bloggers trying to get readers? Let’s talk in the comments.