If amazing content drops on a web page and nobody sees it, what’s the point? Small business owners, entrepreneurs and startup founders tend to share one essential characteristic: Lack of time. You simply don’t have time to waste on blogs, videos, white papers or any other kind of content that doesn’t profit the business directly. Great content has the power to increase traffic, which drives conversion rates while generating leads and positive referrals.
Enough with the why, let’s get to the how. Below are five proven strategies to connect with more readers, keep them engaged on the page and encourage them to share what they found. Read through your current content with this checklist to estimate how much work you (or your content team) has in front of them.
1. Who Are You Talking to?
Third person is good for formal pieces like white papers or press releases. Otherwise, be fully yourself and speak to the audience in the second person. People like being spoken to directly, not spoken as if they are customers and not people. Tell them how they can use this information right now using “you” to drive home the point. Everyday conversations are full of the word “you,” and your content needs to invite the reader into a conversation that they want to continue past the content’s end.
Want additional storytelling advice? Check out these articles for more tips:
Engaging – How to tell your company’s story.
Divorcing – 10 tips for writing the worst blog post ever.
2. Respect Their Time
Your reader doesn’t have a lot of time. Demonstrate you respect the time they are spending on your content by making it easy to read and digest. That means no paragraphs should be longer than seven lines and subheads should describe what’s below them in an intriguing way. Keep in mind that if your content starts to wander off topic, your readers will wander off the page.
Need more help? These resources will help you learn how to make the most of your readers time, and what you can do to avoid boring them:
Efficient – Great blogs in boring industries.
Deficient – Blogging mistakes that waste your reader’s time.
3. Write Your Header Last
Understand what you are writing first and then design a header that presents it in the most exciting way. Spend as much time on the header as you did everything else because this is your first, and most valuable, conversion tool. Don’t make clickbait headlines or your readers won’t return. Your content has to deliver on the header’s promises.
For advice on writing good headlines, and analysis on exaggerative headlines, check out these links:
Great header – How to Write Magnetic Headlines – 80 percent of readers scan through headlines. Only 20 percent go on to read the story.
Clickbait – “This Grandma’s Friends Laughed At Her Idea. But What She Did In Her Shed Is Awesome.” Downworthy can take care of that.
4. Don’t Skip Images
We are a visual culture now. Part of the reason is that we don’t have time to sit around and read, but technology also just makes it easy to enjoy beautiful images. Your competition is keeping them enthralled with stunning photos, fascinating video and soothing page design. Why would they want to give that up for stock photos and awkward visuals? There are plenty of free tools for better images, video and design. Use them and make sure your pictures support the content.
Compare these pages and tell me where you want to spend your time:
Good – What is Blik?
Ugly (aka “Ouch! My Eyes!”) – Official websites that need to be stopped.
5. Be an Enchanter
People are hardwired to love stories. They will listen to stories about anything in the world if the storyteller is enchanting. Fortunately, storytelling is easy to teach. Many people give up on it because it’s a craft like carpentry. It takes time to get it right for a specific audience, but once they buy in, they will follow you anywhere.
For more storytelling advice, check out:
Wow – Land O Lakes, A Year of Simple Goodness
Blah – 9 Epic Fails in Storytelling
Now the Easy Part
Now that you have content worth seeing, tell everyone about it with pride. Promote it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social network where your ideal prospects are gathering. It may take some research to find out where your content needs the most promotion, but as long as you follow the above list, your content will start connecting with the right audience right away. What you put inside the content, and where you take you prospects from there, are entirely up to you.