1. Write an Attention-Grabbing Headline
When it involves headlines, the adage is true: you never get a second chance to form a primary impression.
headlines aren’t just the primary thing people see and skim; it’s sometimes the sole thing people see and read.
That’s right. All it takes is one “meh” headline to undo all the diligence, research, time, and love we pour
into our articles, blog posts, ebooks, podcasts, webinars, and more.
But before we overcorrect and jump into clickbait territory (seriously, please don’t do that), let’s take a step back and appearance at the kinds of headlines that get people to click within the first place with the Neil Patel-recommended 4Us headline formula from Melanie Duncan:
Useful headlines: “Browsing” may be a misnomer. Anytime we’re searching online, we’re actively trying to find
answers or information. Making headlines useful for your audience helps grab their attention as they’re trying to find information.
Urgent headlines: The fear of missing out on something they need or need may be a massively compelling reason for people to click.
Unique headlines: Sally Hogshead said it best, “different is best than better.”
Ultra-specific headlines: These headlines tell you exactly what to expect, in really specific ways. Bonus points if they often contain an odd number.
How to construct the right headline
Knowing what sorts of headlines drive people to click is one-half the battle. the opposite is really writing it.
Summarize the content: Use the headline as a preview for what the whole piece of content holds.
Make it clear: Don’t sacrifice clarity to be unique or drive attention. People still want to understand what they’re
getting to get from your content before they put time into it.
Keep it succinct: Get to the purpose , and roll in the hay quickly.
Make sure the headline works out of context: As Nielsen Norman Group notes, “We often consider headlines as being connected with the associated story. However, online headlines usually appear out of context in places like search results, social-media streams, blog posts, and news feeds.”
When in doubt, try the Headline Analyzer
If you’re just unsure about the impact your headline may need, otherwise, you need a few tips about how you’ll improve your existing headline.
The headline analyzer provides some great guidance on the way to tweak and update headlines to maximize their impact, including:
Adding common, uncommon, emotional, and power words: the proper mix can improve clicks.
Headline type: Is it feeling too generic? Or are you aiming for something more useful?
Sentiment: Are you aiming for a positive or negative headline?
Word count: Aim for 5-6 words total
Character count: Headlines around 55 characters tend to perform better
Skimmability: Are the proper words within the right place to catch your audience’s attention?
2. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
You’ve probably heard that Google loves fresh content. you’ll have also heard that Google loves long posts. It seems, Google (and other search engines) just really, really love quality content. search engines love when content has three key characteristics, and not one among them explicitly says “excessive word count”:
Deep content: Content depth is large . Dive deep into your topic, and canopy it thoroughly.
Comprehensive content: Being comprehensive on a subject might take more words than less, but it really is about how well you cover the subject.
Keyword-focused content: No, we’re not going back to 2010 and stuffing our content with keywords, but you ought to a minimum of confirming the keyword you would like to point out up for is included and repeated
throughout your content.
I know there are getting to be some SEO experts that disagree here, but the standard versus quantity topic is one I’m happy to probe any day. Especially since Google updates have consistently shifted more and more towards favoring users over the last decade, and user experience will now directly affect Google rankings starting this year.
3. Use the Inverted Pyramid to Deliver Information
Like we talked about in 103 Content Ideas to feature to Your Editorial Calendar, text-based content is great, but web readers don’t actually read; they skim pages for information.
While this could be an enormous blow to our content creation egos, we will still get them to consume our content by helping them stay and skim more efficiently with the inverted pyramid approach to content creation.
The inverted pyramid is employed heavily publicly in relations and journalism because it helps confirm our most vital information is communicated first:
To apply the inverted pyramid to any piece of content, simply follow the same structure as the diagram above:
Lead with need-to-know information: If we needed to communicate one big idea to our audiences, what would it be? That’s what should go first.
Add supporting information in the middle: Let’s assume our audiences make it this far. What else do they need to know? What information can we provide that will compel them to keep reading?
End with nice-to-know information: This shouldn’t be throwaway content, but this also shouldn’t be information our audiences have to see to get the most of our content either.
4. Write for Your Top Audiences
Trying to appeal to everyone together with your content will ultimately end in it appealing to nobody. We just can’t be all things to all or any people, nor should we would like to be. Instead, specialize in creating content for your top audiences. Don’t know who your top audiences are? Even starting with audience basics will help point your content in the right direction.
Step 1: Look at who actually buys your product or service.
You can start developing your audience segments by looking at your existing customers. What are the types of customers you have now? If you’re selling to businesses, who do you interact with most at that business?
Step 2: Look at who you would like to have as your customer.
After you identify your audiences from your existing customer list, look at audience types that might be missing. Maybe you’re trying to appeal to the same types of organizations you do today, but you want to reach a different person there. Add them to the audience list.
Step 3: Select your top five target audiences.
Yes, just five. Start small first. You can always add more after you’ve seen some content successes.
Step 4: Uncover their interests.
You have such a lot more information about your audiences than you realize, but you’ll got to check out a mixture of qualitative feedback and quantitative data to urge the entire audience story:
Qualitative feedback: search for real feedback from customer interviews, database surveys, empathy mapping, personas, social media feedback, customer service questions, and more.
Quantitative data: probe numbers that tell a story, like a website visitor analytics, social engagement numbers, demographic information, or maybe third-party research.
The more you know about your audiences, the more relevant your content will be to them. And that’s crazy-important, because as the amazing Jay Baer always says,
“Relevancy magically creates time and attention.”
5. Write a Better Post Than Others
According to Mark Twain, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn, and they make new and curious combinations.”
Doing a simple Google search on just about anything might prove him right. What we’re saying has probably been saying before. What we’re writing about has most likely been covered by a competitor. But instead of focusing on Twain’s belief that there is no such thing as a new idea, let’s focus on his concept of “new and curious combinations,” because that’s exactly what we can do with our content.
Step 1: Do a quick search on your topic.
First, do an easy Google look for what you’re writing about. note of who’s writing about it, what they’re saying, and what their perspective is on the subject. How does it compare to what you would like to write down? what’s your perspective? What’s missing from their content that you simply could increase yours? How are you able to add your expert voice to the topic?
Alternatively, you’ll also do a more in-depth search with Buzzsumo and obtain actual metrics around a number of the topics you’re considering:
What you ultimately want to walk away with, no matter how you do your topic research, is a general idea of what the topic landscape looks like.
Step 2: Create an even better piece of content.
Once you get a thought of what the content topic landscape seems like , create a far better piece of content by making it:
More relevant to your top audiences: Remember to write down their goals, questions, and needs.
More in-depth and detailed: are you able to take the subject a step further? are you able to dive a touch bit deeper than others have?
Better designed: is that the information better conveyed with a video? Maybe a graphic? Or wouldn’t it be better as a downloadable ebook?
More current: Are there new, better, or newer insights you’ll add?
While we don’t want to base our entire content strategy around one-upping the competition, sometimes you only need to cover topics that are covered already. And that’s quite ok, as long as you’re creating a far better piece of content than what’s already out there.
6. Build Longevity with Evergreen Content
Whenever I do a hardcore, in-depth, nitty-gritty content audit, I look for ROT:
- R – redundant content
- O – outdated content
- T – trivial content
How can we get ROT content? More often than not, it’s from creating timely content that covers the newest trends or references the newest popular culture phenomenon. While those sorts of posts and pieces of content are often fun, they often become outdated quickly.
That’s why it’s critical to specialize in balancing timely content with evergreen content. If done right, evergreen content can generate sustainable traffic, while timely content traffic can give quick, immediate bursts with sharp drops after the hype is over.
The great news about evergreen content is you don’t need to publish or republish it as often to stay up with traffic generation. you almost certainly see this already on your site today with “greatest hits” content that continuously drives traffic, regardless of what proportion of new content you publish.
What is evergreen content?
- Answer common questions that are always relevant to searchers
- Be interesting even after a long time of its publication date
- Pull in traffic over months or years
- Lack an expiration date
How can you create evergreen content?
Here are two easy steps to get you started:
1. Target beginners
When it involves creating evergreen content, start with writing for beginners. Just snake sure your content is freed from assumptions about your reader, also as freed from technical jargon. If there’s any industry-specific vocabulary, take the time to elucidate it in your article.
2. Focus your topics
It is easier for your readers to understand and apply a specific topic. It is also easier for you to write a specific topic. Think about a broad topic that interests you, and narrow it down to a niche.
7. Offer Content Upgrades
Content upgrades are bonuses specific to the content your audience is consuming. it’s not a generic ebook or toolkit that you simply offer on every page of your site. Done right, you’ll be providing high-quality content and potentially building your email list at an equivalent time.
Some samples of content upgrades include:
- A formatted and designed PDF version of the article: Providing a PDF version of the article will allow your reader to refer to it at their convenience.
- Summarized Checklist: Once you give valuable insights and how-tos, your audience will want to implement them. Provide a checklist that covers your post’s main points.
- Templates: Boilerplates/spreadsheets that guide your audiences in implementing the techniques you outline.
- Advanced/Bonus versions: You might not reveal all your strategies in your initial content. Provide more or advanced materials in the form of an ebook, whitepaper, or template.
How do you create upgrades for your content?
Make your content actionable.
It is way easier to provide content upgrades when your content is actionable.
Sometimes you have to write non-actionable content, like when covering industry trends. In this case, you have to ensure that your content upgrade is actionable. One example is a step-by-step guide on how to take advantage of the industry trend.
Create a point-by-point version of your post.
List the actionable techniques, step by step, in a document.
Build a template
Run through your summarized article one more time. Write down some templates you can create that can make your reader’s life easier. Some examples are:
- Content calendar template, if you are writing about content strategy
- Budget template, if you are writing about creating your personal budget
- Worksheets that guide your reader
Design your content upgrades
By including a content upgrade in your article, you are already 90% ahead of your competitors. If you have the time, go above and beyond by directing some effort into the design of your content upgrade. Some simple elements that you should consider in designing your checklist and templates are:
- Include your logo
- Make the colors consistent with your branding
- Include a page on how to use the templates you are providing
Include a call-to-action to download
Finally, add a download link to the content upgrade in your article. There are a variety of tools you can use for this. At Convince & Convert, we’re partial to OptinMonster.
8. Prioritize Readability
No matter who you’re targeting, regardless of what their profession, regardless of what the topic matter, your content must be readable. But sometimes, readability are often incredibly tricky because your audience’s reading levels may vary drastically.
For example, if you’re Scholastic, and you’re creating content around a Book Fair, you’ll got to consider the vastly different reading levels of your target audiences:
- Early readers
- Teen readers
- School district administration
A popular measurement scale to work out the readability of your content is that the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Readable recommends writers have their content grade at or below 8 to make sure a majority of American’s can understand the content.
Once we grade our content, how can we improve our writing supported it? there’s a free application that did just that: the Hemingway app. Just copy and paste your written content into this app, and it’ll offer you a score of how readable your content is. you’ll even be ready to see what sentences you would like to enhance.
After working on the following pointers, you’ll see an incredible improvement in your writing. Some additional tips to form your sentences readable include:
- Restructure your sentences to something simpler and straightforward
- Only communicate one idea per sentence
- Use fewer commas and more full-stops
9. Use Data to Back Up Your Content
There are two key benefits of using data and statistics: it establishes you because the expert, and it improves the readability of your content through the utilization of charts and other data visualizations.
Collecting data by yourself may be a lot of labor . Although we roll in the hay at Convince & Convert, it’d not be practical for your business. a simple thanks to get around this is often to use trustworthy data and findings collected by others, like Pew research facility .
Remember to feature the source to those charts if you found the info online. These charts are often used as graphics for your content.
10. Don’t Forget Visual Content
Besides charts, you ought to also add images to enrich your written content. Visuals help hack content, can provide cues for readers to concentrate to a callout or critical piece of data , and just add a touch more interest than text-only content.
We adore Pexels for super high-quality images that don’t appear as if typical stock images and their better-than-most availability for images that show diversity and inclusion.
The Noun Project is one among our go-to resources, but Keynote and PowerPoint even have improved their icon games, too.
Illustrations: Drawings definitely don’t have to be cartoonish, and they can be used to prove a point or incorporated into your overall brand style.
Infographics: Data and processes can be downright beautiful when designed.
Animated GIFs: Make your own short video loops (like the one seen below that we helped create for the University of Arizona), or use a popular meme-style GIF.