Are you seeing real value from the investment you’re making in your company’s blog?
Are you attracting visitors organically but seeing very few click-throughs to other pages on your site?
Are visitors truly engaging with the content you want them to engage with?
If you’re doing content marketing right, you’re publishing blog posts that nurture leads. To succeed at this, your content needs to be exceptionally meaningful to its audience.
The information you’re conveying needs to resonate with the reader. It needs to inform them, entertain them, and make them feel like they’re better off having read it.
In this post, we’ll take a look at five ways to ensure your content captures and holds your audience’s attention.
1. Consider Readability
People read between 20% and 28% of the words on their screen. The rest, they just glance over.
Skim reading isn’t ideal for content marketers because it increases a visitor’s chances of missing info that’s important to the marketing effort.
Sadly, this is just the way humans have started interacting with on-screen information. And creating content without considering this reality is a giant misstep.
Fortunately, there are two ways for content marketers to ensure their messages aren’t lost as readers scan over a blog post.
Blog writers should accept that the average person doesn’t engage with online content the same way they engage with a novel.
Short, punchy sentences are more effective than long, flowery prose. Paragraphs should be short and communicate a single idea.
OptinMonster has perfected this writing style in their blog.
Chunking involves breaking up long sections of text with various visual elements. This reduces the chances of information overload and makes engaging with the content much easier.
InFlow uses this technique to great effect in their blog post on calculating inventory turnover ratio. Using subheadings, images, quotes, video, bullet points, and formulas, the site manages to make a long, complex post exceptionally readable.
2. Write a Killer Intro
An article’s intro often determines the mindset with which a visitor starts reading the post content.
A great introduction makes the reader buy into the reading process even before they get to the meat of the post.
So give your readers a reason to engage with your content. Make them feel something. Charm them with your wit. Intrigue them with your insight. Even scaring them with a dose of reality is better than serving up a boring, cookie-cutter intro.
The people over at Buffer are experts at crafting amazing article intros. Just take a look at this post written by Alex Turnbulll.
3. Don’t Give More Information Than Necessary
There’s very little reason to overwhelm your audience with unnecessary ideas, paragraphs, or sentences.
Make a point in as few words as possible without compromising the article’s purpose. Be clear, to the point, and don’t repeat yourself.
Piwik’s post on customer lifetime value is dense, complex, and long. But it’s never repetitive or boring.
Also, remember that your article exists to communicate a set of messages that your audience will find valuable. Once you’ve done this, bring the article to a close. There’s very little value in lengthening an article purely for the sake of writing a long article.
In their blog post on diversity at the workplace, GoCo takes on a sensitive topic without overwhelming the reader with information.
4. Supplement Text with Imagery and Video
Using images in your blog posts is a great way to make the article more readable.
But imagery is also a great way to communicate the actual point of your post. Infographics are an incredibly accessible and effective way to communicate complex ideas without overwhelming your audience with written information.
Take a leaf from Brand Folder’s playbook and use an infographic to convey a complex set of ideas, statistics, and facts.
Video is an equally popular media format to include in your blog posts. While it’s also great at communicating ideas, its main benefit is its ability to engage readers. People enjoy watching moving pictures and listening to a narrator far more than they enjoy reading on-screen text.
In their post on staying active while working from home, Dialog supplements their exercise descriptions with extremely convenient video demonstrations.
Another example is Bench, who breaks down a very complex accounting concept via video, which they’ve placed in the article’s introduction.
Some Final Thoughts
If your content doesn’t engage readers, it’s not going to fulfill its main function.
Boring, irrelevant content that’s hard to read is not going to nurture your leads. It’s not going to promote conversion. And it’s not going to generate positive feelings towards your brand.
Content that’s entertaining, insightful, and hyper-relevant, on the other hand, stands a great chance of turning visitors into leads. Or leads into customers. Or customers into ambassadors.
Give this topic the attention it deserves, and your blog will start delivering the results you deserve.