Engaging Website Content? Get Some of That!

October 07, 2015

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Engaging Website Content? Get Some of That!

We have become a society of impatient people. Much of this, of course, is because we are bombarded with information all day through technology, and we have adapted. So, we want any piece of information at our fingertips within seconds. How many hits did Joe DiMaggio have during his final season? Who starred in “The Maltese Falcon?” We can speak the question into our phones and have the answer within seconds. And when we have to read? Well, we scan, we skim, and we look for pieces of information that might interest us.

So, as you are spending time developing the “persona” of your target customer, so that you can write good site content, be sure you add “impatient” to that persona. Because no matter what your content says, it will have to be written and structured for an impatient audience. And here are your 6 keys to do just that.

  1. Keep it Short and Simple

If people want to read nice long prose, they will go back to school and read textbooks. If they want to read nice long prose, they will download a novel. In some ways, however, this is a good thing, because you don’t have to be a master of sophisticated composition. You just have to know how to write grammatically correct content for those with reading levels between 6th and 8th grades. You will use short words and write short sentences paragraphs.

  1. Sub-Headings Let Readers Scan and Skim

When they are used correctly, sub-headings tell the reader what content is to follow. The biggest mistake some content writers make is, in trying to get plenty of sub-headings in, the content that follows doesn’t match. Make sure your sub-headings are “directional,” that is, they really tell the reader what is to follow. Then, the reader can decide if that information is personally important.

  1. Use Lists

These are also great for scanning and skimming. And they give short bursts of content that people will read. One of the things that analytics research shows over and over again is that “listicles,” as they are called, continue to engage readers more than anything else.

  1. Use Bold Print – but Sparingly

Sub-headings of course should be in bold. Within the text, however, you can also “bold” some words or phrases that will catch the reader’s eye, if the content is really important to your purpose.

  1. Use Graphics – Lots of Them

People don’t ignore pictures, infographics, charts and graphs. They are drawn to the far more than to typed text. The more graphics and media the better. Any time you can replace words with media, you must do it. And, just from an appearance standpoint, using media makes your content “look” more interesting.

  1. The Text Itself – Here’s the “Kicker”

Whether your content is on pages of the site itself or in your blog, you have one of three purposes – to educate, to entertain, or to inspire.

Educate: If your purpose is to educate then you write with energy, enthusiasm and as a confident expert. You are a teacher of sorts, and an actor too. If you are excited about your topic, it will show in your writing. And if you link to other expert sites, you will be seen as one who “knows” who the other experts are.

Entertain: Even if your product or service is very practical, some humor goes a long way toward engaging readers. Telling a joke related to your niche, recalling a humorous incident with a customer – these things engage and make you more human. Use it when you can.

  • You are selling home décor items. Can you provide decorating ideas with photographs that will inspire a reader to want to do something similar with your products? You are selling a career counseling service. Can you provide great success stories of clients that will inspire readers to go for their goals?

Here are some other tips as you think about crafting that content:

  1. Use shocking, funny, and/or engaging titles – this is the first thing that grabs attention and you really only have about 2 seconds to do that
  2. Start off with a piece of amazing data or an anecdote that will spark interest right away
  3. Use power words, such as “right now,” “new,” and “results” – these engage.
  4. Tap into emotions with words such as: free, silly, discover, astonishing, discount, scary, elite, affordable, best.
  5. Use the 2nd person, or the 1st if telling a story. Using the distant 3rd person doesn’t build a relationship
  6. Make your Sub-Headings Compelling – “I Almost Lost My House” would be a good example.
  7. Use storytelling and put your facts and data within the story. People remember stories when they don’t remember dry facts.
  8. Write with confidence. When you say things like “in my opinion,” you don’t sound like an expert.
  9. Keep up on every new trend in your niche. Your site content should change accordingly, and you will have fresh topics for blog posts.

Think of content as a fun way to engage your visitors – talk to them as if they were sitting at your kitchen table.