Throw Away What You Know About Content

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Let's Get Creative

Trust me when I say I’ve been there.

 

As an early writer, it’s clear that good content doesn’t come easy.

 

You look at other sources and see their perfectly fine-tuned structures. Their engaged comments section arguing over nothing. Their eloquent (if not at times rambunctious) articles showing you all the easy ways you can improve yourself through their experiences like you were walking in their shoes. They’re the pros.

 

And you sit there thinking, glancing at your hundred followers,

 

I can’t write something like this no matter what I try.

 

It’s not easy. Nothing is ever easy. It takes practice. Yes, I said practice and that’s how it is.

 

You get better by physically doing it. Not by thinking about it all day. You sit down, find a well written article, write a paragraph or two and then try again and again.

 

You’ll need research, examples, topics of interest, and an initiative to push yourself. It’s all about adapting to what you like. How you like it. And how you want it done.

 

If you still care enough to improve your content, you’ll want to grab a notepad and make sure you’ve got this practice down in your habits.  I’d recommend using Google Docs if you haven’t tried it yet. It’s very handy.

 

For now, let’s start with the basics and then we’ll get to the more detailed oriented stuff.

So what makes good content good? 

Do you like those clickbait articles with the creepy photoshop pictures?

 

If the answer is no, then congratulations. You are in the majority. That’s bad content, the kind that you and everyone else should stay away from. Bad content throws away long term loyalty for a quick buck. In contrast, good content keeps readers interested for the long run.

 

It’s all about keeping a reader engaged and focused on the topic. Conveying that feeling of care and commitment through your words is as important as the way the article is setup.

 

Make me want to read it.

 

Make it legible. A block of text is still a block. An uninteresting, unmoving shape that lacks flow. It’s about spacing out and making it seem like less work.

 

In a market of mobiles, short attention spans, and time constraints. Your words have to be scannable. Broken up with sub-headings and interesting images to demonstrate your point.

 

“Improve your blog with images”

Or

“Watch your view count increase with this”

 

You don’t want to give away the information, just tease it. This goes for both main body content and for written content like blogs. Persuade the readers, draw them in. Reward them for their efforts by adding a picture or a chart.

Convey it with feeling

Relate to your audience. Show them you’re human too. Give examples they can relate to so that your message has an easier time getting through.

 

Have you ever spent hours on end trying to convince a coworker or a friend about how what they think they know is wrong? And yet you’re still baffled that they still don’t get it, even after taking the time to analyze why.

 

That, right there, is an emotional investment. I’ve given you an example that I can relate to that’s vague enough for you to have experienced a very similar circumstance. If a reader has had this connection with the information you’re providing them, then you are doing your content justice.

Let’s get greasy...with slide copies

Okay, hear me out.

 

This. This thing right here above this sentence. Is known as a grease slide copy. It cements a natural statement that braces a reader’s attention for what comes next.

 

Pretty neat, right?

 

It’s like a mini sub-heading (sub sub-heading?) that effortlessly glides to the next paragraph. You’ll want to use it just like you would naturally use it. There are all kinds of phrases you can use:

  • Okay, but why?
  • Let me guess
  • Let’s Be honest
  • I’ll admit it
  • Okay listen:
  • Isn’t it?
  • Here, let me explain
  • Here's why
  • This is the best part

Opening closed loops

Now it’s time for more detailed tips.

 

Remember when I said we were starting with the basics? Now it’s time to some of the more detailed work. This is closing the loop. You’ve made it this far because you wanted to know about the details that were cast aside for later.

 

Having an open loop entices the readers by letting them know there’s more later by starting with one thing and getting to another later on. Typically you’d want to leave the most important stuff last, like the good news to get the reader to stay interested until the very end.

Breaking the Repetition

We’re humans. When we see a pattern it’s easy to merely glance over what we’re already familiar with. Just like going online, we learn to drown out all the noise of advertisements. They take away from the focus of what you or I are looking for (if anything at all when I’m bored).

 

 

Your paragraphs don’t have to be just noise. Breaking up that noise will keep the reader from drowning you out. You can do this with testimonials, quotes, callouts, or any other visual method of breaking up the noise.

 

You can also break this pattern with unexpected text, such as something more passive aggressive.

How to Become A Failing Business

 

The idea is to catch people off guard by rewording your content. By doing so, you can make them more curious about what the content is about. (Or you know, just insult your audience entirely if they’re into it.)

Include the Reader

Get the reader to open up, you want them to be engaged in your content. Get them interested.

  1. Ask Questions: Give them something to think about, like a narrative plot device that keeps them interested by making them wonder about their own situation.
    Which would you rather…
    Have you ever…
    What would you do if…
  2. Allow the reader to be a part of your content: By getting readers to insert themselves into your hypothetical situations, you're actively forcing them wonder and understand how the situation you’re relating to them provides a similar emotion to what you’re conveying.
  3. Provide an assignment: Give the readers something to do, provide a link or ask them to perform something that they can do. Such as, how to get rid of Adobe Flash

Finally…

Keep it clean and simple.

This may not become an overnight success, but these are some practices you can do in order to make your content more appealing.

 

As long as you’re willing to improve, then perhaps your work will shine through to your audience.

 

Stay Fresh.