Popular books or media about online marketing always try to change the rules of what hooks today’s readers. The reality is this: the delivery method may change, but the heart and core of engaging content stays the same. Today, we’re going to specifically write about effective content for blogging.
Read on to learn more.
Method of delivery changes but resonance is constant
Theater, billboards, photographs, novels, tweets, vines, blogs. Today, there are countless ways to deliver content to your audience. However, technology aside, good content is not measured by the flashy package you deliver with but the gift that's ultimately inside the box.
In other words, audiences of all generations, ages, and needs connect with content most if it covers two basic principles:
- If readers understand it, they will buy it.
- If readers connect with it, they will share it.
Notably in this case, buy it doesn’t refer specifically to purchase as much as acceptance -- the blasé “I don’t buy it” meaning, if you will. If your audience doesn't "buy" your content -- as in, accept its credibility and value to them -- then you've missed the mark entirely.
This shift in thinking also applies to sharing -- we’re not referring specifically to social media shares, though they are certainly part of the overall picture. Instead, we’re referring to the more general meaning of sharing, meaning passing the word to others. This could certainly include social media, which is part of our focus here at ProFromGo Internet Marketing, but it could also include more traditional means such as word-of-mouth.
Writing content that is understood
[caption id="attachment_5513" align="aligncenter" width="600"] For all the time you put into your online content, make sure it's actually readable by your audience! Photo courtesy Helga Weber on Flickr.[/caption]
Readability is a concept is as old as time -- well, at least since people were literate. In order for your content to be understood, you must make it digestible to the reader. Depending on your audience, this means different things. Is your audience young or old, visual or auditory learners, or emotional or intellectual thinkers?
You’re going to have to answer those questions yourself with a little audience research but once you have the answer, it’s time to generate audience-targeted content. To get started, remember your Online Readability Check List:
Unless you are writing an academic thesis, it’s 8th-grade reading level or bust.
Keep the SAT/ACT words tucked away where they belong and stick to vocabulary that your readers understand from the get go. You want them to stay on the page and read your blog, not wrinkle their brow and a tab to dictionary.com.
Keep paragraphs to 5 lines of text or less.
Back-lit screens are harsh on the eyes and readers naturally skim through large paragraphs of text. Now imagine those two challenges combined into a Perfect Storm. The solution? Stick to smaller paragraphs and you’ll increase readability by a mile.
If you include photos or media, keep them relevant or they’ll only be a distraction.
You’re better off without a photo or video if it has no relevance to your topic. Think of it this way: the Internet is a flashy, distracting thing to begin with. Reader’s eyes are constantly teased with words and colors. Keep that demand in mind when you choose your photos: What do your readers actually want to look at? What media will increase the readability of your content and not distract your readers?
There’s more to it, but checking off these three items will set you well on the way. Let’s move on to the next principle.
Writing content that will connect
[caption id="attachment_5508" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Connecting to your audience is like an arrow seeking its target, but crafting your arrow isn't as simple as it seems. Photo courtesy of Horia Varlan on Flickr.[/caption]
Readability is the first step but relatability is the clincher. When gauging relatability of your content, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do my readers relate to the content on a personal or professional level?
- Does my content solve a problem my readers have?
By meeting one (or preferably both) of these needs, you’re increasing the likelihood your readers will share the content with others, presumably like-minded peers. This is great exposure not only for your business but also your credibility.
To understand how to meet the mark on both these items, you again need to engage in researching your audience. Are they looking to you for personal or professional advice? Does your audience have problems that need to be resolved? Can you resolve those problems? How?
The takeaway: Meet you readers where they are. Write content that’s relevant to them and their needs and interests. You’re the expert and that's all well and good, but the true challenge is to find a way to deliver your expertise in a way that truly helps your readers.
Where/how do you start?
Start right away and plan your blog posts far in advance. Approach it as a puzzle to be solved and remember the readability/relatability principles: will my readers understand this blog post and if so, would the post help their needs? Repeat those mantras in your head and you’re well on your way.
Best of luck to you.