Sep 13th, 2013
Easier to read?
Writing content is hard. As a content marketer, what you want to do is to bring something valuable to your target audience. This is about providing value and not about saying something great about your product.
Once you have a subject for your article, you have to be sure to format your content so your reader can easily scroll down and catch all the main ideas without going too far into the details. The attention span has gotten very small and people are only after sharable pieces of content to feed their social media accounts.
There are a few tricks to improve readability and ensure that readers can quickly capture the value of your posts.
Your Title as a Value Proposition
A great title will help your article get shared. Many people only look for titles on social medias for sharing a piece of content. If you can create an efficient title, you will benefit through better distribution.
Creating a great title for a blog post can be done by giving an affirmative value proposition, or by intriguing your reader.
The types of titles that work well in general these days, are "How To" titles (like this one) or list titles ("5 Efficient Ways to ..."). These titles will help create an efficient value proposition for your reader and your article will be easier to write.
Intriguing your reader can be done using titles like "What The Hollywood Film Industry Taught Us About Recruiting Software Developers". This title brings a value proposition and intrigues the reader by mentioning the Hollywood Film Industry (which does not have much to do with the software industry).
Capitalized letters in each word have a higher click-through rate than a capital on the first letter only.
The media website Upworthy advises to write 25 headlines for each article to push your creativity and get more chances to come up with a great title.
The blog of social media sharing tool Buffer, recommends that you do A/B testing on your Twitter account to see which headline has more success. For this to work you first need to create an credible community online.
Using subtitles in your content will help your readers scroll down your post quickly. They will be able to get the main idea of your post, the outline, and see what is in it for them. A catchy subtitle, using the keywords your reader is looking for, will get him to read at least that paragraph, and maybe share the whole post.
This point is particularly important for raising the chances of a reader clicking on your link when he sees it on social medias. A good visual will help your content get some attention. For that, your photo or illustration must stand out. When a link is published on LinkedIn, Google+ or Facebook, the site will always grab a picture from the article. This picture must illustrate your content, perhaps even in a funny way. Some links just get clicked on because of a funny picture. If the person reading your article is in your target, that is a win.
Social Sharing Buttons
Easy access to social sharing buttons is important. Some websites display them at the top, some at the end, and some on the side or somewhere it can always be seen on the screen. No matter where they are it is important that the reader does not waste time looking for them.
Using the widgets provided by the social networks will result in a bigger number of shares. People rely on their logos so they are easier to find.
Be sure to order your sharing buttons to display the social network where your community is most active. If you have many active Facebook fans, do not put the Twitter widget first. If your product targets B2C, it may not be useful to include a LinkedIn sharing button.
Use Bullet Points or Quotes
Standout elements like bullet points or quotes are effective at getting the reader's attention. When scanning the content, the reader's eye will be attracted by a list of bullet points. Lines are shorter and there is more space between elements. Lists can be effective in giving several answers to a single question, so do not hesitate to use them.
Quotes are also a good way to catch the eye of your reader. When you choose to quote a few words, it is in general the part of a text that will convey the most meaning and will impact your readers most.
Bonus: Bolding keywords
If you want to help your reader even more, you can put a bold style on the key elements of your content. Wisely used, it can improve the readability of your paragraphs and help you to underline the main ideas in your post.
We would love to get your feedback on this article in the comments below. Do not hesitate to share the tips we have forgotten about, we will add them here and will credit you for them.