Anyone familiar with the internet can tell you of disappointing tales of finding great headlines that led to nothing useful in terms of content. The perfect experience for an internet user is one where the headlines that they see lead to great content. The content must have value and be relevant to their needs. Previously, content used to be found using only search engines as the main source. However, internet savvy users are likelier to check the social platform for shares and the number of views the content has received since it was published online.
When creating content for a website, the intention is to deliver results consistently, in the form of shares and web traffic. This can be challenging if you do not have a point plan to help you get there. Here is a seven point plan that will have you create content that earns high social proof and page views.
1. Create a strong title
There are a number of issues that your title must address if it is to help the overall quality of the article. You must keep in mind that the title is the first point of contact between your content and the audience, so it must be catchy. The best way to do this is:-
- Make sure that the title is relevant to the content; misleading headlines will cause your social proof to suffer and the overall appeal of your website to decline.
- The title must offer some value that the audience needs; it should show the reader why the value offered is useful and relevant to them.
- Use a number in the title if possible; it increases the number of readers because they know that the value of the content can be summarized into a quick number of points that they can memorize.
- Motivate the audience to read the content using fear in the title if possible; this may sound unpleasant, but fear has always been a stronger motivator than reward.
2. Split the content into sections
Subheadings are essential to the content as they make it easier for the reader to get the gist of the content even if they do not read all of it. Most readers are unlikely to read the entire content, make it easy for them to get the salient points by turning these into subheadings and sections. If you create good subheadings, you make it likelier that the person seeing the post will share it on social media and re tweet the key points.
3. Learn the rules of web content
This is so that you know which rules you must follow, which ones can be bent, and which ones can be broken. The idea is to give your content some consistency without making it look too generic. People are okay with familiarity, but they do not respond to content that feels mechanical. A good understanding of the rules that govern quality content will enable you to create exceptional content. Do not be afraid to bend or break the rules of content as long as you do this with good reason.
4. Make the content easy to skim
Your article must be skimmable within the first thirty seconds of looking at it. Use bold fonts to highlight ideas that you need the audience to internalize. This is especially relevant where circumstances have forced your content to be long. Allowing the reader to skim over the main points will increase the number of readers who actually read the content in its entirety. Skimming allows them to discover whether there is any value to be gained from your content. Use bulleted lists to get points across in a short and simple manner.
5. Text is good, visual is better
Some of the best and most shared content are purely text, but this is a rare occurrence. The best practice is to add some visual element to the overall structure of the content. This can be anything from a video, image, infographics, and Slideshare. I recommend the infographics; this form of content combines the appeal of a picture with the conciseness of text.
6. Leverage influence
Leverage those who have influenced you into the content. The value of any content can be seen from where the inspiration and underlying principles are sourced from. Use quotations from influential people to add value to the content. If you can find industry influencers with a social following, leverage this to your advantage. Use their influence to attract attention to your content. If you have a relationship with them, get them to reference your work in the social media profiles.
7. Add some humor to the content if possible
No matter what issue you are addressing, make the content a little humorous or light. There is no need to be too serious when creating content, especially if you are looking to get social media shares and leads. There is no reason why you cannot inspire, inform, educate, and entertain, all at the same time. As a matter of fact, this is why infographics are so popular; they provide useful information and the graphics are a form of visual entertainment. Besides, studies have shown that people will learn better, when they are entertained.
This is not a formula that you must follow religiously. It is a set of guidelines to help you to get where you are going. Use it to guide your content creation decisions.