40 Simple Hacks For Creating Content People Love To Read
No matter what kind of content you’re creating, you always have one goal: keep your readers reading. And now you too can hook and engage your readers using these 40 hacks for creating content that people really love.
Check them out here…
- Offer Tips
Instructional content is great. But what’s even better is when you offer tips on top of that content. Tips are useful. They help people take action. And they even make readers feel like they have insider information. All of that adds up to engaged, satisfied readers.
- Compile FAQs
If you pay attention, you’ll see the same questions in your niche pop up repeatedly on blogs, forums, social media groups and on sites like Quora. The next time you see these questions, collect them. Then compile a list of frequently asked questions with your very best answers. You can bet your readers will gobble it up.
- Share Resources
No matter what people are trying to do, they tend to spend a lot of time researching resources.
E.G., Which blog plugins should they use? What gear do they need to train for a marathon?
You can make your readers fall in love with you and your content by sharing your most trusted products and resources. They’ll save time, they’ll save money. What’s not to love?
- Provide Examples
Sometimes information just goes over your readers’ heads. You can help clarify concepts by providing specific examples. This not only helps engage readers, it also helps them move towards taking action since they now have a clear example of what to do.
- Compile Lists
People love lists. That’s why even comedians tap into “top ten” lists. You too can keep your readers engaged by sharing lists. For example:
- Top Five Ways to Lose Weight
- The 27 Best Marketing Blogs on the Planet
- 101 Car-Restoration Tips Every Enthusiast Ought to Know
- Take Screenshots
Are you explaining how to use software, taking a tour or a website, or even reviewing an online product? Then take screenshots. They provide visual interest to your content and keep readers’ attention.
- Create Templates
If you really want to provide something useful to readers, then give them the tools they need to take actions. Templates make a great choice for this purpose. For example:
- Sales letter templates for copywriters.
- Invoice templates for small business owners.
- Provide Step-By-Step Instructions
Not everyone knows what you know about a topic. So when you say something like, “Install a WordPress blog,” you readers might be scratching their heads. That’s why you can keep readers engaged and moving forward by providing exact instructions for complex processes.
- Create Infographics
Not everyone learns well from reading words only. That’s why you might consider creating an infographic, which is a visual representation of data and information.
For example: “How metabolism really works…”
- Inject Humor
People don’t just want to be educated; they want to be entertained too. That’s why you should inject some light humor into your content, which will keep people laughing and reading along.
- Tell Stories
Nothing draws a reader and hooks them on an emotional level like a good story. That’s why you’ll want to share inspirational, funny or even parable-type stories to help you get your point across.
- Provide Worksheets
Worksheets are another good choice of tools for helping readers take action on what they’re learning. For example, you might provide nearly bankrupt readers with a debt-management worksheet.
- Offer Checklists
Checklists do two things that readers love. First, they condense a complex process into a series of actionable steps. And secondly, they serve as a useful tool to use when it comes time to take action.
TIP: For best results, make sure your checklists are printable. And then encourage users to actually print and use them.
- Create Mind Maps
Creating mind maps for non-linear thinkers is a welcome addition alongside your regular content. It gives everyone a new way of looking at and consuming the information. You can start making mind maps by using software such as SmartDraw.com.
- Create Actionable Content
The idea here is to offer at least one thing that can be done quickly to get fast results. People love instant gratification, which is why readers will stay hooked to see how many other actionable tips you’ll share.
- Explain Complex Subjects In “Lay Person” Language
A lot of people hate combing through scholarly articles with a lot of jargon. That’s why you can thrill your readers by explaining complex subjects and articles in simple everyday language.
For example, if you’re catering to people who want to lose weight, then you can explain the latest article on metabolism (rather than linking to it and expecting your readers to slog through it).
- Break Big Subjects Into Bite-Size Bits
If you’re sharing “how to” information on a big subject in a place like your blog or newsletter, then break this subject up into a series of
posts or emails. Not only does this make the information less overwhelming, it also gets your readers excited about the next installment.
- Ask Questions
The idea here is to engage readers and make them think. For example:
- Have you ever lost weight and then gained it all back?
- Do you know the secrets of doubling your conversion rates?
- Are you tired of spending hours in the gym with nothing to show for it?
- Provide Strong Calls to Action
When people take action on what they just learned, they’ll overall be more satisfied with your content. That’s why you’ll want to provide calls to action to get people moving.
For example: “Now that you know exactly how to set up a WordPress blog, it’s time to get yours launched. So take the first step now by clicking here to download the free installation files – this won’t take long, so do it now!”
- Offer Illustrations
A well-placed illustration provides these three benefits:
- It breaks up big walls of text, which makes the content easier to read.
- It draws the readers’ eyes back into the content, which is always a welcome benefit.
- It provides a visual illustration to help explain the content. In other words, it adds value to the content.
For example, if you’re sharing information about how to do specific types of exercises, then you can really engage your reader by providing illustrations for each exercise.
- Provide New Twists on Old Methods
Our brains actually light up and we get a little pleasurable rush of neurotransmitters when we learn something new. This is why you’ll want to provide new ways of doing things and other novel information to your readers.
But remember, you don’t need to come up with something entirely new. Just presenting old information in a new way (such as via an infographic) might be just enough to kick those pleasurable neurotransmitters into gear.
- Share Analogies, Metaphors and Similes
This sort of language makes the content more memorable and engaging, which keeps people hooked.
For example, don’t just say something is slow. Instead, say it’s as slow as molasses in January. (Or, better yet, make up your own sayings to keep your content fresh!)
- Engage The Reader’s Senses
A lot of writers tend to describe something visually, but they neglect the other senses. Don’t do this. Instead, bring in as many as possible.
Let’s imagine you’re telling a story about failing to avoid temptation at a bakery when you’re on a diet. Here’s what you can describe:
- The smell of fresh-baked bread when you first walk in.
- The sound of the bell dinging above the door when you walk in.
- The sight of the delectable pastries.
- The taste of a raspberry-filled pastry.
- The feel of the raspberry dripping off your chin.
In short, bring your readers right into the scene with you!
- Arouse Curiosity
One very good way to keep readers reading is to simply make them curious about what’s coming up.
For example: “In just a few moments you’ll discover the fat-loss trick Hollywood celebrities use when they need to lose a fast 10 pounds…”
- Give Them What They Want, Slip In What They Need
Any content you create should be something that people really want (otherwise they won’t read it). But you can also slip in what they need, which will make the content even more useful to them.
For example, people who are looking for money-making information WANT tips for fast results. But they also need strategies to create long-term success. So you might create a report that shares fast ways to make money, while slipping in strategies for building a thriving business over the long term.
- Showcase The Benefits
In other words, let readers know the benefits of reading this content.
For example, “You’re about to find out how to double your conversion rates with a five-minute tweak!”
- Create Reader-Oriented Writing
Your content should be about the reader, not you. If it’s about you, other than an occasional story, your readers will quit reading.
So here’s a quick and dirty way to check whether your content is about your readers: simply look at how much you use words like “you” versus words like “me.” If you have more occurrences of “me” then “you,” that’s a sign it’s time to tweak.
- Use a Conversational Tone
In other words, keep it light and imagine that you’re writing to a good friend. This is much easier to read (and more fun!) than content with a stuffy textbook-style tone.
- Overcome Resistance
Sometimes as people read your content, they start thinking, “I don’t believe you.” You can help overcome this resistance and build credibility by:
- Sharing your relevant experience with the topic. E.G., You’re sharing your own weight-loss secrets.
- Sharing the results you’ve achieved for yourself or others. E.G., Tell readers that you’ve taught other copywriters, and talk about their successes.
- Sharing any relevant degrees, accolades or awards you’ve won. E.G., If you’re talking about how to write a good novel, then talk about any book awards you’ve won.
- Be An Authority
People are more willing to read and trust content coming from an expert or authority in the niche. That’s why you’ll want to establish yourself as an authority. For example:
- Share your best content so that people can see for themselves that you’re an expert.
- Share testimonials from people who refer to you as an expert.
- Be confident when you share your strategies, as this naturally helps position you as an authority.
And related to this…
- Borrow Other People’s Authority
If you haven’t yet established yourself as an authority, then you may want to borrow other people’s authority to boost your status.
One way to do this is to get quotes from authorities in your niche about you and your expertise. For example, if you wrote a book on back pain, then get several doctors to endorse your book.
- Empathize With Your Readers
Most people often feel like no one really understands or cares about their problem. If you can demonstrate this understanding, they’ll keep on reading.
For example: “I know what it’s like to get winded and then embarrassed when you climb even one flight of stairs…”
- Be Honest
The idea here is to tell the good, the bad and the downright ugly of everything. For example, if you’re reviewing an affiliate offer, then be sure to list both the pros and cons of the product.
This absolute honesty draws readers to you and builds their trust. In turn, they’ll keep reading – and they’re much more likely to buy what you’re selling.
- Flatter Your Readers
Almost everyone like flattery, even when they know it’s intentional flattery.
Try this: “I know you’re a smart [type of person] because [insert something they are likely to do or not do]…” J
Example: I know you’re a smart marketer, because you spend time reading blog posts like this on a regular basis to stay in the loop… J
- Capture Their Imagination
If you can get people thinking about how they’ll feel when they use a product you’re promoting or the information you just provided, the you are one step closer to getting them to take action.
For example: “Imagine how you’ll feel when you open your email to see dozens of sales notifications filling your inbox…”
- Provide Variety
People get bored when they’re faced with the same ol’ type of content every time they visit your blog, read your newsletter or go to your social media page. That’s why you’ll want to provide variety. Give them short tips today, a lengthy “how to” article tomorrow, and an inspirational post the day after. This will keep people interested and coming back for more.
- Share Your Best Stuff
A lot of us don’t like it when they feel like an author is holding back the best bits for later. So don’t do that. Share your best stuff to keep people engaged. Share your best stuff to build trust. Share your best stuff for free, because it will give people an honest taste of what your paid content is like.
- Create a Slippery Slide
Every time you sit down to write content, keep the “slippery slide” concept in mind. This is where every word of your content hooks the reader and brings them to the next word… which brings them to the next word… and so on. They start at the top of your content and slide all the way down to the bottom, effortlessly.
You can do this by:
- Arousing curiosity.
- Showcasing the benefits of the content.
- Using emotionally laden words and imaging.
- Being sure the content is about your reader and his problems.
Make the content relevant to the reader in every way, and you can bet he’ll keep reading.
- Ensure Content Is Accessible
The idea here is avoid $100 words when a $2 word will do. Don’t try to talk above your readers’ heads in an attempt to look smart, because it will likely backfire and get readers hitting their back buttons.
- Format For Easy Readability
No one likes to read never-ending walls of text. That’s why you’ll want to break up big blocks of text with:
- Enticing headlines.
- Bulleted lists.
- Johnson boxes.
And anything else that breaks up the monotony of the text and engages the reader. Just look at this report as a good example of formatting text for easy readability.
Look at this – you read right down to the end! You know why? Because this report utilized many of the hacks you just learned about to keep you hooked and engaged.
So now it’s your turn. Put these hacks to work for you to create better content that your readers will absolutely love!
Step Two of Your Content Marketing Funnel – Get Them on Your List
The money is in the list. You’ve heard this a lot, I’m sure. The reason you hear it so much is because it’s true. It’s been true since the advent of email, and it’s even truer today. Email is not dead and using content marketing to get people on your list is the best way to accomplish building your list so you can nurture your audience with more content and convert them to customers and eventually turn them into brand advocates.
Choose the Right Platform for Your Needs
When you choose email marketing software, it’s imperative that you understand the terms of service of the platform. For example, if you plan to engage in affiliate marketing, some platforms don’t allow it, and some encourage it. Read the fine print but pick software that has room to grow, that you find easy to work with and understand, and that has the features now and in the future that you will use. Pay for the platform instead of using free versions. You need the features, and you need ownership.
Provide Many Opportunities to Enter Your Email List
To move more people to your email list, you need to have as many entry points as possible for your audience. Studies show that websites with 100 landing pages or more do a lot better than those with fewer landing pages. Make specialized landing pages for each product directed toward each member of your audience.
One product may have five or more landing pages, due to the audience you want to attract. For example, if you guest post on a guru’s site, you should create a specialized landing page for anyone who clicks through to your site from the article you posted.
Try Active Campaign for creating your first list.
Create Low Price and Free Entry Level Products and Services to Try
Your audience needs to build their trust for you, and one way to do that is to give away freebies or promote low-cost products that grab their attention. These products can be in the form of workbooks, checklists, cheat sheets, video tutorials, discount codes, PDF guides, trials, and more.
Plan Your Autoresponder Content
It’s not enough to just get people on your list, you must be prepared with autoresponder content in advance. You’ll need immediate welcome, thank you, and educational info to go out upon registration. Beyond that, you’ll need to plan for autoresponder content for pre-purchase information, during purchase information, and post-purchase and beyond information to go out to your list members based on how they signed up, so that it’s complexly personalized and relevant to them.
Promote Your Information
It’s not enough to create the landing pages, the freebies, or the low-cost and entry-level products, you must promote them too. Promote your freebies the same way you promote your highest-priced items so that they get the attention they deserve. You can promote on social media, in your profiles and bios, on your website, within the content you create for your blog, in certain Facebook groups, in your own communities and groups, where your audience hangs out, within your bio on guest posts, and within emails.
Check the Numbers
Once again, we’re to the point where it’s becoming redundant to mention it, but it’s so important that you always check the numbers and mind your data. The data you gather on your audience, on their behavior, and through the various platforms you use matters greatly. It’s the only way to be sure you’re using your time wisely and getting results from your actions.
The truth is, even more important than directly focusing on sales, you should focus on moving interested audience members to your email list. Most people just don’t buy these products simply by browsing a website. Instead, they buy based on the fact that they trust and believe in the person promoting the product. This can only happen if you help them get to know you better, and the best way to do that is your email list.
Step One of Your Content Marketing Funnel – Get Their Attention
The first thing you need to do for any type of content you’re going to develop for your business is to know why you’re doing it. Every single piece of content needs a reason that is tied to a very specific and measurable goal.
When you’re focused on getting your audience’s attention, there are a few goals that you can work toward that work well in the attention-getting phase, or the awareness stage – such as building your reputation, getting to know your audience, and more.
Establish Your Expertise and Legitimize Your Reputation
Find ways to build trust in your expertise and reputation by publishing the right educational information that demonstrates your knowledge. You can also collaborate with experts by interviewing them a la Oprah Winfrey. When you surround yourself with other experts who are well thought of, you will be thought of as reputable too.
Types of content to use:
- Expert Interviews
- Long-Form Blog Posts
- Educational Blog Posts
- White Papers
Where to publish the content:
- Your Blog (Always)
Get to Know Your Audience and Let Them Get to Know You
Your audience is real human beings with problems and lives. Get to know them as much as you can by creating buyer personas for every single stage of the buying journey. For example, you might want to build a community on one of the social media platforms or by installing your own forum and message board on your website. User-generated content on forums and message boards is very important when building a community.
Surprise People with Unexpected Content and Bonuses
If you become too predictable, sometimes people tune out. Try to make the experience your audience has unique, regardless of the platform they’re using on which to engage with you. For example, if someone downloads your free eBook, why not give them a nice coupon or make a bonus offer to incentivize them to make a purchase – without telling them about it in advance. Or, you could host a spontaneous “live” event on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube to show your audience behind-the-scenes action.
Be Disruptive but with Caution
One way to grab attention has always been to be disruptive. Studies show, unfortunately, that negativity gets more engagement and views than positivity. This doesn’t mean that you need to be nasty. Poke the pain points; disagree with a guru. But always ensure that whatever you do that is disruptive isn’t painful or hurtful but instead ultimately helpful to your audience.
Mind Your Data
Everything you do must be data-centric. The only way you know why about anything you do is because you check the numbers. For example, you cannot assume a new blog post or interview is directly responsible for all your conversions unless the data supports that idea. When you set up the metrics based on your goals and really use them, you’ll improve your success with content marketing exponentially.
As you’ve learned from studying the buyer’s journey, as you build your content marketing funnel, the first step to connecting with your audience is to gain their attention. You can do this by focusing on content that informs, instructs, interacts with, and inspires your ideal audience to learn and act on the information you provide to them. To do this, you must get their attention. That is the first step in the buyer’s journey (awareness) and the first step in your marketing funnel. The next step is to move them to your email list, and you’ll learn about that next time.
Why You Don’t Want to Try to Sell Them Directly in Your Content
Content marketing is not about the direct sale. While you may view a sales page as content, and it is part of it, content marketing is a long term strategy and process by which you develop, create, publish, and promote informative and educational content that helps you reach your goals.
This doesn’t mean you don’t give the audience opportunities to buy, or that you don’t include a call to action, but content marketing is more a seduction process than it is a direct selling process. The content that you develop and publish works its way through the buying cycle in a deliberate way and is almost never forceful, always putting your ideal customer first.
Instead of focusing on sales, focus on:
- Delivering Value – Whenever you produce content, besides setting a goal for it, you should also ensure that it provides something of value for the consumer. This means that it needs to solve a problem or define a problem or do something that the user determines has value. You can only do this by fully studying your audience so that you know the pain points and the available solutions for your ideal audience.
- Creating Personalized Content – The more the content speaks directly to the reader or viewer, the better. Try to create content that is as personalized as possible, using all the technology you can afford to ensure the most up-to-date and possible personalization. This is especially important in email marketing.
- Building Trust – The content you publish on your blog can also work to build trust. The more consistent you are with your brand voice and the messages you deliver to your audience, the more people will naturally trust you.
- Getting Back Links – One of the goals for publishing content is so that it gets shared, and the person who shared it is offering more links to your content so more people can find you. To ensure you get more shares, you’ll have to create more shareable content like infographics, for example.
- Asking and Answering Questions – This is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Ask questions of your audience so that they can give their opinion and give your opinion about your expertise freely by answering their questions.
- List Building – This is almost the most important part of content marketing. Use content marketing right by producing lots of opportunities within the content you publish to get your audience to move to your lists, such as in-content downloads, gated content, freebies, and more.
- Getting to Know Your Audience – The more content you publish, the more opportunities you have to engage with and get to know your audience. If engagement is a goal, always ensure you include the right calls to action to ensure it happens.
When you understand that content does make sales but that it is not supposed to appear like a sales letter to your audience, then it is easier to understand the way content marketing works. Each piece of content needs a clear non-sales-oriented goal, as mentioned above, with clear steps for achieving the goal included. When you start understanding that content marketing is a long-term strategy for building your business, you’ll realize how powerful it really is.
Using Content to Draw in New Potential Customers
One goal for content marketing is to continuously draw in new potential customers so that you can get on the radar of your target audience. With content marketing, you can help create a great first impression, remind existing customers of your offers, and delight them too. But first, you must draw them in. Let’s look at how to use content marketing to draw in new potential customers.
Publish Informational and Educational Blog Posts
A new potential customer is someone who may still be in the awareness stage of their research about their problems and the solutions offered. For this reason, use your blog to post educational and informational content that systemically teaches them about their problems and points them toward your solutions too.
Write Guest Posts
You can do the same thing with guest posting. Find out where your ideal audience hangs out and offer to contribute guest posts that are very targeted and relevant. Don’t pay for the privilege. You may even be able to find sites that will pay you instead. You are giving them something of value, and the value for you is the links back to your landing pages.
Encourage and Incentivize User-Generated Content
The content your users generate can also attract more search engine traffic. When users put a lot of content on your behalf – such as comments on blog posts, social media posts, or in your forum – that helps other people trust you more and makes search engines send more people to your information.
Curate Relevant Content
You can also use curated content to help get the attention of your ideal customers. When you create a one-stop-site for all the information about your niche directed toward your audience, it’s just a natural progression to mention relevant content and discussions happening and give your thoughts on it.
Solicit Expert Content
You can also ask people that you believe have something to offer your audience the opportunity to guest post on your blog. Allow them to directly sell their information through the blog post, and you’ll find more willing participants. If you’re an affiliate, you’ll earn from the effort, too, while also providing interesting content to your audience.
Incorporate Images That Make Your Audience Curious
Always include images in every post that help advance the meaning of the information you’ve shared with them. Also, if you include video, infographics that explain data, and other images into your content that look interesting and match your brand, you’ll cause them to be curious enough to click through.
It’s Okay to Entertain Your Audience Too
Don’t forget that the content you create for business awareness doesn’t have to be boring and uninteresting. You can use interactive quizzes and games as well to attract and inform your audience.
Trade Something of Value for Their Email
Remember that every single piece of content you create should also somehow move them to your list. You can accomplish this by offering gated content in addition to the initial content that brought them to your site so that you can move them to your list. The list is where you’ll encourage them to become customers.
Using content to draw in new potential customers is one of the ways that content marketing is most effective. You put the material in front of them, give them what they want essentially, and then they join you so that you can tell them about your offers and thus finally solve their problems.