Creating content is tough work, especially if you’re creating the kind of content that Google and the other search engines want. You can write the most informative 2,000 word post or engaging 5 minute YouTube video related to your niche, but if no one is viewing it, what’s the point? Here are some tips to make sure you get the most from the effort you put into content creation.
Make Them Curious About the Title
There are some titles that are more enticing than others. Some titles give too much away that users don’t have to click on it anymore to find out what it’s all about while others are too vague to be interesting. The challenge is finding the perfect balance between the two. According to Beth Cooper on Search Engine Journal:
Upworthy is arguably one of the most successful content marketing companies around, with massive successes on social media to their name
One of the tips Upworthy offers from analyzing their own success is to ensure every headline has a ‘curiosity gap.’ That is, the headline needs to be tantalizing enough to get a reader to click through, but mustn’t give away the whole story.
A great example comes from an Upworthy story about Mitt Romney:
Too vague, so readers aren’t interested: Mitt Romney Says Something Bad, Again
Too specific, so readers already know the whole story: Mitt Romney Says, ‘I Want The Middle Class To Be Tied To The Roof Of My Car.'”
The final title ends up being “You Will Not Believe What Mitt Wants To Do To You”, which is intriguing enough to encourage more clicks but doesn’t give away too much of the story.
Fulfill a Need
Obviously, you need to make your content about your readers and customers. Stoney deGeyter says:
Focus on their wants and needs and what they will receive rather than what you will do. Write more about them than yourself.
Other than needs, deGeyter also says to speak to your users’ personalities:
Your content should use words that speak to different visitor personalities. Each personality has a different need, and addressing those specific needs makes each visitor feel as if your site was created just for them. This ‘camaraderie’ will help them move through the conversion process.
One of the best ways to do so is to answer a question or fulfill a need. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out what your readers are looking for just by going through your sites comments or on your Facebook page. In addition, you can cast your net wider by checking out Facebook pages and other websites where your users are likely to hang out as well. From there, you can craft a story and if you highlight that need in the title, more people will be likely to click on it and read it.
Share on Social Networks
Another obvious way to get people to view your content is to share it on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The Social Media Examiner says:
The act of setting up a Facebook Page and publishing it for the world to see doesn’t automatically send people running to engage with your business. Engagement strategies should be tried and tested over a period of time.
Mari Smith offers these five factors that help contribute to exceptional engagement and measurable results:
* Launch creative incentives
* Post highly shareable content
* Build a tight community
* Have a quirky brand-for example, add humor and entertainment
* Give your fans plenty of excellent content on a regular basis
Each social network requires a different approach. For example on Facebook, the best posts are typically those with large images and a link leading back to your content. On Twitter, you’re limited to the 140 character limit where you have to fit a quick yet engaging post along with a call to action to click on the link to your post. Google+ is a bit of a ghost town compared to the first two social networks, but many content creators are on it and if you’re in their circles, it creates a host of SEO and social engagement opportunities right there.
Use the Most Popular and Retweetable Words
Some words resonate more with people than others and statistics actually backs this up. This is true whether you’re reading a headline or tweet. Luckily, a blog post by Belle Beth Cooper has a list of the most popular words used in blog posts:
From Takipi’s research, the most popular blog posts had these words in their titles:
* hacks (or a variation like hackers)
If you’re tweeting a post, you might want to include these twenty most-retweetable words/phrases:
* please retweet
* social media
* how to
* blog post
* check out
* new blog post
The word “free” is obviously a strong word that grabs attention. Other words like “post”, “blog”, “blog post”, and “new blog post” indicate a new post on your blog and work well if your blog has a decent following.
Turn Announcements into Stories
If you plan to announce a new product or feature, be aware that announcements tend to be the least viewed posts. Actually, anything with a positive spin on it tends to perform poorly because people just aren’t interested if there’s no conflict in a story. Interestingly, negative posts are much more interesting, so using a word like “lose” in the title would actually encourage more clicks. Of course, we don’t want to be too negative and the Search Engine Journal suggests we turn announcements into stories instead:
Story-telling is in fact the most powerful way to activate our brains. You can in fact, create the exact same emotions that you had when experiencing a situation in the other person if they are listening to your story.