Do you want your readers to be compelled to read your content? Do you think your writing is a little boring at times?
Writing amazing content isn't the easiest thing to do, there are many factors as to why someone will want to read your content - or not. But there is one overwhelming thing you can do to make your content that little bit more attractive to your potential readers...
Below are 10 really simple tips to ensure your content is truly fascinating. But first, what does fascinating actually mean?
Fascinating or Fascinate - comes from Latin fascinatus, past participle of fascinare "bewitch, enchant, fascinate," from fascinus "a charm, enchantment, spell, witchcraft,". In recent centuries the meaning has moved, though not significantly, to now mean to "delight", "hold the attention of" and "arouse interest".
The importance of writing awesome content shouldn't be under estimated. In 2013, Hubspot cited that most readers only get 60% of the way through articles - and the other 40% may as well be in the trash can. Putting it mildly, if your content isn't fascinating readers won't be compelled to read on!
So how do you make your content more attractive to readers?
Tips for Writing Fascinating Content
1 - Write Provoking Content
Seriously would you rather be a jerk with your writing or actually get people to read you work?
By asking a provoking question, or saying something that is likely to trigger a mental reaction - whether it's laughter, anger, sadness or great joy - you can make someone continue to read your article.
Just be aware that if you provoke too much, it's you who will look like a jerk. Be subtle and use it from time to time.
2 - Start With a Message
There are many bloggers and artists out there who 'just want to write' and whilst that's great, if you really want to grow your online business you need a little more focus.
Each article or piece of content you right should have a message, a core objective if you will.
If you don't then you are wasting your own time. I am not talking about 'getting more users to my site' type objectives, I mean what is the message you want to convey or what action do you want your user to take.
Starting with a clear idea of the message or objective - write you content specifically for that, don't be tempted into la-la-land.
From there you can add other great information to make your content fascinating, you can add insight (statistics) or maybe an air of intrigue too.
Tip: Write down the objective of every piece of content you create before you start researching or typing the content, this will help your objective stick in your mind as you write.
3 - Make Your Content Scannable
Making your content readable is all about scanability.
It's about putting trigger points across your content, clear concise headers that act as jumping off points and great imagery that breaks up content can all add to easier scanning of your content for your user.
Other things which can really help with making your content scan easier are:
- Keeping your content as brief as possible.
- Avoiding jargon in content & headings.
- Using different styles of text to draw the eye.
4 - Create Actionable Content
It sounds odd but actionable content isn't about someone clicking a button. Instead it's about ensuring that your user learns from what they are reading.
Fascinating content is in part about creating content that will encourage someone to take a mental action.
It will make them remember that article, your brand, you the author and hopefully one of your great tips - if you are writing and article just like this one.
To write actionable content is simple enough to do. It's about encouraging the user to go away and do something, this list is all about learning but it's about giving the reader key takeaways they can go and action. Adding things like tips and tools can really help make your content more actionable.
5 - Write With Passion
Passion within content can really help drive and sell it to your reader.
It's instantly recognisable because it will life your piece from being "good" to being "amazing" - it may even help you rack up that extra 40% of content Hubspot claim no one really reads!
Injecting passion into your content can be done through adding to your content things such as humor (remember be light hearted), examples from your own life or work and making your analogies easy to relate too (don't get scientific - or else!).
6 - Be A Problem Solver
Think back to number 2 in this list, it all starts with a message or objective.
Being a problem solver is part of that idea - you content should always be about helping fix someones problem.
It applies to everything...
- Online Shopping - the consumer has the problem that they don't have your product, they don't know what the benefits of your product are and your content should fix this!
- This article - it solves the problem many bloggers have, it help them to stop writing boring content.
- Your About Page - your potential customer has no idea about you or your company, this page is to educate them and fix that!
The list goes on and on, but remember if you don't identify the problem you can't solve it...
7 - Target Your Content
As odd as it may sound, most of your content - and even my content - isn't properly targeted at it's audience.
This article is all about writing better content online for blogs, online shops or company websites. Whilst it seem's its audience is broad - it isn't the real target audience is the people writing the content, content writers, bloggers and those who are just starting out online.
Targeting content is about really knowing who your audience is and is not.
Your content needs to solve the problem of a specific audience segment, a specific niche - not every man and it's dog.
Tip: Next time you write an article, create it a persona (you can use it again and again) - start small with things like Age range, Sex, Location, Job Title.
Targeting your audience is about changing the voice and tone of your content - it may mean removing all jargon from your content. It may mean like this blog ensuring the content really is readable. Or it may mean that you need to add in some graphical illustrations of your content.
Remember too that knowing who isn't part of your audience can also be important - so far instance this article really isn't heavily targeted at those in PR or looking to get their articles picked up by a publication - I know these people would be much better served by hopping over to Janet Murray's site, reading her blog and listening to her podcast.
8 - Be Trustworthy
Being trustworthy isn't always easy. Its about building a relationship and showing you can be trusted to guide a user.
Trust can be added to articles through adding links to sources of information external to your website, adding case studies and in many other ways.
As an example, external resources can really help show that not only have you researched an article but also that you are widely read too.
Another way in which you can show that someone can trust you and trust your content is to add a story or inject some emotion. In essence you want to evoke and emotional response that joins your thought path with that of the reader, you want to add a sense of recognition.
9 - Focus on Hopes
It's not always suitable or possible, but if you can focus on the hopes of the reader then your content stands much more chance of success.
If you can ensure that everything you do is about helping your user achieve something or fixing their problem, your content is likely to rocket.
Hopes are the things someone wants to achieve when they are looking for some content and stumble across your article. It's not what you are wanting them to take away, these are the hopes and wants of the user.
Think about when you searched and found this article, what is it you wanted? What did you hope you would achieve?
10 - Over Deliver
Your content pitch should always be delivered on and then some.
No if's or but's - do whats best for your reader - give them the best.
11 - Remember No Topic is Boring
Remember that your content, no matter how mundane it may feel to you is giving value to your reader. Your job is to take that message to the next level.
There isn't a topic that can be counted as boring, everything has something interesting about it.
Maybe there is something innovative about a product you are writing a review of, something prestigious about your brand, something shocking about what you have been asked to write about or maybe the interesting part of your content comes from the awesome photography you have.
Tip: Your articles aren't just about the content you are writing, but also everything else on the page too.