The following article is a guest post.
Creating content that appeals to audiences takes a special approach, as well as a deep understanding of what people see as interesting, fascinating and/or shareable. Fortunately, you don’t have to get a PhD in sociology or psychology, or an MBA in business marketing, to make what you write online “stickier.”
By following some tried and true techniques to make sure your content keeps readers engaged, you can build buzz that will get you closer to whatever your end-goal might be.
Write About Perennially-Interesting Topics, but Put a New Spin on Them
There are certain topics just about every person cares about to one degree or another: making more money, being in great shape without having to do too much work, living the “dream life” and the fear of missing out. The trick for content writers is to choose one or more of these topic areas and find a different way to spin it.
For instance, if you know your audience is interested in looking younger, you can always turn their desires on their heads. “10 Reasons You Should Never Try to Look Younger” or “I’m 60 Years Old and Have Never Looked Better!” These are the types of subjects that make people want to investigate further, and that means more “stickiness” in terms of your content being read, re-read and ultimately shared.
Add Visual and/or Audio Elements to Your Content
You may have written a masterpiece, but truth be told, most people expect to see pictures, infographics and videos. Readers have become accustomed to being shown what is being said in a blog post, article or opinion piece. This means you have to seek out the best peripherals to add pizzazz to your words.
Of course, you may not be able to find exactly what you’re imagining; in that case, you can always take your own photos, or make your own videos or audio. The key is to be very creative. The more ways you can illustrate what you’re saying in your writing, the more likely it is people will hang around and remember what you’ve told them.
Give Your Readers a Forum to Add Their Two – or Seven – Cents
Plenty of content writers shy away from giving their audiences a forum to spout off, because it takes time and energy to moderate comments and answer questions. However, that didn’t stop McDonald’s.
On their Canadian website, they opened the door for people to ask the corporate giant questions about its processes and products, and some of the inquiries were definitely “ouch” worthy. Individuals demanded to know about everything from “pink slime” to the reason that French fries became cold after a couple of minutes. However, this was a success for McDonald’s because it allowed them to open the door to personalized communication with the people who were giving them their discretional dollars.
You don’t have to be as bold as McDonald’s was, of course. But if you aren’t giving readers an opportunity to share your content via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, etc., you are probably missing out. The easier you can make it for readers to engage, the better chance you have they’ll take you up on the offer.
Add a Little Personality to Your Writing
People love to get a chuckle and they adore giggling. They’ll stifle guffaws in their cubicles, all the while writing on Facebook: “This made me laugh so hard, and I’m trying not to let my bosses hear! You have to see this!”
Even if your industry isn’t one where humor plays an obvious part, it’s okay to have a light-hearted piece once in a while. Alternatively, if you can’t see your way to being funny, you can always opt for something a bit more heartwarming, such as a story involving children, pets or good Samaritans. The point is to emotionally affect the reader, because people like to share those emotions.
Be Pointed, and Ditch the Wishy-Washiness
Have you ever noticed that some of the “stickiest” content is that which is very direct? If you come across as an expert, you’ll be seen as an expert. That doesn’t mean everyone will adore you, but they’ll acknowledge that you know what you’re saying.
By making a stand, you’ll enable your audience to either agree with you or disagree with you. Generally speaking, it will be tough for a reader to feel absolutely nothing if you’re bold in your wording. As long as you can back up your claims, go for the gusto and be pointed!
One Final Suggestion…
Always have someone else read your writing to see if he or she finds it “sticky.” This is probably one of the best ways to figure out if you’re on the right track or not. Though it can be tough to hear your work isn’t up to par, it’s better to hear it before you hit the “publish” button.
Good luck creating content glue!