05 May How to Create Content That Actually Gets Read
But you know that doesn’t work on you — in fact, you hate reading articles like that. And you also know that there are those posts from people that you can’t wait to read, those ones that you open every single time they pop into your inbox.
Not-so-surprisingly, the secret to writing the second type of content is treating your readers like they’re actual human beings, just like you.
So the way you create content that actually gets read is only halfway about writing — before you can even start writing, you have to start out by knowing who you’re writing to and why they should care about you to begin with.
This will help you come up with better post ideas (because it’s always easier to write about something you know a lot about) and provide more value to the readers, which is the fundamental requirement for any content to be desirable.
This positions you as an expert, and more importantly, their expert — the person they want to go to again and again because they know that you’re going to give them high quality content that’s tailored to their needs and presented in a memorable way.
Structure: The most important part of the rest of the content is how you structure it (always assuming throughout that you’re providing value throughout).
Think about how IKEA is set up. It’s designed to lead you through the store like a maze, but it’s done subtly, so it feels natural to walk that way. They don’t have big signs up saying: “Go this way right now!” They make you naturally walk that way.
That’s exactly how your posts should be structured. They need to be arranged so that they’re really easy to scan (because that’s how people read on the Internet.) So think short paragraphs, easy-to-see headings that break up the different parts of the content, and other add-ins like pictures or videos as appropriate.
The conclusion and call to action: Many posts that you write won’t need a traditional conclusion along the lines of “this is what I told you”.
That’s boring and people tune it right out.
But if you do want a more traditional conclusion for your post, you need to leave them with something memorable that serves as an anchor for the post in their minds and makes them remember your point.
And finally, you need to add in a call to action. This doesn’t have to be super-complicated — in fact, the simpler it is, the better.
This could be a question that you ask your readers, or asking them to share the content or join your mailing list. The key here is to not be shy in asking for what you want, and to keep it to one request, because that dramatically increases the chances that they’ll actually do it.
So if you’re asking questions, then ask questions, don’t ask questions and tell them to sign up for your mailing list.