Whether you are starting a dedicated blog, or promoting your business through content marketing, there is no one true secret to building an audience. A lot of your readers will come your way via online searches and shared links, but this is only part of the equation.
If you want to gain (and retain) an audience, you have to focus as much attention on the quality of the content your produce as you do promoting it. A lot of companies and independent bloggers miss the mark here, and end up producing a ton of content that has little lasting value.
In this article, we will share some tips to help you not only attract a larger audience, but to impress them enough to keep coming back.
This is a common issue with sites that have multiple contributors. Everyone has their own individual writing style, and without some type of style guide in place, this can lead to an inconsistent voice. It may not be obvious, but transitioning from an article written in a casual, opinionated voice to one that reads like a news bulletin from AP can be jarring to the reader.
The most successful blogs out there are written with a consistent voice. They have the same grammar rules, use the same regional spelling of common words (example: color, colour), and address the audience from the same perspective.
This makes it easier to transition from one article to another on your site. Multiple page views from a single person is good. It builds brand recognition, and ups the chances that this person will come back for more.
One popular standard adopted by news outlets and professional bloggers alike is the AP Stylebook. This book sets a single, consistent set of rules for spelling and grammar among English publications. Journalists swear by it, and many search engine optimization (SEO) consultants encourage its use.
You should look over your own work for mistakes, but you should not be your own copy editor. Your brain already knows what to expect when you read something you wrote. It will fill in gaps, erase typos, and make it much easier to miss mistakes when you read over it.
By handing your work to someone else, you gain the advantage of a fresh perspective.
Everyone makes mistakes. Even the best writer in the world will have issues on their first draft.
Separating your content out into different sections makes it easier for someone to quickly judge whether or not reading it is worth their time. If you go to an article and see that it is just one long wall of text with a single headline, there is a good chance your attention will be lost before the end.
By dividing content up into sections (ideally using
<h2> tags to present subheadlines) you give the reader the opportunity to not only get the gist of your message, but to skip to the information that matters most to them.
It is also important to avoid long paragraphs. Anything more than two or three sentences can create a giant chunk of text that can seem overwhelming to the viewer. Every time you move on to another minor point, you should start a new paragraph.
People rarely search the Web to find questions. They are looking for answers and solutions. If your content does not provide information that either solves a problem for the reader or answers a question, then they are far less likely to return in the future.
Focus on content that is of value to the reader. By posing new problems, or pointing out issues with your subject, you are missing an opportunity to provide your readers with value.
If your article is a review for a vacuum cleaner, and you absolutely hated everything about that vacuum cleaner, simply stating as much leaves the reader on the hook to find an alternative. You have answered their question as to whether or not the vacuum is worth buying, but you stand to gain so much more by spending a paragraph or two offering alternatives. Find another vacuum cleaner that sits at the same price range and does more. Your readers will thank you.
If you are writing about a subject you have touched on before, feel free to link to that other post. A lot of writers today miss this opportunity, leaving their readers to do the work. This doesn't mean you should go out of your way, but you should jump on any opportunity to provide useful information to your readers.
This tip also applies to the promotion of your content. If you are using social media to spread the word about your latest vacuum cleaner review, consider posting a link to your article about things to look for in a good vacuum cleaner in the comment thread of the post. As long as there is some context to support this promotion, you should feel free to do so.
This is perhaps the most important tip of this article. In every piece of content you write, you should strive to tell a story. This story may not be restricted to the bounds of the single article. Imagine that your entire company has one long drawn-out story to tell. What part does this piece of content play?
Within an article, you can tell a story as boldly or as subtly as you want. Open the piece with an introduction, provide useful information in the body, and end it with a summary that leave the reader satisfied.
If you can tell a great story in 300-1000 words, your content will be much more likely to have a lasting impression on your audience.