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How to Create Content That Actually Gets Read (and Shared)

By Sam Lloyd, Last Modified
Dec 12, 2014
> Marketing

When was the last time you read a piece of content that you actually loved? If you’ve had to think hard, you’re not alone. Content is king, there’s no question about it. It’s crucial for brand awareness, SEO and lead generation. But creating content isn’t enough.

You need to create memorable content that people actually consume. You want them hooked to your blog and pleading for more at the end of every blog post. You need to become their go-to source for all things related to your niche. So when they decide to spend money on a product or service in your business niche, they turn to you. But that can only happen if your content is engaging, highly actionable and fun to read.

So how is it done?

We’ve identified 6 critical ingredients that comprise content that people love. Here they are:

Ingredient #1: Perfectly Identified Audience (Buyer Personas)

You know why many business blogs fail to build a large blog following? Because most of them don’t write for their audience. If you are trying to create fun and engaging content that people actually enjoy reading, you need to stop trying to please everyone.

Related Article: 10 Content Marketing Problems to Avoid

Because when you try to please everyone:

  • You become boring and indirect
  • You miss the entire point of why you’re writing: to connect with your audience
  • And as a result, you end up pleasing no one

Instead, you need to perfectly identify your buyer personas.

For example, for a digital marketing agency the ideal buyer and reader persona can be the CEO, CMO or Head of Marketing of a small to medium sized business, aged between 25 to 40 years, located within New York City, with an annual marketing budget of around $60,000 to $100,000.

Once you create the right personas, you can identify and list down their needs and create content that appeals to them.

Ingredient #2: Magnetic Headlines

According to content marketing expert Neil Patel, only 20 out of 100 people actually click on a headline after reading it. The rest of the 80% never bother to look inside.

This is why the headline of your post is so important.

Research shows that headlines starting with a number (list posts) or words like “What”, “How To”, “You” and “Your” receive more clicks.

Headlines that are specific use adjectives and make a clear promise have a much better chance of getting clicked as compared to vague headlines. In short, your blog post headline is as important as the actual content of the post. You can download this free resource and start creating magnetic headlines today.

Ingredient #3: Engaging Introductions

Research shows that you’ve got an average of 3 seconds to hook the reader to your post’s introduction.

The introduction of your post needs to engage the reader. It needs to make a promise, get him excited and force him to read on. You need to get the reader involved. You can do this by:

  • Starting with a controversial statement
  • Starting with a question
  • Starting with a story

Or you could say something like “Read through till the end, especially the second last paragraph. I’ve shared something special that you’ll love to read.”

Make sure you deliver on this promise though.

Ingredient #4: Properly Formatted

Most blog readers skim through posts instead of reading them closely. You need to make this skimming easier for them.

  • Use lots of headings and sub heading.
  • Use short paragraphs (max. 4-5 lines).
  • Use short sentences and break the longer ones into half.
  • Highlight the key points using bold and italic.
  • Use bulleted points to simplify skimming.

Also make sure that your website uses responsive web design because most people use smartphones to read blog posts these days.

Related Article: 5 Critical Content Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Ingredient #5: Loaded with Personality

The key to building a community of loyal readers and word-of-mouth marketers lies in creating a relationship with your readers. And it cannot be done unless your content has a distinct personality.

Publish content with your real author names, show their pictures and link back to their LinkedIn profiles. 

  • Identify the writing style that resonates with your audience.
  • Write in a conversational tone.
  • Use words like “You” and “I” frequently.
  • Ask questions, add humor, and have empathy.

When it comes to relationships it’s not B2B or B2C, it’s actually H2H (human to human).

Ingredient #6: Filled With Stories, Metaphors and Examples

At its core, marketing is all about storytelling and every marketer knows it. But storytelling is an art that needs to be practiced. Its application should be subtle, and should complement the overall message of the content.

The most effective storytellers use real life examples to back their points. Find the common ground with your readers and then build examples that they can relate with.

Wrapping It Up

Creating high quality, engaging and enjoyable content is a matter of survival for brands. It’s the only long term strategy to command respect in your niche.

But make sure it gets consumed by your readers. Not only will it make your posts more readable but also help you attract much more social media love.

Sam Lloyd
Sam Lloyd
See Sam Lloyd's Profile
I'm Sam. I always wanted to build a "dream team" of marketing talent. You know, a group of truly elite individuals correctly incentivized, synergistically working together to create unheard of results. Nailed it! Check out Gromode.
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