When I was in my early twenties I served as an officer with the Italian Air Force. That was partly a personal choice – I must say, one of the best ones I’ve ever made in my life – partly a necessity.
While I made the conscious decision to go through a pretty demanding training to become a lieutenant and be in charge of other men, one way or another I was supposed to dress a uniform.
The thing is, up until a few years ago every male Italian citizen was drafted for military service.
That’s exactly the situation you, as a business owner, are in today: you’ve been drafted to serve with the Content Creators Army.
Whether you like it or not, if you want to build an audience, establish your authority, position yourself as an expert and a thought leader, and ultimately grow your business, you need to be a content creator.
And since you have to create content anyway, you’d better create content that truly serves both your business and your readers, and make sure that every page and blog post you publish on your website fits with your overall marketing strategy and complies with the content marketing best practices.
In this post I’m going to walk you through some of the most important elements you have to consider before clicking the “publish” button.
Let’s get started!
Effective content has a purpose
The goal of your website is not to please your ego, nor to function as a digital brochure of your business.
The goal of your website is to be the hub of your digital marketing strategy. Therefore, every page, every blog post, every sentence has to be a building block of that strategy.
When you’re about to publish anything, ask yourself: “Does this piece of content belong to my content strategy? Does it serve my business objectives?”
If and only if the answer is yes, go live.
Effective content is easy to understand
If you don’t make yourself clear you’ll lose your readers, period.
Your website is not the place to play with fancy words.
Don’t use complex syntax and jargon and don’t try to look smart.
Rather, always try to communicate as clearly as possible and don’t make people sweat to get your point.
Every topic, even the most difficult one, can be explained in an easy way.
Effective content is easy to read
The way your website pages and blog posts appear on your readers’ computer screen is key.
Long blocks of small and uninterrupted text are intimidating and not pleasant to read.
It’s important to think about the user experience and choose wisely your website design, typography, and formatting options.
Tips to improve the readability of your web copy
- Use a clear, high-contrast and reasonably big font
- Break down the text into short paragraphs. A good rule of thumb is to keep them under three sentences. Sometimes even a one-sentence paragraph is a good choice, especially if it contains a point you want to stand out
- Research shows that people don’t actually read when they are online. Rather, they scan the page to figure out whether the content is worth their time. Break down your piece into sections and give them appealing titles. Use a bigger font size to make those jump out the page
- Use blockquotes, colored content boxes (like the one you’re reading right now), bold and italics typefaces to break the monotony of the text
- Use images to breathe life into the page
- Invest some money in a mobile optimized website that looks great on small screens and doesn’t force the readers to zoom and pinch
Effective content is audience-focused
When you publish something online you’re asking your audience to invest the most precious and scarce resource they have: time.
To compensate your readers for their trust you have to provide massive value with your content by helping them solve one of their biggest problems
How do you make sure that your content is going to help your audience?
Starts by getting to know very well who you are talking to.
You need to understand your audience’s challenges, fears, frustrations, desires, and aspirations better than they do.
What goals are they trying to accomplish? What pains are they trying to avoid? What is it that’s keeping them up at night?
Spend a lot of time researching your audience’s needs. Conduct surveys, interview your prospects, reach out to online communities to figure out what is it that they’re talking about.
If you start to follow the principles I’ve discussed you’ll be on the right track to creating more effective content.
Every website page, every blog post will be an opportunity to pull the reader to closer to you, not by pitching your products or services but by being helpful.
More people will bookmark your website, sign up for your email list, download your free offer, and join your online community.
What are you going to do to make your content more effective? What approaches have you tried to get people to read your content? Did they work out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.