The “content is king” mantra has become so ingrained in article marketing and content creation that few people think much about what it means. On the surface, it’s pretty obvious: give readers meaningful content instead of a flimsy framework stuffed with keywords, and they’ll line up to read what you have to say. Unfortunately, everyone else is following the same philosophy, and while that means there’s a lot of great content being written, it also makes it tougher to differentiate yourself.
How do you reward your readers for their time? Do you hope that your content is enough of a reward that they’ll keep coming back? You may be right, especially if you own your niche and find a professional writer who has a great writing voice. Even the most scintillating writers don’t always draw a big audience, though, and that’s when it’s time to think of other ways to add value to what you’re providing your readers. Get your readers to look forward to your newsletters and blog posts by giving them more than they can find from your competitors.
Tell Them A Story
Everyone loves a great story, and if you can tell one – or hire someone who can – you’ll hook your readers with an irresistible lure: the urge to know what happens next. Wrap your content in an interesting anecdote or two. Share some experiences that other customers have had with your product or service, especially if they’ve kindly put it in a story-like format for you. Paint a few “what if ” pictures to help you illustrate your points.
If you’ve ever read a novel that was a real page-turner, you know the importance of a great narrative. If you can create some of that anticipation with your audience, you’ll reward them every time they open your newsletter or check in with your blog.
Give Them A Prize
Finding ways to reward readers for their attention that go beyond the value of the content itself can pay big dividends. Including a link to a special offer, discount or download within your copy will turn occasional skimmers into readers and readers into devotees of your blog or newsletter. It doesn’t have to be a puzzle or a treasure hunt, but your link should be somewhere in the middle of your content rather than in the first or last paragraph to encourage readers to read the whole piece. Think of it as the prize at the bottom of the box of cereal – you still want to make the product taste good enough to enjoy the whole box rather than dumping it out just to get at the magic decoder ring.
Readers will also be more interested in clicking through in your emails, posts and tweets when you’ve proven that your links take them somewhere they want to go.
Be Part of Your Readers’ Routines
If you look forward to your morning cup of coffee or a favorite television show on Thursday nights, you know how important regularity can be in building anticipation. When your blog posts, newsletters and podcasts appear regularly, you give your audience the chance to build anticipation and look forward to your communication. What fascinating information or sale offer will you have for them this week? They don’t know yet, but they’ll be eager to open up your newsletter and find out.
If content is king, then value is its queen. Your words are already valuable, but by adding more value with interesting narratives, useful links and frequent correspondence, you make them worth even more to your audience.
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