6 Simple Ways To Improve Your Content
Did you know that creating poor content could ruin your brand and send your audience running for the hills?
However, great content will build you a loyal, life long, audience who will eagerly buy from you time and time again.
There are 6 simple ways to improve your content that will create a cult like following of raving fans.
I’ll get to the 6 simple ways in a second,
But before I do…
Why does a newspaper subscriber read the paper?
Because it has great content!
Meaning, the content is:
- Provides up to date news
- Gives thought provoking opinions
However, poor content will get a reader to throw down a paper faster than a drunk WWF fan throws down at Wrestlemania.
Your reader will either find other content to read or find something else to do.
With the increasing importance that content plays in your business you’ve got no choice but to deliver high quality, consumable content to your audience…
… every single time you create a piece of content!
So let’s dive into the 6 simple ways to improve your content right now!
6 Simple Ways To Improve Your Content
Your content not only has to be good, it also has to be consumable.
By that I mean, your content needs to pull people in as well as pull people through.
Pulling people through your content is crucial if you want them to see your Call To Action and move to the next phase of the funnel.
You and I both know that you’re not creating content because you have too much free time on your hands.
You’re creating content to build your brand and create offer awareness.
Focus on these 6 simple ways to improve your content to increase the ease of which your content is consumed.
1. ) Focus on Intro
2. ) Write Better Headlines
3.) Open Loops
4.) Inside Joke
5.) Break Up The Text
6.) Focus On Closes
Now that you know the 6 simple ways to improve your content, lets dive into each one individually.
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1.) Focus on Intro
The introduction couldn’t be more important for getting people to consume your content.
Think of a person sitting on top of a slide getting ready to slide down.
But first, you need to get them to start moving down the slide.
How do you do this?
You need to make a greased slide so they can easily slide down through your content.
The best way to do this is to make your introduction:
1.) Short and punchy
2.) Curiosity inducing
You need to write that first sentence so your readers almost have to read the next sentence.
Go back to the top of this article now and re-read the intro, particularly the first sentence.
Is it short and punchy?
Did it arouse some level of curiosity that made you want to continue reading?
“A good introduction will be short, punchy, and it will arouse your reader’s curiosity.”
A good opening sentence will be short with no big words and will arouse curiosity.
Remember: the goal of the 1st sentence is to get them to read the 2nd sentence.
Also, look at the entire introduction and determine if it’s easy to consume.
- Are there short paragraphs?
- Are there relatively short sentences without tons of text?
- Does the intro feel like a greased slide or is it a bumpy path with obstacles?
After writing a good headline, the introduction is the most important part of your content.
Your reader is still in the mode of deciding whether they want to continuing reading your content…
… or would they rather add a different filter to their latest snapchat photo.
“Hmmm… should I go with with a violent bolt of lightning coming out of my mouth or should I vomit a rainbow??”
(Yes, this is what people are actually being distracted by these days.)
So now, more than ever, your intro has to be good!
2.) Write Better Headlines
Eventually I will dedicate an entire blog post to headline writing because it’s THAT important of a topic.
But for now, I want you to start with this…
If you want people to dive into your content you’ve got to write great headlines.
Your headline is critical because this your reader’s first big decision.
Do they take the first step and begin reading your content or don’t they?
As content creators, we all need to spend more time focusing on our headlines.
The first thing you can do to write better headlines is to create a headline swipe file.
Create a document… Word doc, Google doc, etc (I personally use Evernote) and start saving headlines that resonate with you.
Secondly, start paying attention to other headlines.
Do you get direct mail?
Don’t just automatically throw it away.
Instead, look through the “junk mail” to see if any headlines stand out to you.
If so, add those headlines to your swipe file.
How about email?
Certainly you open some emails but not others.
Why is that?
Start paying attention to eye grabbing headlines or to the ones that draw you in closer.
Then add them to your headline swipe file.
Your headline shouldn’t be an afterthought or something just thrown together randomly.
It should be something that has thought put into it based on what your audience is looking for.
If your headline is bad it doesn’t matter how good the content behind it is, because people won’t see it.
You could be Ernest Hemingway, J.K. Rowling, and John Grisham rolled up into one, but without a good headline…
Nobody is reading your stuff!
3.) Open Loops
Think of your favorite tv show.
You know how before a commercial break they leave you hanging…
… or at the end of an episode they leave a big question unanswered?
That’s called an “open loop”.
You know… a cliff hanger.
For example, “Who shot J.R.?” is considered to be one of the biggest open loops of modern television.
The phrase “Who shot J.R.?” was created by CBS to help promote the television series Dallas.
It referred to the mystery surrounding a murder attempt against the character J.R. Ewing in the show’s third-season finale.
Viewers had to wait until the 4th season (nearly 8 months later) to find out if J.R. would survive and which one of his enemies attempted to murder him.
Talk about a cliffhanger!
Soap operas and tv series use open loops all the time.
I’ll tell you in a moment, but first… (just kidding! I had to add in a little “open loop” humor for ya.)
Look, humans crave closure.
We want answers to our questions… it’s just how we’re designed.
An open loop introduces a question but purposely leaves it unanswered.
Not to get all “sciencey” on you here but…
As I mentioned earlier, our brains crave closure and want answers to our questions.
When we have neither closure nor the answers we crave… it creates tension in our brain.
As a marketer we want to create that tension in our reader’s brain.
Because when you create tension, you’re also creating…
We want our reader’s attention.
That’s one of the main goals with copywriting and content marketing.
Once you get your audience’s attention you can do cool things like make them offers or increase your brand awareness.
Check this out…
Remember this line I wrote in the introduction to this blog post?
“There are 6 simple ways to improve any piece of content that will create a cult like following of raving fans.
I’ll get to the 6 simple ways in a second,
But before I do…
Why does a newspaper reader read the paper?”
That was written very intentionally.
“I’ll get to the 6 simple ways in a second” is an open loop designed to keep you engaged.
Another example of an open loop is…
“And, as you’ll see in just a second, when you follow our model you’ll be doing less work than most.”
In other words, the open loop is conveying… “in just a second you’re going to learn something that you want to learn… so keep paying attention.”
If you want to get people to dive deeper into your content consider opening a loop near the beginning of the content to keep them engaged.
4.) Inside Joke
You probably already know what an inside joke is right?
If you’re with some friends and you tell an inside joke, those of you “on the inside” will have a great chuckle.
In that moment you’ll also feel a greater bond with one another.
The same type of reaction can happen when you place an inside joke within your content.
The readers who “get it” will have a little chuckle and will be even more bonded to you throughout the content.
For example… Disney is great at this because they create a movie for the kids…
… but they’ll also drop jokes and references the adults will appreciate.
“Add in Inside Joke to your content to create a greater bond with your reader.”
The kids don’t get the inside joke but that’s okay, the kids don’t need to get the joke to appreciate the movie.
Here’s an example I recently used in an email to our list about Facebook Canvas ads:
“Think of a Canvas ad like a mini website built within Facebook (but you don’t have to be Einstein or even Urkel) to create one…”
The readers who get and appreciate your inside joke will slide down the greased content slide more easily.
And they’ll also look forward to your future content.
Remember: adding an inside joke to your content is a bonus but certainly not required.
5.) Breaking Up The Text
Breaking up your text is one of the more important ways to improve your content.
For example, don’t build big blocks of text that are long, ugly or scary to the eyes.
Big paragraphs are a speed bump that will slow down the greased slide.
By using things such as:
- Small, bite size paragraphs
You’re content will be visually more consumable for your reader.
I want you to read the next two paragraphs and think about which one is visually more appealing to you.
How many times have you started to read a piece of content but there were run on sentences that seemed to just go on forever. Also, have you read content where the author had little to no regard for creating any type of spacing or consideration for how the content looked visually? Or perhaps the author didn’t take advantage of using bullets, ellipses, quotes, or small, bite size paragraphs. They just kept writing like this. How did this piece of content make you feel? Did it feel like a greased slide that easily pulled you through the content or did these long sentences and large paragraphs appear visually intimidating and therefore became an obstacle that prevented you from getting through the content?
How many times have you started to read a piece of content…
but there were run on sentences that seemed to just go on forever?
Also, have you read content where the author had little to no regard for creating any type of spacing or consideration for how the content looked visually?
Or perhaps the author didn’t take advantage of using…
- Or small, bite size paragraphs
They just kept writing like this!
How did this piece of content make you feel?
Did it feel like a greased slide that easily pulled you through the content?
Did these long sentences and large paragraphs appear visually intimidating…
… and therefore became an obstacle that prevented you from getting through the content?
In case you didn’t notice, those two pieces of text were exactly the same word for word.
However, visually they look nothing alike.
Scroll back up and take another look.
Which one felt more visually appealing to you?
Does one of them feel more like of a greased slide then the other?
No matter how good your content is, if you write in big, blocky, paragraphs that are intimidating on the eye…
… your reader will more than likely stop reading your content and move on to something more visually appealing.
For more help with this go to 3 Basic Copywriting Rules You Should Never Break
6.) Focus on The Close
The last of the 6 ways to improve your content is to focus on the close.
In order to indicate to your reader that they’re now at the end of your content you’ve got to provide them with closure.
You don’t need to spend hours on the close but at least make sure there is a close.
It’s great if it can be a big finish…
… like a powerful conclusion or a dramatic ending.
But not all of your content will end that way.
And that’s okay!
So, as long as you make some type of conclusion you’ll satisfy your reader’s need for closure.
Here are two ways to achieve a good close…
1.) Request that your readers ask a question or comment below on what they liked about your article.
“That’s it. Now it’s your turn. If you have any questions or comments add them below.”
2.) Briefly summarize what your reader just learned.
A numbered or bulleted list will work perfect here.
Remember, your close doesn’t have to be like the finale of the fireworks show on the 4th of July.
But at the same time, you don’t want to leave your reader with an overwhelming sense of “meh”.
Ways To Improve Your Content: Final Thoughts
So in conclusion, there 6 ways to improve your content starting today.
- Focus on the Introduction
- Write Better Headlines
- Add Open Loops
- Use Inside Jokes
- Break Up the Text To Make More Consumable
- Focus on The Close
Now that you’ve learned the 6 ways to improve your content it’s time to apply these to your business.
However, don’t feel the need to always apply ALL 6 tips to every piece of content you create.
Once you start applying these tips on a regular basis you’ll find it easier to incorporate them into your content.
The result will be you’ll get more people engaged in your content and reading it to the end.
Now that you have an understanding of the 6 ways to improve your content you’re well on your way to creating engaging content that will pull your readers through to the end.
However, there’s a chance you’re still a bit unclear on how to structure a blog post for maximum readability.
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