Content: The Basics
Every piece of content that you create should be engineered with tangible visitor responses in mind.
Any good content creator will always consider the actions that they’d like their visitors to make, and then build their content around this purpose. It’s crucial for a content creator to be aware of past examples of content that have triggered similar actions. It’s also essential that the creator is able to deduce which attributes of successful past content contributed towards its success.
Generally speaking, some of the attributes which are likely, in this writer’s experience, to trigger an audience response are as follows:
1) Provocativeness – Controversial subject material can light the emotional blue touch paper of the audience. Any content that deals with universal concerns; like sex, religion, money and food; is likely to illicit a strong, instinctive response in almost all human beings.
A second form of provocative content is content that encourages deep thought. Written articles that push envelopes, and challenge status quos, can stir the creative juices of a reader. The same logic applies in all mediums. Application of this logic should lead to end results, for the content provider.
2) Vision – Creating Eureka moments can yield fantastic results. A content writer should use their observational skill to bring the audience to a new realisation, wherever possible. One simple way to do this is to identify a problem that needs fixing and to suggest a viable solution.
A second example of visionary writing would involve discussing a tired topic, from a unique perspective. Differentiation can often outstrip rehashing in the, all-too-often, homogenous world of content.
3) Relevance – In order to trigger an audience response, relating to your brand or product, one should provide your audience with content that, somehow, reflects said brand or product. However, it is possible to relate content to a product, without blatantly shilling. A skilled, modern content creator will often provide their target audience with a source of relevant entertainment, rather than going for a hard sell.
4) Timeliness – With social media increasing the pace of internet life, it is now, more than ever, important to be the first content writer on any given scene. A content professional will be able to anticipate trends before they even reach their peak. One tried-and-tested technique is to build up a base of useful notes, information and language relating to your topic. When pushed for time, dipping into such a knowledge bank can prove vital.
In the event that you are unable to keep ahead of breaking news, consider incorporating wider cultural trends into your work. For example an article titled “Ten ways SEOs are like Olympic athletes” would be well received, this summer.
5) Narrative – Tell a story to your audience. Be aware of the end of your story before you have even decided upon the beginning and middle. Inspire your audience by taking them on an exciting journey, with strategically placed surprises.
In terms of technique, make sure that your story is cohesive, easily digestible and can hold an onlooker’s attention until the call-to-action comes.
6) Sincerity – Humans are, psychologically, hard wired to respond to individuals that position themselves as thought leaders. It’s impossible not to form an opinion, positive or negative, on any person who professes to have all the answers.
You can maximise your positive knee-jerk reactions by offering either; a comprehensive analysis of a simple subject, an explanation of complex concepts, or, by giving an unparalleled level of personal insight. Honesty and selflessness are endearing qualities in any person that’s putting on a show.