You can spend hours creating the perfect piece of content, but well-written articles or interesting videos can only go so far if they are missing key elements needed to engage customers. To get the most out of your content marketing strategy, make sure all of your content is well-executed and engaging with these five elements.
1. Attention-grabbing headline
The headline is the first — and sometimes only — chance you have to spark curiosity, encourage opens and drive a higher click-through rate. It should be one or more of the following:
- Unique: Make the headline interesting and insert your brand’s personality to help it stand out from other businesses publishing similar content.
- Ultra-specific: Provide enough information to pique reader interest.
- Urgent: Compel the customers to click on the content so they don’t miss out on something valuable.
- Useful: Convey the benefit they can expect to receive from the content to prove its value.
Headlines with numbers, especially odd ones, also generate more clicks, while headlines that include uncommon acronyms may only serve to confuse the customer. Avoid misleading titles by making sure your headline captures the spirit of the content.
2. Strong lead
Once customers open your article, your lead needs to convince them to read the rest. The lead is your opening paragraph that summarizes the premise of the article, whether as a straightforward, standard introduction or a more creative, narrative beginning, such as setting a compelling scene or sharing an emotionally charged customer testimonial.
Eliminate words until only the strongest, most concise message remains. Speak directly to your audience — whether you write using second-person pronouns or not — by recognizing their pain points and business goals. You may find it easier to write the article first and then work on the lead.
3. Clean structure
Most users won’t read the whole page, or even half of it, and scanning is much more common, which is why structuring your written content into digestible chunks with short paragraphs, subsections, bullet points and numbered lists guides them through the article and keeps them from getting overwhelmed by a block of text and leaving early.
Subheadings placed underneath your main headline also bolster the title. A headline may not be able to make all four U’s of headline writing, but a subheading below it can pick up the slack.
4. Appealing visual design
Visuals are extremely useful for engaging customers. Infographics, illustrations, bar graphs or charts can stand alone or supplement other forms of content by explaining complex data in an easy-to-understand format. If you create your own visuals, make sure they stay true to your company’s branding and make use of white space. Text should be concise and strong in readable fonts. Articles with relevant photos also generate 94% more views than articles without.
5. Persuasive calls-to-action
Calls-to-action are the true test of customer engagement by encouraging conversions. The design rules are the same as other visual elements: contrasting colors, limited but strong text and white space. Place the CTA where the eye naturally goes, such as the top or bottom of the page or in the sidebar.
To make the best of your great content, you can incorporate a proven framework to make it more engaging. Increasing the visual appeal, adding more structure to the text, including a strong CTA and getting their attention from the very beginning with a striking headline and lead can take your content to the next level.