Publishing content these days is a piece of cake. The Internet is wide open to everybody. Write a couple of words, press Enter and it’s live. No limits. Making this content interesting, original and valuable, however, requires expertise. And you need the right tools to make content shine.
The audience’s attention is a challenge. You need to meet many requirements and what used to mattered years or even months ago, doesn’t work today. People have unlimited access to the best posts but at the same time are crazy busy. They are short on time but want to know what’s hot and what’s not, be aware of trends and read nice articles. But what exactly makes an article nice? You must stick to a few rules. I’ll point you a couple of tools that will surely support you in this fight for people’s attention.
Personally, I use Pinterest and Brand24 to finding inspiration. Pinterest lets you easily find not only pictures but also quotes and infographics that are related to your theme. Brand24, on the other hand, is a social media monitoring tool that gathers all mentions of a keyword of your choice, helping you find the most popular topics in your industry or niche. Want to write about the newest trends in French cuisine or the most dangerous sports in the world? Brand24 will tell you not only who and what was already written about it but also what your audience is looking for. If you’re interested in Brand24 and want to know more, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or enroll in a free trial:
Know the topic you write about
It’s hard to find something more annoying than a text that is banal or dubious. Don’t be one of these authors — never ever. I assume you choose a particular topic because you have at least a little knowledge about it and you’re going to base the article on experience and/or facts. You have to provide content that brings something new and fresh, information that is so interesting that people don’t want to look for it elsewhere. Of course, you will need to research. Google will be the best solution but what about examples and other materials? Here you can benefit from Sotrender and Brand24. These applications will collect all links for you while you think about the next paragraph. Then, to save ideas and tasks, use Evernote or Trello.
Support the text with data
While the text is important, data is essential. Why is that? It brings content creation to a higher level. Numbers, statistics, and reports will confirm what you say before and after them. 80% of people will spend no more than 7 minutes reading this text. Video is processed by the brain 60 thousand times faster than text. We listen at a rate of 200 words per minute but think of 2000 words per minute. See? A simple example of a sentence with supporting data will definitively make your content more solid. It also gives your audience a dose of facts supported by an interesting text. After reading it they know they learned something new and proven.
Relation between content length and total attention minutes
Add pictures and video (a lot of them)
To quote Jeff Bullas, we live in an era of visual content. A text without photos and graphics is unreadable. Adding some media helps in keeping the reader’s attention and it will surely emphasize the sense of your message. Also, remember that now it’s more and more popular to replace classic pictures with GIFs and videos. We like when the text is colorful, funny and unconventional. Your text is a meal but it won’t taste good without some visual spice.
You have to go that extra mile if you want to be on top. Fortunately, we have many cool applications that support our efforts. Not only cool free stock images (love to use them!), but you can always use the amazing Canva to create amazing visuals. Infogr.am is a lifesaver for those who have to present many (boring) numbers, stats, etc., allowing you to create infographics with ease.
Make the reading process easier
Your readers love reading good stuff. Just keep it as simple as possible. Choose the font that is straight and big enough. Make space between lines and paragraphs. Try to not accumulate too much text, separate it with graphics, infographics or subtitles. People usually scroll the whole article at the very beginning. It is a kind of a test: they want to have the overall feel before committing.
Obviously, remember about details like writing short sentences and avoiding typing errors. Regarding the first issue, use Hemingway Editor to improve your text clarity. Grammarly, on the other hand, will take care of spelling and improve your grammar skills.
Writing a text should be a carefully organized process. Choose a topic, a title, research, write, add data and visual content. Verify grammar, the length of each sentence and paragraph. Be sure that your content is actionable, useful and interesting to people. Seems pretty simple, but it’s hard to master, and I think it’s never too late for stepping up our game regarding content. Practice all the time. Your audience will appreciate it.