Note from Kevin: Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Julie Petersen. Need help writing engaging content? Julie has some great tips and tools…
What?s the last truly great article you read?
Did you share it with anyone on social media? Did you tell your friends and family about it or quote it later in your day? Did you save it so you could read it again?
If any of these things are true, I bet I can tell you two facts about the article. First, I can say with confidence that it was well written. The author took their time to compose their thoughts in a way that drew you in and engaged you on an intellectual level. Second, it was visually appealing. You saw a picture, video, slideshow, or something else that got your attention.
These things don?t just happen.
It takes time to craft engaging content that audiences love. And if you?re pressed for time or new to writing, it can be a challenge to produce quality articles over and over again.
The following tools and tips will help make the process a little more seamless. Use them to improve both your writing and your visual content so your readers will love your work.
Write like Hemingway!
Hemingway Editor is an awesome website that can improve the readability and clarity of your writing. You just copy and paste your article into Hemingway Editor?s platform, and the site will highlight any sentences that are hard to read.
It also points out passive voice and adverbs so you can modify them as you wish.
Tweak Your Biz?s online Title Generator comes up with a huge list of possible headlines for your blog posts. All you have to do is type in your topic, and specify whether the topic is a noun or a verb. Tweak Your Biz does the rest.
Choose the headline that grabs your attention the fastest. It?s sure to have the same effect on your readers.
Ninja Essays is a tremendous resource for writers.
For a small fee, Ninja Essays can write your articles for you. If you need help with editing and proofreading, they have services for those as well.
They?ll even help with formatting!
PlagTracker will ensure that your articles are free of plagiarism.
The website will scan your article, find any instances of plagiarism, and replace them with original content.
Rest easy knowing you will always have truly unique content for your readers to enjoy.
Longer content is viewed more and shared more across social media. Longer posts also offer more opportunities for backlinks and embedding SEO keywords.
For these reasons, it?s important to have a minimum standard for the length of your posts. Aim for at least 400 words per post.
Essay Mama?s Word Counting tool will make this step in the process very easy.
Visual Content Creation Tools
Considered to be one of the easiest design websites for anyone to use, Canva uses a ?drag and drop? tool to make stunning graphics for your website or blog posts.
Kevin J. Duncan uses Canva to create many of the graphics you see here on Be A Better Blogger!
Choose from a selection of over 490,000 free photos and illustrations.
Pixabay makes it easy to find what you?re looking for with their search tool.?You can further filter your results based on orientation, theme, or prevalent color.
It’s pretty nifty.
PiktoChart lets you easily create infographics for your website.
You start by selecting a template, and then you add charts, video, pictures, and data. With built in social media options, you can easily share the infographic across your web pages.
You can also choose to download and print it, or embed it into a website.
Unlike most visual content creation websites, WeVideo lets you make videos for your page.
The site has advanced options for people who are a bit more tech-savvy, as well as basic designs for those of us who are lacking in artistic abilities.
WeVideo is free for 5-minute videos and up to 2 GB of cloud storage. After that, plans start at $11/year.
GIFMaker is a free site that lets you make animated GIFs, slideshows, and video animation. It?s one of the only content creation websites that doesn?t require you to sign up.
The tools listed above will make content creation process much easier and effective. However, you need to know how to use them appropriately to get the desired effect.
10 Writing Tips to Make Your Content Engaging and Viral
#1. Use Keywords
When you write your article or blog post, it has to compete with thousands of similar articles in order to receive decent placement in Google?s search results.
One way to help your article rise to the top of the list is to incorporate keywords that will draw readers to your page. Use keywords in your bio or the ?About Us? section of your social media profile. Also, include them in the title of your article and anywhere else that is appropriate.
Just be sure that the writing sounds natural.
#2. Always Respond to Comments
This should go without saying. But you?d be shocked to learn how many businesses and individuals neglect to respond to questions or comments on their social media profiles.
This is absolutely crazy because you have an interested customer right there in front of you asking for you to talk to them. This is even true if you receive a negative comment. Engage the person in conversation. Take advantage of this great opportunity.
If you fail to respond, someone who might have been interested in your product or service might move onto another company or website where they won?t feel ignored.
#3. Tell A Story
Stories connect us to one another. If you can find a way to tell a story within your article, people will be more engaged and interested in what you have to say.
Tell a truthful, personal, and relevant story. This might be on your ?About Me? page or within a blog post about how your business grew from the ground up.
Allow your readers to cheer for you and see themselves within your story.
#4. Be Unique
Unique content will be re-blogged, liked, and shared. Content that has been spun and spun across the web will not.
Find a way to make your article stand out from the rest.
If you?re writing about the best type of dog for each person, for example, maybe focus on the best type of dog for each person based on their eating habits or their sleep schedule. It?s more interesting than basing the decision on their work schedule or space in their home.
#5. Use Pictures and Video
People are visual by nature. We are far more likely to read articles with images to keep us engaged.
People are also more likely to purchase from a business that has great images on their website. It?s not always fair or logical, but it?s true. Use this to your advantage. Incorporate images into all of your posts.
#6. Take Advantage of Social Media
Do some research to learn which social media platforms your potential customers use on a daily basis, and put serious effort into sharing your posts on those pages.
If you find out that you have a lot of potential readers on Twitter and Instagram, for instance, then only posting to Facebook won?t be very effective.
There are many wonderful social media tools that can help push your content to your audience. Take advantage of these tools to make the most of your writing.
#7. Be Trustworthy
When someone reads your article, they will be anxious and apprehensive about the content unless they feel that they can trust you or relate to you in some way.
People trust academic technical experts the most. But directly after the experts, they trust people who seem most like them. They are generally less trusting of CEOs.
If you happen to be the CEO, don?t let this stop you from writing. Just focus on how you are like the reader instead of focusing on your title.
#8. Eliminate Distractions
Keep your article simple and without a lot of fancy distractions.
Do not offer multiple calls to action at the end of the article. When people feel overwhelmed with their choices, they frequently opt to remove themselves from the situation entirely. Provide your readers with very limited options for a next step.
One way to do this is to have an email list that readers can join. You could also ask that they like your Facebook page or subscribe to your blog. Do not ask for all of these things at once.
#9. Give Advice, Not A Pitch
People are smart. They can see a marketing pitch coming from across a football field. If your article seems ?salesy? you will lose your audience before they ever reach your call to action.
If you want to recommend your product or service to them, do so in a way that feels like you are genuinely offering your expert advice. You don?t need to come right out and pitch your company. They?re already reading your article on your website.
Just advise the reader on how you can help them without coming across as aggressive.
#10. Spend Some Time On Your Headline
The headline is the only thing standing between you and your readers. Without an attention-grabbing headline, your potential readers will skip your article and completely miss out on the content.
Constructing a great title isn?t hard. It just takes a little time and thought. Focus on using ?emotional? words that will cause people to react. Some emotional words are ?fear,? ?protect,? ?comfortable,? and ?shocking.?
You can also use tools like Portent?s Headline Generator to build a great headline.
Over to You
There you have it!
Hopefully these tools and tips will improve the quality of your work. Be sure to bookmark this article away as an easy reference until it becomes a habit.
Over time, you?ll get used to turning to them for help with creating slideshows, editing your writing, and making graphs.