Welcome back to another post in the Series: How to Earn Passive Income with Affiliate Links as a Writer! Last week, we discussed content and few tips on writing great content. Today, we’re doing a deep dive into how to write content that keeps readers coming back for more.
The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need to Write Engaging Content
Click-Worthy Content Titles
Your title should be targeted toward a specific group of readers. If you target your titles toward a predetermined niche, you’ll have a handpicked audience just waiting to click on your content and devour it.
Your title should contain your short-tail and (if possible) long-tail keywords. Don’t worry if you don’t know how because we’re talking about using keywords in your content next week.
If creating titles makes you a little weak kneed, here are 4 things to include in your titles and 7 eye-catching title templates to get you started.
1. Desired Result
This is the desired result your audience should feel more prepared to achieve after they read your article or post.
This is the amount of time your article suggests the audience can achieve the desired result.
This is whatever your article promises your audience will get out of achieving their desired result.
This is a challenge your audience needs to overcome to achieve their desired result. Your article or post should give readers a solution to this challenge.
Here are 7 foolproof titles that will grab your audience’s attention every time.
- How to (desired result)
- How to (desired result) in (time)
- How to (desired result) without (challenge)
- How to (desired result) so you can (benefit)
- How to (desired result) in (time) so you can (benefit)
- How to (desired result) so you can (benefit) without (challenge)
- How to (desired result) in (time) so you can (benefit) without (challenge)
Here’s an example for template 7.
How to Draft a 1000-word Article (desired result) in 1 Hour (time) so you can Save Time (benefit) and Make More Money (challenge)
Headlines to Capture Attention– and Hold it
In journalism and writing, the headline is the first sentence or paragraph of your article or post. Good headlines inform the reader on the topic and set the tone for your content. Great headlines engage with a niche audience and compels them to keep reading.
Your headline can include a compelling and relevant story. It could state a controversial statement or an interesting statistic. Your headline may also state a conclusion others have reached that you’re going to affirm or deny in your article or post.
There’s no one way to write a headline. Just make sure it does one thing– capture your audience’s attention and never lets go.
Content Headings for an Easy Read
Headings give a short, concise summary about the paragraph or paragraphs that follow. Good headings
Great headings tell readers what the piece is about without even having to read the body paragraphs.
Remember to try and fit a few of your keywords in your headings for maximum SEO. We’ll get more in depth about using keywords in your content next week. Until then, you can brush up on your keyword terminology with Series Post #12.
Engage Readers with your Body… Paragraphs
Aside from your titles and headings, the bulk of your content will be found in the body of your content.
Paragraphs should consist of no more than 3 sentences. They shouldn’t take up too much space, either, since readers tend to skim bulky text. Add bolded words and phrases to make content skimmable, highlight your main points, and improve SEO.
Google loves content with multimedia. Videos are great but so are images. You can find awesome stock images for free on sites like unsplash, pixabay, and FreeImages. You can also pay for amazing high quality photos on sites like Shutterstock.
Bullet Point & Numbered Lists
Break up large chunks of text with bulleted and numbered lists. Lists are great for pros and cons. They’re also great for ranking tips or suggestions.
Reign in Readers with a Closing Pitch
Like the conclusion to an essay or a closing argument in court, the end of your content should:
- wrap up the point(s) you made before
- add something new and thought worthy
Unlike conclusions in other mediums and writing styles, though, your closing paragraph should reign your audience back in.
By this, I mean you should direct readers toward similar articles on your blog or to your product page. This keeps readers from clicking off your site to increase SEO. It’s also an opportunity to convert a one-time reader into a longtime fan.
The Final Touches
If you don’t have the Yoast SEO plugin, throw your content into a phrase repetition counter. That way, you know how many times you used your keyword in your article or post. You can also check for repetitive use of a non-keyword and make your writing more engaging with close synonyms.
If you’re like me, your sentences can get a little wordy. I always check my content with Hemmingway to make sure my articles are as clear and concise as possible.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you probably know I’m a huge fan of Grammarly. Edit and proofread your content with Grammarly everytime and start learning how to write better first drafts.
Practice with our Case Study
Think you got this content writing thing down? Let’s test out your skills on our old book blogger friend’s review blog.
Using the guide above, outline a quick article for a book review blog that targets YA readers who love Fantasy mermaid books.
Done? Awesome! Leave what you came up with in the comments because I’d love to check it out!
Here’s what I came up with.
[headline] Ahhh, summertime. You slide on your sunglasses and head to the beach. While everyone else is splashing in the waves, you’re working on your tan and devouring the latest YA Fantasy novel. If that sounds like your perfect day by the beach, here are 10 mermaid books to add to your summer TBR.
[heading] 10 YA Fantasy Mermaid Tales for your Summer 2019 TBR
[heading] Book Title
[heading] Summary of Book Title
[body] Here, our book blogger friend writes a summary of the best mermaid books to read in summer 2019.
[heading] Reasons Why TITLE should be on your Summer TBR
- [body] Here,
- our book blogger friend
- writes a list of reasons why
- their audience should buy the book
[closing] What are you waiting for? Go an grab one of these awesome mermaid books for your summer TBR right now! I’ll even give you my affiliate link to get 20% your first order with *affiliate link*. [pitch] And don’t forget to check out my list of the Top 3 Mermaid Books of 2019!
So there you have it, writers! Leave a comment and let me know how your content writing practice is going. Happy writing!
Series Post #13: What is Content Writing? PLUS 3 Tips for Beginners
Freelance Writing: A Guide to Getting Started for Beginners (Part 1)
Freelance Writing: A Guide to Getting Started for Beginners (Part 2)