3 Tips for Getting Your Content Seen (by Even the Busiest Readers)

Millions of pieces of content are published every minute. Listen in to see how you can steal an advantage and make sure yours get noticed …

It’s no longer enough to simply publish valuable information as part of your content marketing strategy. You’ve got to make sure you’re presenting your content in a way that’s going to catch your reader’s eye.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do before you Hit Publish to reach more people, and build more engagement around the content you’ve spent time and effort creating.

What’s more, it doesn’t take a huge marketing budget to achieve, or hours of your time … there are just 3 simple rules you can follow:

Listen to this episode as Amy walks you through:

  • Why your expertise can accidentally trip you up when writing content for your customers (and how to stay on track)
  • How to follow the method used by ’restaurants’ to encourage your readers to spend just a little more time with your content
  • How to make critical information jump out and get your customer’s attention

The Show Notes

3 Tips for Getting Your Content Seen (by Even The Busiest Readers

Amy Harrison: Hello this is Amy Harrison and you’re listening to Hit Publish, where I cover simple ways to get better results with your online business.

When you’ve got an online business, building an audience is going to be a key marketing strategy for generating revenue. But in a world that is overwhelmed with content and marketing messages, how do you make sure yours are cutting through the clutter and reaching your ideal customer? That’s what we’re going to look at today.

I want to thank you for downloading this podcast and I want to thank Rainmaker.FM for hosting it.

Are you ready to discover the simple and practical actions you can take to get the attention of even the busiest reader? Then Let’s Hit Publish.

Last week saw the launch of the first ever Dear Amy agony aunt column and today we have another first. The word of the week.

Each week I will be hiding a word somewhere within this podcast so keep your ears peeled and hear if you can spot it. Today’s word of the week is: “Sagacious” which means “having or showing keen mental discernment and good judgement; wise or shrewd.”

Sagacious. I wonder where that will crop up?

Now on with the show and to kick things off in front of me I have a Dear Amy letter from a listener with another Hit Publish question.

Dear Amy,

I’ve just started to regularly publish content on my blog to promote my online business. I make sure the content is valuable but I’m not sure if people are actually reading it. Could you give me any tips for making it pop out a bit more so that my audience takes more notice?

Yours, feeling invisible, Steven.

Do you ever feel like Steven? Perhaps you’re Hitting Publish on a regular basis, writing valuable content but feeling like it’s getting overlooked?

Well fortunately, there are a few practical things you can do to stop this from happening, so why don’t we look at that now? Don’t forget, if you have a problem or question you’d like to see covered in Dear Amy, simply head to HitPublish.FM and leave me a comment, or send me an email to hello@writewithinfluence.com.

Okay, so with millions of pieces of content being published every minute around the world, the challenge of reaching your audience as an online marketer can feel overwhelming. So these 3 tips should help.

Tip number 1: Make sure your content is 100% focused on the things your customer is interested in.

Amy: Thank you, thank you. First I want to thank the worldwide Vegetarian society for having me here today as the keynote speaker at the Give Peas a chance Veggie summit. So, for the next 30 minutes I’d like to take some time and walk through my top 10 recipes for steak, chicken and other meats.

Crowd: Boo.

Amy: Wow. Tough crowd.

Why Your Expertise Can Accidentally Trip You Up When Writing Content for Your Customers (and How to Stay on Track)

Okay, I’ll admit, this might sound like an obvious point and I’m certain if your ideal customer is a vegetarian, you’re not sharing meat recipes, but it is an important point. Staying focused on what your audience is interested in can be a challenge, and here’s why.

I had a friend who makes promotional films for companies. As a filmmaker he absolutely loves the equipment he uses, and his blog is filled with articles on the latest lenses, lighting equipment and filming techniques.

He is definitely an expert in what he does, the problem is, his blog attracted other filmmakers, people who also loved lenses and lighting topics. These were his competitors, not potential customers.

His clients don’t care about lenses, they care about what a promotional film can do for their business, they care about attracting clients, or getting media attention because of the film they’re going to commission.

So even though he was writing about the topic of making films, he was off-target for the audience he wanted to reach.

The other challenge of writing content as an expert, is it’s easy to forget that your customers often need entry-level or ‘beginner’s’ content.

For example, if you’re a content marketer, you might be fascinated by the future of native advertising and automated content, but your prospects really want to know how to write a headline for their blog, or know how to structure an article so it’s easy to read.

So you need to remember these 2 things:

  1. Look at your content and ask yourself if you’re writing for your industry interests, of the interests of your customer?
  2. Are you writing only for your level of understanding, or are you covering the beginner topics as well?

If you want a super-easy way to keep the focus on what your customers want to know, think about the questions they ask in relation to the service or product you provide.

And specifically, think about the questions they might ask when:

  • Trying to figure out if they have a problem
  • When looking for a solution
  • They’re considering hiring someone or buying a product to solve their problem

For example. Let’s say that you provide computer maintenance and your customer’s computer has been running a little slow. Some questions she might have might be:

  • Is my computer slower than usual?
  • Why is my computer running slow?
  • How do I know if it’s something to worry about?
  • Is it something I need to get fixed?
  • How much is it going to cost me?

We could easily turn answers to those questions into a series of articles such as:

  • How to tell if your computer is running slow
  • 5 reasons your computer might be running slow
  • Does a slow computer mean your hard drive might crash? Find out here.
  • Etc.

So, tip number 1 is to first make sure your focus is wholly on your customers interests.

How to Follow the Method Used By ’Restaurants’ to Encourage Your Readers to Spend Just a Little More Time with Your Content

Tip number 2: Present your information in bite-size pieces.

Waitress: Oh hello, and welcome to the ’everything at once’ restaurant. May I take your order?

Customer: Sure, I’d like the shrimp cocktail, to start, followed by the chicken with mozzarella and white wine, and a bottle of pinot please.

Waitress: Dessert?

Customer: Oh, I’m not sure I’ll have room.

Waitress: Ah, but if you do, what do you think you’d fancy?

Customer: Well the tiramisu is always a favourite of mine, but like I say. I’ll see how I get on?

Waitress: Okay, coming right up.

Your meal madam.

Customer: I’m sorry, what’s this?

Waitress: Oh, did I get it wrong? It’s a shrimp cocktail, chicken with mozzarella and white wine, some tiramisu and a whole bottle of pinot grigio served up all together in our very special ‘everything at once restaurant receptacle.’

Customer: It’s just a whole heap of food slopped in a bucket with a bottle of wine poured over it.

Waitress: Mmm-hmm. Doesn’t it look delicious.

Customer: Not really. Look, I didn’t want everything at the same time.

Waitress: But madam, this is how it all ends up inside you, does it really matter the order in which you eat it?

Customer: But, I wanted my starter first, and then once I’d finished that…

Waitress: Oh no madam, we don’t believe in having starters separately. We serve customers everything at once. Hence the name. We are the everything at once restaurant.

Customer: I didn’t think the name was literal.

Waitress: Ahh madam, it is our USP. No other restaurant serves food, quite like this.

Customer: You don’t say…

Now, despite my impeccable business plan for the everything-at-once restaurant, it turns out that’s not how humans like to consume anything really, from food to content.

We like it to be bite size.

This is why magazines have a much higher readership than say, the terms and conditions for your latest iPhone update. While magazines have nice bold headlines, nicely-laid out articles with slim columns and eye-catching photos, terms and conditions tend to be densely written scripts in the world’s tiniest font.

So, how can you make your content more bite-sized and easy to read?

  1. Make sure the font is large enough so that it’s easy to read. You don’t want customer’s straining their eyes.
  2. Avoid long, lengthy sections of text. Aim to keep paragraphs short, and try to cover just one thought or idea for each paragraph.
  3. Use subheadings and bullet points as formatting tools to space out the content so that it has the appearance of being bite-sized. It’s much easier to be drawn into an article that has lot of smaller sections that you can scan, rather than one, densely written article.

While the information in your content is important, so is the way you present it. A 3 course meal in a restaurant spaced out over a couple of hours will seem much more appealing than all of the ingredients slopped together in a bucket at the same time, despite the ‘content’ being exactly the same.

Now it’s time for the final tip.

How to Make Critical Information Jump Out and Get Your Customer’s Attention

Tip number 3: Make sure any important details really pop out on the page.

Boss: Amy, Great, I’ve been looking for you

Amy: Oh hello, I was just typing on this electric typewriter, or at least I think that’s what the sound effect is.

Boss: Did you read the memo I sent you yesterday?

Amy: Oh yes, line by line, you know I never ignore any of the thousand memos you send each week.

Boss: So you’re all ready then?

Amy: Hmm?

Boss: You’re ready? Have you got your bikini? And the trifle sponge cakes?

Amy: The…

Boss: It was all there in the memo line 123. I said if you didn’t want to do it, let me know asap but I never heard anything. You did read all of the memo didn’t you?

Amy: Of course.

Boss: Come on then, let’s go. The cage of cockroaches are outside as well as the national media. Thanks so much for doing this. Everyone else turned it down. You were the only one who didn’t reply.

Amy: Moral of the story – always read memos from your boss.

On a serious note, if there are key details in your content, you want to make sure these pop out to your reader. So what are some of the ways you can do this?

  • Make a big promise in your headlines – If you’re going to solve a problem for your customer, don’t hide it in the body of your content. Whether it’s on your blog or on a sales page, use your headline to make a big promise and let your customer know the biggest change you’re going to make in their lives.
  • Use your opening to reinforce why they should keep reading – If you’re writing a blog post, use your opening to expand on the promise you make in your headline. Don’t suddenly change subject, or introduce an abstract concept. For example if your article is: 5 ways to speed up your computer, you might want to stress in your opening that these 5 tips are easy, free and could save them $100s of dollars in repair work by avoiding a critical malfunction.
  • Make sure if your content is time-sensitive that you make this clear – If I have deadlines for webinars or for accepting new Write with Influence members I will let people know in the headline of a blog post, or the subject-line of an email that there is a time-related sense of urgency that they should be aware of.
  • Again, use subheadings and bullet points to make any key pieces of information easy to access – You might have written an article about safety measures needed for holiday-makers to avoid tropical diseases on their travels. You might have a key section that outlines critical symptoms. As a result you might decide to have a subheading that says: “10 Dangerous Symptoms You Need to Be Aware Of” and then list those out in the bullets.

For this final point, a tip here is to read your finished piece of content and ask yourself what are the key pieces of information you want your customer to take away. Jot those down on a separate sheet and ask yourself:

  • Do these points show up in your headline?
  • Are they in your opening?
  • Are they in eye-catching spots such as your sub headings or bullet points?

Make sure you’re not burying critical information because if your reader doesn’t know WHY he or she should be interested in your content, they might click away to another site and miss some hot pieces of advice.

So, in summary:

  1. Make sure your content is focused on your customer’s key interests and questions
  2. Make sure your content is delivered in bite-size pieces so that reading it doesn’t look like hard work
  3. Use key areas to make the most important pieces of information pop out of the page.

So, here’s my question to you:

How can you put a simple system in place so that you check these three things before you Hit Publish. Write them at the top of your blog post draft or keep them on a sticky-note in front of you when you write. They’re simple tips, but they can increase the odds that your valuable content will reach your target market.

Thank you for being a Hit Publish listener. If you’ve found this useful today, I’d love it if you popped over to iTunes and left a rating and a review. It takes just a few clicks and keyboard taps but it lets the world know that Hit Publish has the smartest, best-looking listeners.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to be featured in the Dear Amy column, simply leave a comment at HitPublish.FM with your question or problem, or email me using hello@writewithinfluence.com

That’s all for this week, so until next time, remember to take action and Hit Publish.