Digital marketing is all about creating content that people will actually want to read from start to finish. This is important because most content is only skimmed through. It has actually been proven that humans on average have an attention span of about eight seconds. That means a piece of content has that small window of time to impress a reader. While luck does a play a factor, it’s also about skill and knowing the keys to writing highly engaging articles that will prompt readers to share and spread the word about the piece.
The first step includes the basic principles of good writing that you may have learned back in your high school days. This includes a strong introduction that clearly explains to the reader what the article is about and what they can expect. It is also through the introduction that readers decide whether to read on or search for other content. In digital marketing, the introduction and title are the most important parts of the entire content, so take the time to craft an engaging first paragraph with a catchy header.
You should also take the tone of the article into consideration. Should your article be formal, semi-formal, or allow some wiggle room for a little wittiness? The tone you use will obviously depend on the topic and industry. However, even if you’re writing on a professional and formal topic, most digital marketing experts agree that being a little humorous or using an informal tone, such as text lingo, smiley faces and emoticons, may help resonate with the demographic readers. Of course, if you’re in the B2B sector, then strict professionalism may be more important.
Does your content cause strong emotions to surface? Studies have consistently shown that content is more likely to be shared if it elicits certain feelings to rise. This could be feelings both on the positive or negative end of the spectrum. Does your content create excitement, inspiration, curiosity, laughter, awe, anger, or frustration? Consider some of the following headlines that generate these emotions from the title alone:
Boy Paralyzed From the Waist Down Walks for First Time at Junior High Graduation – evokes inspiration
400-Pound Man Rides Tricycle Down the Neighborhood, Watch What Happens Next – evokes curiosity
Convicted Rapist Successfully Sues Victim for Emotional Distress – evokes outrage
Good digital marketing content conjures strong emotions. This is true whether the content is an article, an image, or a video. Always ask yourself if your content creates some form of emotion either on the extreme high end or extreme low end of the emotional scale.
Just as content that evokes emotion tends to get higher shares, so too does informative content. How-to articles or those that address commonly asked questions are always good choices . A study revealed that 94 percent of people consider “usefulness” as a primary factor when deciding whether to share a piece of content. When writing an article, digital marketing consultants recommend including niche-specific information that is hard to find elsewhere. This means information that is typically only known by someone who is considered an authority figure in the industry.
Content also comes in different forms. While written articles are always nice, consider mixing it up. Instead of a tutorial in text form, why not verbally explain it in a video complete with a visual guide? If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video has got to be worth even more. You can even combine a video with written information for maximum effect. Other forms of content include slides, listicles, and even interactive videos. The neat thing about digital marketing is that it allows you to create all sorts of different media with nothing more than a device that connects to the Internet.
People like free things, and if your content can provide that in some form or another, then it stands to reason that readers and viewers will be more likely to share it. Some may argue that the content’s information or entertainment factor is the reward. While true, you can take it a step further and give the readers something in return for their time. There are plenty of ways to reward those that take the time to look at your digital marketing content. Perhaps the last paragraph can contain a link to your website where readers can sign up for a free trial offer. Maybe the content can include a survey that readers complete in exchange for a discount code redeemable for a purchase made at your ecommerce store.
Lastly, take into consideration the organization of your content. For written pieces, is the article neatly formatted with subheadings and bullet points? You have to consider that a good chunk of your readers will view your content from a mobile device. If this is the case, does the text use a font small enough to fit into a mobile screen and doesn’t require side scrolling? The same goes for any images you include. Can the pictures squeeze into a smaller screen without affecting its resolution?
The Web is saturated with content, so people are going to be selective about what they choose to share. Not every piece of content you create is going to go viral or generate shares in the three to four digit ranges. Content is about bringing value to your demographic audience, and any digital marketing expert worth his or her salt will tell you that you have to be persistent. It is only then that you will form a loyal readership that leads to more content generating viral shares.