In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, Golden Proportions Marketing is featured as one of the Top Content Marketing Agencies in the United States. Check out their profile!
You’ve just put the finishing touches on an awesome piece of downloadable content — one that will no doubt generate countless leads and make your sales team happier than a bunch of monkeys in a banana tree. Now it’s just a matter of attracting hordes of people to your landing page so they can hit that big, beautiful “Download” button.
But how will you do that? Your blog articles just aren’t getting it done. You know your content is a little flat, but what can you do to make it more engaging? Here are a few “maybes” for you to consider to give your content a creative boost.
Maybe you need a more creative approach to your writing.
First things first, let’s fix what you already have.
Your blog article may contain useful information, but odds are it’s buried under a big pile of blah.
Since Microsoft concluded that the digital age has reduced human attention span to eight seconds (which is one second less than the slightly more focused goldfish), you need to wow your readers pretty quickly. Those eight precious seconds will give you just enough time to grab them with your headline and opening paragraphs, so make sure you put some thought into them.
Write a headline that demands attention.
Readers will want to know “what’s in it for me” when it comes to deciding whether or not to read your article. That’s what your headline is for. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Give them your best.
Include words like easiest, quickest, fastest, or cheapest to take a superlative approach and let them know you’re giving them information that will be unsurpassed. No need for them to look elsewhere!
Show them how it’s done.
“How to” headlines indicate that your article will contain detailed instructions for getting it done (whatever “it” may be). If you’re good at what you do, “how we do it” headlines work particularly well and help to position you as an expert.
Be a know it all.
“Everything you need to know” headlines are great if you have a knowledge-thirsty audience. Who wouldn’t want to become an expert at something just by reading a single blog article?
Write a lead that makes them want to keep reading.
If you did a great job with your headline, don’t lose them now. (Copyblogger estimates 80% of people read headlines , but only 20% read the rest of the article.)
Your lead (or “lede” for you old-school journalists out there) is simply the wording following the headline that entices people to read the full story. William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, said “The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn’t induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead.”
No pressure there!
Here’s a simple formula to get your lead right. Start with a short but clever hook to set the stage. Then use a transition to add some detail and connect them to your thesis, which tells them what they can expect in the article. (Check the beginning of this article for an example of what I mean.)
Maybe you need more creative types of media.
Reading isn’t for everyone. Neither is writing. Consider adding alternate forms of content like videos, podcasts, and infographics to your content mix to appeal to a wider audience and take advantage of your content strengths.
If you’re a natural speaker and comfortable being on camera (like me), video can be a great way to connect with your audience in a more personal way. It also allows for creative options that you just don’t get with written content. Production doesn’t have to be fancy, and actually can come off more authentic if you simply do it on your iPhone.
Podcasts can be a better fit for you if you would rather talk than write, but aren’t exactly an Oscar nominee in front of a camera. To start a podcast, you’ll need basic equipment like microphones or headsets, recording and editing software, and preferably a co-host or two, since single person podcasts tend to be boring. Once you’ve recorded your podcast, you’ll need to upload it to a hosting site like Buzzsprout, Podbean, or Transistor.
If your subject matter can be explained visually, infographics are very shareable and can be far more effective than written content. That’s because 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual , and visuals are known to improve learning and retention by 400%. If you don’t have a graphic designer on staff, find freelancers on upwork.com or try free infographic software like Snappa.
Maybe you need more creative content promotion.
I’ll go out on a limb and guess that you’ve probably been posting your content to your social accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn. I hate to be the one to break this news to you but, much like Elvis, organic marketing is probably dead, at least in terms of putting new content in front of your prospects.
The good news (for Mark Zuckerberg anyway) is you can still use paid social advertising to reach large audiences. But just because you’re shelling out cash to get into people’s social feeds, that doesn’t mean creativity can be an afterthought. With the majority of today’s digital audience being on mobile, the attention span and window of opportunity to capture your prospects is even smaller. Without “thumb-stopping” content, your ads will be quickly scrolled past. Eye-catching visuals are especially important at this stage of the game, with strong copywriting behind it.
Promotion and distribution of your content is arguably the most important part of the entire process, so if your company has an in-house marketing department, make sure they are well-versed in digital advertising. If not, consider outsourcing to a reputable agency with expertise in the area to make sure your content reaches the audience that will appreciate it most and your creative efforts pay off!