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Chronicle

The Most Read Content Rulebook - Killer content to win over regular readers

Posted: 10 June 2015

Every day another three million blog posts join the content party. Yep, that's a tidal wave of content for readers to surf. It's obviously pretty darn great that brands and businesses can easily and creatively get their word out there to the masses but with great power comes great responsibility. Whether you're a seasoned pro or nifty novice, creating content that can cut through the noise and gain you a dedicated readership is one tricky task.

You see it’s not good enough to just get your content out there, you need to aim for that ‘Most Read’ status. If you’re not aiming to engage, offer value and entertain, why bother writing anything at all? Too many folks see content as a one dimensional box to be ticked, a necessary ingredient for social success. The truth is that what you put out into the world can’t afford to be poorly planned or shoddily written. Bad content = a bad first impression and we all know you can rarely recover from that.

The Rulebook Rundown - Most Read success is five tips away

So, why is it the be all and end all to be a ‘Most Read’ content producer? Well, in short you need to strive for this when it comes to all your content endeavours. It’s not just about social shares and quick hit numbers. Good content marketers know how to play the long game, they get that every post is part of a massive strategy that’s all about creating a readership.

Why aim to have a series of odd engagers who may or may not check out your latest post when you can have an army of committed followers who read your content religiously? A ‘Most Read’ post doesn’t just mean you have a nice chunky number to flaunt; it’s all about associating value and consistency with your brand. Something you can do with the right Rulebook savvy behind you!

Rule #1 - Know your audience

Chances are you’ve heard this tip more than a few times but do you really take the time to explore the whole spectrum? If you’re a corporate bigwig you could think that your ideal readership are like-minded professionals who work in your industry - What about the entrepreneurs? What about your staff? What about your competitors? It’s easy to alienate potential readers by getting too hung up on who your dream readers could be. The broader an audience understanding you have, the more opportunity there is to display every facet of your brand. You see each audience group wants something different from your content - advice, information, thought leadership, entertainment etc. And it’s only when you know those audiences that you can target your content.  Don’t be narrow minded or presumptuous about where you content could go. Do you research and measure and monitor its receival. This info shapes everything you write and post.

Rule #2 - Study structure

Yes anyone can write a blog but not everyone one is readable. There’s more to a good post than a great topic, cool visual and funny style. Readability transforms a bog standard post into a ‘Most Read’ diamond and structure is the secret to this success. No one wants to read a huge, rambling post that’s dry and heavy to digest. If you have a good grasp on structure you’re laughing.

  • Have a killer headline - Your posts’ success relies on this. Getting folk to read your post, or even click on the link, is tough so getting their attention quickly is key. A headline is a tempter, overview and character boost all wrapped up in one line. Master the art of headlines and you’re on the road to that ‘Most Read’ status.
  • Use breakers - Bullet points, sub headers, visuals, links, the list goes on. Play around with the different ways to make your content more impactful. This doesn’t just concern blog posts, try and mix up your entire content output to keep readers interested and invested.
  • Have a voice/style - This is structure related too. Having a style is the best way to stamp your personality on a post and make your content, well, yours. If you can develop and learn how to use your voice properly it can be a great structural tool. Be brave with it and don’t be afraid to own that personality. Consistency is content 101 so keep all your content in line with this unique voice, it’ll steer you straight.

Rule #3 - Mix it up

Content isn’t just blogs you know. Infographics, podcasts, presentations, newsletter, social media, pretty much anything you post out into the world is your content. Why stick to just blogging when you can create a Slideshare presentation on collaboration or an infographic on the latest best practice approaches? Watch and learn from your audience, what posts are they sharing and commenting on? Take your lead from them and always aim to engage in new ways. Remember, whatever form your content takes be sure to give it a clear CTA (Call to action). Don’t leave your readers hanging, give them a new avenue to explore whether it be a site link, Twitter icon or contact details.

Rule #4 - Reach out to others

Not only can a bigger content team raise your output efforts, it can shake up and increase your value. It’s hard work creating killer content and maintaining that high quality level, reach out to others that can lighten your load. Talk to your team, anyone want to write a unique blog? Anyone fancy taking over Instagram today? Get some guest bloggers on board to create the odd post too, they bring a whole other following to your doorstep while delivering expert content. Be sure to elect a curator if more than one folk is creating content. This editor/publisher is needed to proof and publish, making sure that all content is on-tone and right for your audience.

Rule #5 - Practice

It’s simple, the more you write, the better you get. Set yourself up a Trello board to store ideas and work on your content. Whether you publish or not, get into a routine of writing something at least a couple of times a week. You’ll be surprised how quickly and effectively you’ll be churning them out before long. It’s true that anyone can write but ask yourself what kind of writer you want to be.

As a content creator, you have a super small window to attract and engage a reader, let alone carve out a following, so you can’t waste your opps. There’s a tonne of ‘How to write good content’ out there but if you’re after that illustrious ‘Most Read’ title you need to get crazy serious about how you approach your wordy (and visual) offerings. It’s about more than good grammar and whacking a social media share link to your article.

Do you like this stuff? Then join over 21,000 other awesome people who get tips on improving their employer brand, recruitment, marketing and the odd spot of career advice delivered directly to their inbox from me! @markbevans

Try sharing these Twitter snippets

  • (Click to Tweet) Too many folks see content as a one dimensional box to be ticked #contentmarketing
  • (Click to Tweet) Bad content = a bad first impression and we all know you can rarely recover from that #contentmarketing
  • (Click to Tweet) Good content marketers know how to play the long game #contentmarketing
  • (Click to Tweet) Yes anyone can write a blog but not everyone is readable #contentmarketing