The Captivating Power Of Amazing Short Blog Posts

Short blog posts can be good.

Why Short Blog Posts Are Cool

This goes against a lot of common advice.  Longer blogposts (above 2,000 words!) drive more traffic. And from an SEO perspective, this is true.

But: Short pieces of content have their place in blogging and content production in general. The cornerstone of blogging success is value – not wordcount. And while in general longer posts may drive more traffic, this is not always true!

Why? Because short form also has a lot of advantages:

  • Good short posts get to the point faster
  • Short pieces are easier to consume – this is blogging, not scientific research
  • Short pieces (with value!) often work better on social media
  • Do you need to blog more often? Short posts take less time.

Can I Back This With Data?

In this case, the data is so openly available that I am surprised this doesn’t get mentioned in the blogosphere more often:

Take clickbait sites – let’s go for Upworthy and Buzzfeed:

These sites drive incredible amounts of traffic through social media. Their content is optimized for social. Take this Upworthy post for instance: https://www.upworthy.com/republicans-and-democrats-should-never-forget-what-paul-ryan-just-said-about-the-poor?c=pop

This is long for Upworthy… 700 words. It was in Upworthy’s most shared posts this week, over 7,000 shares. (Contrary to popular belief clickbait sites are bringing value in their posts – that is exactly why they are getting so much traffic!)

Want more data? Here are the Alexa ranks for Upworthy and Buzzfeed:

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The Problem: Value per Word

This is not an excuse for creating many short posts that bring little value.

Focus on value per word.

Creating short posts that still bring loads of value to readers is a craft – an it needs to be practiced. Which is why so few recommend short posts.

Value per word is harder to achieve than increasing your word count. You will have to write slower than usual – you will have to think about how to best get your point across, how to shorten your sentences while not losing meaning.

But most audiences will accept short and long form content. The real question is how much value you are giving. And value per word is actually harder to produce in a long post. Producing very long posts with very little information won’t help you.

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7 Super Tips for Creating Powerful Infographics

With the rise of the “visual web,” content marketing is becoming more image-centric.

As we embrace this trend of marketing without words and communicating visually, infographics have become one of the most effective ways to share your message, establish authority and drive traffic and shares across social platforms.

Not merely restricted to Pinterest, infographics are proving to be a powerhouse form of content marketing for businesses across a range of industries, with the most popular infographic topics being technology, business, social media, economics and health

But what makes for a knockout infographic? What elements need to come together in order for it to get shared, and drive quality traffic back to your website?

This infographic from Socially Sorted highlights seven elements, or “superpowers,” to consider when planning, creating and sharing infographics that get shared and drive traffic on the visual web.

Click to Enlarge+

7 Super Tips for Creating Powerful Infographics

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Storytelling 101: 3 Tips for Creating Compelling Content Marketing

Be it a feature film, a 30-second commercial, or a tweet, there’s no denying the impact of content that captures the attention of an audience and genuinely engages them.

There’s nothing better than a good story–whether delivered over a pint at the pub, from a 60-inch flat screen in front of the sofa, or viewed on your phone while waiting in line at the grocery store. Good stories suck you in with characters who face gripping challenges. Whether it’s a movie, a book, a Vine, or a 30-second commercial, a great story pays off in a satisfying way by hitting straight to your audience’s hearts and minds. But let’s face it: If storytelling was easy, we’d all be dashing off great American novels. Getting to that “simple” story isn’t simple.

Certainly, content marketing presents a good framework for delivering valuable information to audiences and tacitly reinforcing companies’ value to them in the process. However, it can be incredibly difficult for organizations to move away from selling features and price and instead focusing on the softer sell (or even no-sell) of creating a compelling and engaging tale that conveys why your consumer should buy, read, engage with your brand. That can be the real genius of content marketing. There is no denying the impact of content that captures the attention of an audience and genuinely engages them.

Here are three tips that will elevate your content marketing from textbook to must-read:

1. Introduce us to a hero.The vast majority of products and services are intended for use by people. And people like to read about people. While cars are pretty fascinating machines, for example, the story of a dad mastering the carpool with the savvy of a professional racecar driver is one that is instantly relatable. Create a character that the members of your audience understand, aspire to be, or would love to meet, and you can create a near-instant connection that will pull them into your story.

2. Set the stakes.It is likely that your product or service is intended to solve a problem of some sort. Perhaps you don’t think of it as a “problem,” but maybe you should. All great stories include a conflict that the hero must overcome. While your product might not disarm a bomb before the bus explodes, you need to think like your customer and figure out what’s at stake (and how you can help prevent imminent disaster!). A harried single mom has two kids and no insurance, but you are there to help her quickly, easily keep her family safe. No need to sell your audience on why you are better than the rest. Instead, hook your audience with a plot that matters.

3. Pay off.

There is nothing more frustrating than falling in love with a character, fighting alongside as he or she battles through 300 pages or a couple of hours of plot, and then pfffffft, the story fizzles out with a trite ending or, worse, no ending at all. If you’ve captured the attention of your audience, do not waste their time, even if they’re reading a 500-word blog post or watching a one-minute informational video. Bachelor Brad finds his dream pad on the beach but finds himself out of his depth on décor. Your website offers tools that let him upload photos and see how furniture will look, and customer support provides great advice filled with humor. Brad ends up with not only the pad of his dreams, but also has an epic housewarming and gets the surfer girl, too. Deliver an ending that satisfies and, along the way, demonstrates the value of your products or services to your audience.

You might not view your business as the stuff of blockbuster ads, much less major motion pictures. However, when you think about your customers as real people with real problems–catastrophic or mundane–and the way your product can help them, you will begin to see the stories in your work. Tell those stories, and you’ll create great content marketing.

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Image Credit: Getty Images


Why Storytelling Is So Important for Successful Content Marketing

Storytelling Should Be the Foundation of Every Content Marketing Strategy.

Why are the commercials of famous brands like Coca-Cola, Johnnie Walker, and Mercedes Benz so successful? Their large budgets certainly set a nice foundation for success, but that’s not all. If you look at the ads for each of these companies very carefully, you’ll notice a universal feature in the most successful promotional campaigns: they all tell a story.

People are attracted to stories from an early age. There is a reason why parents teach valuable lessons through this method–stories are engaging and they capture the attention of the listener from the beginning to the very end. And this is exactly why storytelling is such a powerful content marketing tool. It holds the attention of the audience.

Why Storytelling Should Be the Foundation of Every Content Marketing Strategy

1. Stories share a real experience. Instead of listing the benefits of your products and services with a large piece of text, you can inform your audience about the way they will benefit from your offer through a story. Everyone wants to hear about other people’s experiences before purchasing a particular product or service. When you base your content marketing efforts on stories, your potential customers will get something more than features and facts. They will understand why they need your product and they will be ready to take the action you suggest.

2. Storytelling makes you unique. Your products and services have unique features, but the thing that will really distinguish you from your competitors is your story. You’ve certainly seen Coca-Cola’s New Year’s commercials–they’re memorable and unique because they look like a fairy tale. When you add an unexpected twist to the content you produce, your audience will remember your brand and think of it whenever they need the services or products you offer.

3. Storytelling adds a human element to your content. Customers don’t want to be friends with your business; however, when you infuse a human element into your content marketing efforts, they will feel like they know the characters. They also share the same problems and want the same solutions, so your brand becomes an attractive choice when they see how other people use it.

4. Stories awaken empathy. If you don’t have a story that goes with your brand, then you’re just another business. Every marketer should have a goal to develop an emotional connection with his or her audience. You want to make people feel something, so they will be ready to take action as soon as they read one of your texts, watch a video, listen to a podcast, or access any other type of content you produce.

5. Storytelling doesn’t sound ‘salesy.’ “Buy this product because it’s the best one on the market–plus it’s affordable and it has great features.” That statement sounded very dry and unconvincing, right? Taking a “salesy” approach is the most common mistake that marketers make. When you promote your brand through a story, you’re not trying to convince the audience to buy your products, you’re just sharing an experience and leaving the decision to them. Customers will be much happier to make a purchase when they feel like they are the ones making the choice.

How to Master the Art of Storytelling

Consider storytelling as a way to add meaning to the information you want to introduce to your audience. All the features and advantages of your product are important, so you want potential customers to understand them without reading factual information in the form of product description.

Here are few tips that will help you develop the perfect content marketing story:

1. Make it relevant. It’s impossible to think of one story that would appeal to every single person on the planet. Instead, narrow down your focus to your target audience. What problems does your buyer persona face? How can you turn that ideal customer into a character of your story? How can you present the solution in the most compelling manner? All these questions are important in developing a storytelling strategy.

2. Turn storytelling into a strategic approach. One way to incorporate storytelling into your content marketing is to share a different experience with every piece of content you produce. One way to do this is to share the stories of real users. However, for a really unique approach, you need to turn your story into a strategy. When target audience is emotionally connected to the characters, you’ll be able to grow that story further.

3. Base your story on the belief system of your audience. When you want to convince your target customers that your products and services fit into their lifestyle, you need to take their belief system into consideration. If, for example, you’re promoting an energy drink, you can associate the story with fast driving, adventure sports, fitness, and other activities that would fit into the lifestyle of this category of customers.

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7 Copywriting Tips That Will Instantly Lower Your Bounce Rates.

There are many tricks copywriters use when writing good quality content for business.

These tips are proven to increase engagement, lower bounce rates, and keep your customers coming back for more.

Tip #1: Meet and greet

As a copywriter, I avoid the words “Welcome to this business.”

These are words that take up valuable space that can be better used for other words or visuals.

Here are some over-the-top examples that could appeal to a younger generation:

  • Get ready to shout from the rooftops, as you’re a second away from discovering your next BFF.
  • Add us to your little black book now, as you’ll be coming back, again and again and again. Let’s get started, shall we?
  • Why, hello there. What great taste you have. We won’t waste your time. This is what we think you’ll like.

Of course, if your tone of voice is more formal, you may choose to welcome them with a line such as, “We’re delighted you’ve found our website, as we are here to enhance your day and make your world a little better. See exactly how we aim to do this here.”

You can also begin with a slider or an image.

A 500-word homepage doesn’t cut it anymore.

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Tip #2: Consider the scanner

If you do use a great deal of copy on the homepage, you’re likely to lose the scanner, a person who doesn’t read the content thoroughly.

The scanner follows looks at a page like this:

  • Top Left Corner – This is why you always see a telephone number for service providers here
  • Top Right Corner – Usually reserved for the logo that links back to the homepage
  • Middle – When reading the copy in the middle, the scanner will read the first and last sentences of a paragraph and sometimes only the first and last words of each sentence.
  • Bottom Right – The bottom right usually has a call-to-action (CTA) or a lead to another page to continue the journey.

What about the bottom left? What about it? When did you last look at the bottom left of a webpage?

I didn’t think so.

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Tip #3: Realize that it’s not about ‘them’

I always suggest using the second person when writing copy for businesses. It’s not “them”; it’s “you.”

“Thank you for visiting our website,” not “We’d like to thank our customers for visiting our website.” The second person draws a visitor in, creates a feeling of false intimacy and makes the reader feel welcome.

Tip #4: Get rid of that stiff upper lip

I advise strongly against using corporate copy, even on a corporate website, since it creates a divide and adds a formality that doesn’t encourage a bonding relationship. At best, it can make some visitors feel superior, for having landed on a website only Mensa members can understand. At worst, it alienates the visitors.

If the average person needs a dictionary to translate your copy, you’ve lost multiple sales already.

Every business should make a visitor feel valued, clever, welcomed, special, unique, and intelligent. In my opinion, corporate copy does the opposite of this.

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Tip #5: Make it a worthwhile conversation

The best websites make visitors feel as though they’re conversing. You need to adopt a conversational tone when writing copy for your website.

Think of your most interesting friend, the friend that can say a sentence in two words. That’s the type of voice you need your copy to have.

Tip #6: Keep ’em coming back

It’s amazing, but true, that when writing copy for business websites, some businesses forget about their current, most loyal customers. Their focus is almost always on generating new customers, rather than keeping the ones they already have.

The majority of visitors to your website will be repeat customers, and they want to feel rewarded for returning, not ignored because they’re not brand new.

You can reward current customers, while still enticing new ones, by showing off loyalty bonuses on the homepage.

A slider is great to use this way.

Your goal is to be interesting and inviting enough to appease existing customers and entice new ones.

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Tip #7: Borrow from Hollywood

A great website will lead customers on a journey until they’re absolutely convinced they should sign up, buy a product, or make a telephone call. This journey eliminates buyers’ concerns surrounding post purchase regrets, and ensures your customers are always happy to come back for more.

Great Hollywood directors are also incredible at creating a journey that keeps engagement at maximum levels throughout entire films.

There’s a Hollywood rule that says interest starts to wane about 16 minutes into a film. This is when there needs to be some action or plot turn used to retain interest.

You can use this information to your advantage by guiding the user through you your website, and looking for ways to add value to every step of their journey. Maybe you can add value by presenting them with a special offer at one point in their journey, and a unique piece of content at another point. However you add value to the user journey, make certain that you elicit a response of some sort.

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