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13 Proven Ways to Write Content Your Audience Wants

13 Proven Ways to Write Content Your Audience Wants

Your readers are telling you which type of content they want… 

By looking back at your biggest successes, you can identify the commonalities among your most popular content and craft future content to match these qualities. Here are some important takeaways to consider when trying to attract and engage an audience with your blog, based on our own lessons learned…

Lessons Learned from Our 5 Most Popular Posts 

I took an in-depth look at our most popular blog posts over the last 6 months in order to pinpoint what resonated the most with our audience. Was it the headline? The topic of the content? A high number of social shares? A single influencer sharing the post? Is it always a combination of all these factors? Below are my findings…

The Secrets Behind Content With 10,000+ SharesThe Secrets Behind Content With 10,000+ Shares

  • Comments: 51
  • Tweets: 542
  • Facebook Likes: 126
  • LinkedIn Shares: 199

Lesson #1: Give Away Insider Info

Any time you are offering “secrets,” people are going to notice and be curious about what you know that they don’t — especially when it involves a topic that your company is known for being at the forefront of. Build credibility by offering secrets and lessons you have learned.

Lesson #2: Deliver on Your Title

It’s no wonder this post received the most tweets out of our 5 most popular posts: not only did the title make it hard to resist clicking, but more importantly, it delivered on the title. Don’t trick your blog visitors: always back up what you promise in your title.

13 Ways to Make Idea Generation a Daily Habit

  • Comments: 57
  • Tweets: 392
  • Facebook Likes: 96
  • LinkedIn Shares: 140

Lesson #3: Offer Multiple, Simple Solutions to Your Readers’ Challenges

No matter what industry you are in, everyone wants to have the biggest and best new idea. This post not only appeals to a wide audience, but also offers a finite number of ways, illustrating that idea generation is not a mystery but can be achieved with some easy habits. Additionally, this post saw a surge in comments since many readers were compelled to offer their own tips for idea generation.

The Type of Content That Google Will Never Devalue

The Type of Content That Google Will Never Devalue

  • Comments: 36
  • Tweets: 335
  • Facebook Likes: 44
  • LinkedIn Shares: 33

Lesson #4: Give Your Perspective on Current Trends and News 

When you can respond quickly to an industry issue, your post is bound to gain comments and shares. In response to an individual interview on the value of infographics, this post addressed the issue and offered a more in-depth analysis. Would it have done better if the post was more controversial? Maybe. But when you’re a thought leader in an industry, it is your duty to be at the forefront and respond to better the industry, not to stir up controversy just to attract attention.

21 Tools to Unlock Your Creative Genius

  • Comments: 37
  • Tweets: 449
  • Facebook Likes: 129
  • LinkedIn Shares: 133

Lesson #5: Appeal to a Wide Audience

Although aimed at individuals looking to create fresh new content, anyone who is stuck in any sort of creative rut could be drawn to a post like this. Your industry’s challenges and frustrations most likely overlap with those of a wider group of people, consider how you can cover topics that appeal to an audience beyond your niche.

Lesson #6: Get Readers Involved with a Call-to-Action

In addition, it offers an interesting story behind the post (obviously not just thrown together in a day) and a call-to-action. Including a call-to-action is a great way to further engage your audience and make them more invested in your content.

And the most successful post…

6 Reasons Why You Should Quit Blogging

6 Reasons Why You Should Quit Blogging
  • Comments: 92
  • Tweets: 427
  • Facebook Likes: 204
  • LinkedIn Shares: 49

Lesson #7:  Bait & Switch

This post’s title about quitting blogging sparked a lot of intrigue and interest. Then, you take a closer look and see it’s actually about why you should probably not stop blogging. Grab your audience’s attention with something controversial or against conventional wisdom, then surprise them! Tip: use this method sparingly. Your readers will come to expect it if overused and it will be less effective. 

What Successful Titles Have in Common

Without a great headline, you’ll struggle to get people interested enough to click through and actually read your post. Here’s a sampling of some of our most popular posts during the last year.

Do you notice any common elements in these titles?

Tried and True Formulas for Crafting Irresistible Titles

Here’s a list of what makes the above titles so intriguing (and no doubt contributed to the posts’ popularity), and how you can use these same elements to write your own compelling titles…

1. Pose a question

Posing a question gets people thinking — it’s most likely a question they have thought about at some point but have not quite done the necessary footwork to get it properly answered. Once someone reads the question, they are almost always going to want to open your post to see the answer.

2. How To…

Most people are looking for quick fixes and can follow easy directions, so why not give them some? Show your readers “how to” solve their problems, master a certain skill, or uncover a new way of doing something. The simpler you can illustrate something, the more your readers will appreciate it.

3. Quantify

Don’t just create a vague list, give your audience specific examples by using numbers. Offering a finite number of a list or directions also makes the goal more attainable for your audience. Whether it is ““16 Simple Changes…” or ““6 Influential Bloggers,” it gives your audience something concrete to aim for and accomplish.

4. Offer a guide, tools, secrets or lessons

One of the best ways to grab their attention and engage your audience is to share your experiences and offer insights to what you learned. When you personally have a story and want to share ways others can benefit from it, you can also gain credibility and trust from your audience. Your audience wants to read something they haven’t read before, and nothing is more authentic than the personal secrets, tools or lessons you have learned along the way.

5. Hot topics

Another (not so secretive) takeaway from these popular titles is that they involve Google, Facebook, Pinterest and Reddit (all topics our audience cares about!). Look into the latest SEO and social media trends to offer your own perspective for your audience to consider. When it comes to popular and current topics, your readers are eager to hear your point of view and insights.

6. Mention a specific group of people

Notice that many of our popular posts have titles that are very specific about who should read them: one is a “Content Marketer’s Guide…”, another is  for men using Pinterest, and another is for people with Facebook pages for their business. Make it clear in your title who your content is targeted at, and watch those people show up in droves.

Conclusion

Auditing your past content wins and failures every few months can help guide your blog strategy. If you can pinpoint why certain certain content resonated with your audience, you’ll be able to generate better ideas and also anticipate which blog posts will perform best in the future.

What has your successful content taught you about your audience? How do you incorporate these lessons into your blog strategy? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Comments

  1. Adam Singer says:

    Cool post — you guys should really add visitors to each post here to show the whole story — otherwise, it’s just engagement data.

    • Amanda Eichmann says:

      Thanks Adam, glad you enjoyed it! Great tip, we will look into it.

  2. Jason Nelson says:

    Good write up and it’s no mistake that beyond the title, the articles had some neat examples, visuals, and real meat to them. Be sure to use “Mistakes” in a post title in the near future :)

    • Amanda Eichmann says:

      Thanks Jason! No doubt the posts definitely had some great content and ‘meat’ to them. When I was putting this post together, it was just the titles that were getting my attention the most. They were unique from other posts, but very similar to each other. I wanted to get the message across that something as simple as paying closer attention to your title can definitely help, but you’re right, you gotta have the ‘meat’ inside to really engage your audience!

  3. Amanda,

    that’s a very good article. I am going to Skype it to our 2 inhouse copywriters, David Bosley and Tatyana Levin tomorrow, when I am at work. Have you been to SES?

    Slava

    • Amanda Eichmann says:

      Hi Slava, thanks for reading! I have not made it to SES yet. I hope your copywriters enjoy it as well. Evaluation and feedback are crucial components of any content creation; it was very interesting taking the time to dive deeper in our posts to really analyze and understand what was happening. While I was most intrigued by the titles, the quality of the content in the posts cannot be ignored as well. Being able to learn from the past and adapt is so important in this industry.

  4. Ayaz says:

    HI,

    Great post and certainly if you are blogging keeping in mind the point to provide the solution for the problems of the site readers and that’s the best way of promoting the site. This is the other great way of building the online authority.

  5. James Piper says:

    Excellent article Amanda! I am currently creating an article about marketing on Reddit, what do you think of the following title –

    The Value of Reddit and the Secret of Getting There

    Feedback?

    Best,
    James

    • Amanda Eichmann says:

      Hi James, glad you liked it! Without seeing the article, I think a stronger title would be: X Secrets to Making Reddit Work For You or A Marketer’s Guide to Understanding the Value of Reddit. That way, you are either giving a concrete list of examples or targeting your specific audience.
      Another great resource is to help you out is: http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/
      Good Luck!

  6. Awesome list, love it.

    Don’t forget – “10 things your accountant / graphic designer / social media consultant doesn’t want you to know”

    Fin :)

    • Amanda Eichmann says:

      Thanks Fin- glad you liked it! Great suggestion- a title like that is sure to grab your audience’s attention. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Swamykant says:

    Excellent articles.. I too learnt many things from your popular posts.

    Thanks for sharing the tips.

    • Amanda Eichmann says:

      Thanks Swamykant- glad you are enjoying our blog! Hope you find these tips useful.

  8. John says:

    Good article you mention some very useful point in very good way.

    • Amanda Eichmann says:

      Hello John, thank you. The goal was to turn the information I found into something that was easy to put into action and as useful as possible, glad you enjoyed it.

  9. Jane says:

    I personally feel that “How-tos” are overrated; but they surely do work. Even though there are numerous How tos, the ones that serve the purpose and deliver the value as promised (in the headline) make it to the top of readers minds (and as well as in the SERPs).

    • Amanda Eichmann says:

      Thanks for the comment Jane. I think it’s important to remember that no matter how you decide to catch the attention of your audience, the content will perform best if it is high quality and relevant once you dive into it (and delivers the value promised- as you mentioned).

  10. Matthew says:

    Great post. It doesn’t get stuck at the title itself but carries the momentum ahead in the whole article as well. Nice read. Steady and informative. Keep up the good posts :)

  11. Link Park says:

    I have to spend much time to finish good posts. It was very fond of taking the time to dive deeper in our posts to really analyze and understand what occurred.