Are you tired of writing the same ol’ how-to articles and customer success stories? If so, guess what? Your audience is probably tired of reading them, too.
It’s easy to get stuck in a content rut when time is of the essence, and all you’re trying to do is keep up. But if your content doesn’t engage your audience, then let’s face it: It really doesn’t matter if you get it out there on time or not, because no one is reading it anyway.
Instead, take five to think about new ways to approach your content — and attract readers/viewers. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider.
DO consider a quiz.
Rather than serving up your messaging in a narrative format, engage readers with an interactive piece. True/false, multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank quizzes can pull readers in and give them information at the same time.
DON’T be afraid to gamify it.
When there are opportunities to play and win, people will forget they are learning. They forget that they are being marketed to. Think about how you could turn your content into a word search, crossword puzzle or scavenger hunt. There are awesome apps to help you do that.
DO go for a nerd chart.
Sometimes the best way to convey a message is with less copy and more graphics. Instead of writing a 1,200-word article detailing all the ways exercise benefits the body, show an illustration of a person with arrows pointing to all the parts of the body exercise is good for. Just one or two sentences about the heart, muscles, skin, lungs, joints, balance, etc., can communicate as much information as a narrative. And they’re fun to read.
DON’T forget the myth/fact approach.
These days misinformation (and outright lies) spreads like wildfire on the internet. If you’re writing on a topic that’s controversial, consider taking the myth/fact approach to help clear up misconceptions.
Earlier this year, I worked with a health system on a campaign to encourage folks to get the COVID-19 vaccine. While we focused mostly on education, positive messaging and everyone’s desire to return to normal, we recognized that a segment of our audience had already heard — and believed — false information about the vaccine and were understandably fearful about getting it. Rather than just hoping our content would prevail, we decided to tackle the misconceptions head-on with a myth/fact article that ended up getting a lot of traction.
DO offer up a listicle.
There’s a reason magazine racks and social media are filled with articles promising “The Top 5 Ways to Do X” and “37 Things You Need to Buy Before Breakfast …” People read them. They also share them. So think about how you might “listify” an upcoming article. You can even recast customer success stories and doctor intros into listicles, as in: “4 Ways Techtropolis Improved Target-Mart’s Supply Chain,” and “7 Secrets You Need to Know About Dr. D’good.”
DON’T underestimate the power of a good do/don’t article.
You didn’t really think we’d leave this one out. Did you? Admit it, you enjoyed reading this piece. And if you did, please DO comment below and tell us your favorite article constructions.