Who decides if your content is good? (Hint: It’s not you.)

Obviously, the quality of your content is ultimately gauged by your consumers in the number of likes, shares, comments, discussions, and most importantly, conversions.

If your recent blog article didn’t get the traction you’d hoped for, it may be easy to fix.

Here are 3 ways you can revamp your posts today that will give you better results.

1. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Traditional media such as newspapers and magazines have known how to do this since their inception, and you need to approach your content development the same way. You want compelling, snappy, and perhaps, controversial headlines. 

Years ago, I heard the editor of Texas Monthly give a presentation about how they measured the success or failure of their print magazine by how much hate mail they received!

The lesson here is that people respond in fewer numbers when they like something (although the “like button” has changed that somewhat), and will drop what they’re doing to respond to something they disagree with. If you’re not comfortable stirring up controversy, just keep in mind the idea that you want to spur discussion—that gets the job done as well.

2. Visual appeal. We used to design magazine layouts on the “refrigerator journalism” principle referring to eye engaging layouts that lead the reader through the piece, compelling the reader to rip the page out and put on the refrigerator. Even though it’s hard to clip your computer screen to the fridge, the same concepts apply:

  • Use pull quotes that draw the eye through the piece
  • Use headers to break up text blocks. Unless I’m really, really interested in a piece, I’m not reading heavy text articles—I’m scanning them to get the idea and read further only those sections that I’m interested in. 
  • Use multi-media such as videos and infographics that further convey your message
  • Use bold and italics to emphasis phrases. (This used to be a no-no in the print world, but it sure works in digital mediums, and I like things that work!)
  • Use lists and bullet points. Consider bolding every other line. See how that draws your attention?

People scan articles more than they used to, so make it easy for them to do exactly that.

3. Place a conversion mechanism on all free content. It could be a webinar registration or link to an in-depth article, report, or white paper. Surveys and quizzes with a big payoff at the end work well— (I’m a Superhero!)

BONUS TIP: Plan your distribution mechanisms. In the print world, we used the US Post office. In the digital world, it’s email and social media. Make compelling comments and ask questions about the post—the more thought provoking, the better. And don’t forget to share your content with the people that work at your company—give them some ideas about how to share in their networks.

Remember, content marketing is not a new concept by any means—we used to call it custom publishing. It worked then, and it works even better now because of the tools at our disposal allow us to reach a broader range of niche audiences. The posts also remain on your website for people to find over and over. In fact, Hubspot recently said that as much as 75 to 90 percent of their leads come from old posts.

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