When it comes to crafting engaging content that connects with your audience, you must not only consider the “meat” of the content, but also the way in which it is formatted. Presentation matters when engaging your user base, and there are some critical formatting considerations to make when you create any content piece.
#1: Hook ‘Em With A Headline
Every piece of content you create should start with an engaging headline that makes the user want to click through to learn more. However, you don’t want to ever pull a bait-and-switch. How many times have you been subject to clickbait while surfing the internet? You anxiously click on a headline like, “You Won’t Believe Which Game of Thrones Actor Just Died,” only to find out it was some minor character from episode one. Tactics like this will alienate your audience. Grab their attention and make sure that any claim you make in your headline is supported by the material contained inside.
#2: Break it Up!
Think about your own online content consumption. How do you feel when you click through to an article that has no subheading; just paragraph after paragraph of text? You might stay on the page, but then again, you might click back to find something more digestible.
Subheadings don’t just break up the individual concepts in your content. They also allow the reader a path for skimming through to see if the content is truly relevant to the question they are pondering or the issue they are investigating. Make the subheadings brief, eye-catching and indicative of what the reader will find when they settle in.
#3: Interlink To Interconnect Your Concepts
This is all about context. We recommend that each content piece aim to achieve just one educational objective. However, you will want to reference related topics within each, and therefore all of your material should be linked to at least one other piece of content in your library. This helps guide users through your content, and offers them a place to quickly grab an explanation or refresher on a concept if they need it. Internal links also help you see how your strategy is shaping up, assuring you that the new content you produce aligns with previous content you have developed.
#4: Choose The Best Imagery Possible
It is essential to have an image in every piece of text-based content you create. However, the worst mistake you can make is to pull the standard “office worker sitting at a computer” free stock photo. Choose images that enhance the story in some way, and don’t be afraid to get creative. If you’re talking about investing in the oil industry, for example, resist the urge to pull photos of money or dollar signs, or investment charts. Instead, find a stunning photo of an oil rig that is more interesting to the reader.
If you have a photographer on your staff, some of the best images to use are those you take yourself. Pictures of your actual workplace, projects you’ve completed or other real-life images will really connect with your audience and add another level of authenticity to the piece.
#5: Tie It All Together
Most content creators know the importance of a strong introduction that tells the reader what they can expect to take away from the article, video, etc. But equally important (and often forgotten) is a conclusion that ties everything together and sums up the key takeaway. As you draw your conclusion, be sure that you are finding one key takeaway only. If you discover more than one, the article can be broken up into other pieces.
There is more to creating engaging content than just writing a few paragraphs in your word processing software. Content must be formatted in a way that draws people in and carries them from start to finish.