- 1 How To Write Killer Content That People Actually Read
- 2 Five Incredible Steps to Writing Killer Content
- 3 Step 5) Here’s What Your Readers Will Like About Your Content
- 3.1 1. Your Writing Style
- 3.2 2. Make your content actionable and easy to read
- 3.3 3. Use relevant images and captions to confirm your message
- 3.4 4. The Secret of Bulleted Lists
- 3.5 5. Warning: Format your text with caution
- 3.6 6. Why you want to add highly relevant links
- 3.7 7. Don’t think your anchor text is not important
- 3.8 8. What else you need to do before you publish your work
How To Write Killer Content That People Actually Read
Are you wondering why certain articles or blog posts you are reading on the web have an abundance of comments and feedbacks while yours only make a handful? I understand your frustration, especially when your article is so much better than theirs.
Is there a “secret formula” others use that makes their content read, sentence after sentence, to the very end of the article, and most importantly, all the way to the anchor text which may include an interesting offer?
Certainly not a secret formula, but there are time-tested and proven techniques all the great copywriters use.
How are they able to grab the interest of the reader to read the article? Let’s shed some light on this issue; shall we?
Five Incredible Steps to Writing Killer Content
Step 1) Write Your Headline and Sub Headers First!
You have the basic idea for your article, post or website page and are ready to rock-and-roll. But not so fast. Writing the Headline and Sub Headers first will give you the benefit of keeping your content well-structured.
There are TWO very compelling reasons to do so:
- A seminal web usability study from 1997 indicated that 79 Percent of web users scan rather than read
- It is a well known fact, that on average 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only TWO out of TEN will continue to read your article.
I have to agree with that. When I search the web and don’t see right away that the particular page is indeed what I am looking for, I just go away to the next search result, because I am an impatient searcher. You are most likely doing the same. But what really will keep us on a page is THE HEAD LINE.
Let me talk about the POWER of HEAD LINES for a short minute. Why are people spending their money on weekly tabloids like the National Enquirer while waiting in line to check out their groceries?
Headlines like these:
NAKED “SUPER-HUMAN” CANNIBAL FATTIE SHOT DEAD BY COPS!
- NBC ROCKED BY ADULTERY SHOCKER!
- WAR OF THE WAHLBERGS
- SCARY SKINNY ANGIE HOOKED ON A BIRD-BRAIN DIET
- WORLD EXCLUSIVE! CHER’s “MEXICAN STAND-OFF” WITH SON ELIJAH BLUE!
- THE NIGHT OSCAR WINNER GIG YOUNG MURDERED HIS WIFE AND THEN BLEW HIS BRAINS OUT
And that is the Secret of Headlines and Sub Headers and the reason you should write them first. I will show you how you can learn to write magnetic and eye catching Headers in just a moment.
Step 2) Don’t Be Afraid To Cheat
WOW, I really said it! But it’s not what you would expect. You see, all the great and famous copywriters are looking for inspiration at those “killer headlines” from the past. We call it “cheat sheets”, however, insiders call these compilations “swipe-files” which can be easily found on the web. (search clues: “best one hundred ads”, “swipe files for header” or similar}
It’s not really cheating, but the way it is practiced. Naturally, you would not use the exact wording of a very successful ad campaign, per se, but you could use the format used to write your own quality headline.
Especially when starting out and not yet having a deep understanding of what works, these tested templates will improve your headlines and sub headers a lot. Before moving on to Step 3, I want to show you a typical example of an award winning ad header.
The famous advertising guru David Ogilvy knew the power of headlines, and he rewrote this now legendary headline 104 times to make sure the advertisement would be read. This is what he came up with:
This ad is an excellent testimony to the American Writers & Artists teaching of The Four U’s approach to writing headlines:
Headlines and sub headers should:
- Be USEFUL to the reader,
- Provide him with a sense of URGENCY,
- Convey the idea that the main benefit is somehow UNIQUE; and
- Do all of the above in an ULTRA-SPECIFIC way.
Step 3) Know and Understand the Different Header Categories
Bob Bly in his “The Copywriter’s Handbook“ introduces eight time-tested categories which I will list without going too deep into details. If you are serious about becoming a very successful post writer or blogger, I recommend you check out his book.
- Direct Headlines like “Levi’s Jeans – 40 Percent Off
- Indirect Headlines (often with a double meaning) that arouse curiosity, what the content body will contain
- The How To Headline we all know so well and is often times misused by the so called Internet Gurus (How to make One Million Dollars Overnight)
- The Command Headline sees, ah, oh well, my header “Write Content That People Actually Read” or Eccon’s famous and now old “Put a Tiger in Your Tank”
- Reason Why Headline where your content text consists of a numbered list (Hint: look at my sub header “Five Incredible Steps to Writing Killer Content) without using the obvious “x-number reasons why………”
- A News Headline is self-explanatory
- The Testimonial Headline (between Quotation Marks) lets the reader know that there will be a testimonial in the body text. For example: “My post ranks Number One in Google because…”
- The Question Headline must not just ask a simple question, it also must entice the reader to look for the answer in the body of your post. One good example, according to Mr. Bly would be “Who Else Wants to Get Rich Online?”
Step 4) How You Can Learn The Art Of Headline Writing
Always learn from the best. Earlier I mentioned David Ogilvy, by many hailed as the “Father of Advertising” and his ability to catch the attention of millions with his headlines. Besides the Rolls Royce header, his legendary work included phrases like:
- The man from Schweppes is here (which brought Schweppes and “Schweppervescence” to the USA)
- Pablo Casals is coming home – to Puerto Rico
- Only Dove is one-quarter moisturizing cream
- “I was in awe of him, but Bevan never took notice of me!” (Referring to the pioneer of British advertising). These THIRTEEN WORDS would have made an awful header for an ad campaign; don’t you agree?
But his success did not come easily. By his own admittance, at the beginning he struggled mightily to find clients. I strongly advise you to download and read his book “Confessions of an Advertising Man” (PDF format and free), which shows you a bunch of headline phrases, not only those responsible for his success, but also those that failed miserably.
Use other sources: You will get a lot of useful information on the Internet. Don’t hesitate in incorporating time-proven and successful ways into your workplace. One really great source you should explore is my.copyblogger.com
It is absolutely free to become a member and you will be able to download e-books with an abundance of essential information. As a footnote: I added 13 of their e-books to my library and use them almost on a daily basis.
OK, enough about Headlines and Sub Headers, let’s get rolling with the body of your article, post or website page.
Step 5) Here’s What Your Readers Will Like About Your Content
1. Your Writing Style
Write for your readers and not for the search engines. Forget all about keywords; they are already in your Title, your Headline and maybe in a Sub Header. Write naturally and in a casual tone. Always address your reader. Don’t “tell”, rather “show” your important message.
2. Make your content actionable and easy to read
Breaking up more complex content underneath a sub header is simple to manage. Just use the line break and to make it more reader-friendly. There is nothing more exhausting than a full page of text without a breather.
Images are another way to keep your reader interested. Apply a meaningful “deep caption”, two to three sentences long, to your images. Studies have shown that people actually look at images and captions are consistently some of the most-read part of a page.
4. The Secret of Bulleted Lists
- They look different and provide a visual break
- They provide an easy path for the reader to scan your items
- You can keep your text short
5. Warning: Format your text with caution
Bolding important text is a great way to let your user know that this is important. But be sparse with it, otherwise it loses the desired outcome.
I am sure you would like to keep your visitor on your website reading more of your impressive writings or even bookmark your site and come back more often.
Providing external links will strongly improve the rating your visitor will give you. You prove that you indeed researched the topic of your article and prove that you deliver content of value.
7. Don’t think your anchor text is not important
Your article is not like a book or a movie with a “set ending”. Don’t leave your reader hanging with no place to go to. Guide him to where YOU want him to go next, It may be another important piece you wrote, or to the place where you make your money at.
Provide a clear call to action. Ask your visitor to leave a comment or come back again. Try to ascertain if he needs help of any kind and offer your assistance. Post your contact info clearly and provide your e-mail address.
8. What else you need to do before you publish your work
OK, you had a great idea for an article, did your keyword research, worked very hard on the Headline and Sub Headers, wrote a very impressive content, applied all the techniques you have learned and are, finally, ready to publish your work of art.
Before you do that though, READ your article again – concentrating on the text alone. Look at it from your reader’s perspective. Did he really get what you tried to give? Are your words strong enough making a “scanner” a “real reader”. If you think so, go ahead and hit the publish button. Congratulations, Good work.
Conclusion: Guide To Writing Killer Content
Danny Iny, nicknamed “The Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, said very eloquently:
“Find a system and work that system”
It is up to you finding the system that works for you. My guide is providing you with the starting point for YOUR system to success. They say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” but it’s never too late for us to learn.
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