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There is no doubt that the key to the most successful websites on the web is how they create content. It doesn’t matter how long you have been online, you can always find newer and better ways to engage your readers, and build the trust factor with more and more people.
Get this right, and you can drive people into a frenzy. They will be shouting at the rooftops and sharing your content everywhere they go.
Get it wrong, and your blog will suffer a slow and painful death, looking more like a ghost town than a valuable news source that people trust.
So, I thought I would discuss 3 essential rules that I follow with my content to drive people to where I want them to go, and encourage them to take action on what I want them to do.
You have probably heard:
- Engage your readers
- Use compelling headlines
- Write in a conversational tone
- Use good grammar and spelling
And a lot of other really basic stuff.
Heck, I have written quite a few of those type of posts myself.
But, today I am going to talk about a few other techniques. These are all things you can do to create that compelling content, and usually aren’t tips you see going about the web.
In fact, some of these are the big secrets that the copywriting ebooks don’t want me to share publicly.
(Don’t run off tattling on me now…)
Use Open Loops To Build Anticipation
Way back when I was struggling, I used to pour every bit into my articles. Along the way, I learned that people weren’t doing anything with it. They would read my blog, possibly comment, and run off to do something else.
Then, One day I was half asleep, and was feeling a bit on the lazy side.
Since I had already written a story in my free ebook, I told part of it in my post and shared a link to my ebook where people could get the rest of the story.
In just a minute, I will tell you how that turned out.
But first let me explain what this does…
This is called creating an open loop. It gets inside someone’s mind, and often it won’t leave them alone. It will play in their mind over and over again until it is resolved.
However, if you fail to use them properly, it can also cause you more harm than good.
I have seen it used in sales copy a lot. People build up the anticipation, and tell you everything you DON’T need to learn in order to follow their system. But, in order to learn what they are teaching, you have to buy the actual product.
I got caught up in that more than once, and usually regretted wasting my time. Getting those refunds was such a pain. Now, I won’t buy anything that doesn’t tell me what they are teaching up front.
Popular TV shows do it all the time. These open loops are why soap operas and drama shows like LOST, ER, HOUSE, and other popular TV shows use to build their popularity.
People LIKE the suspense.
They tune in week after week to get the rest of the story, and they go crazy if they miss a single episode. Part of that is because of the story line, which we will get to in a minute, but part of crafting that story line is inserting these open loops (they call them Mystery Boxes in script writing) into the plot to keep people coming back to get the rest of the story.
YOU want to build that kind of anticipation when you create content!
However, you must close those loops once they complete the action that you want them to take. Opening up too many loops and not ever closing the door can turn into a nightmare. You will lose the trust with people.
When done right though, you can keep them in suspense for several weeks.
I will do another post later on the downsides of doing open loops wrong. It can take a whole article to explain just that alone!
If you want to hear that side of the story, let me know in the comments!
Learn to Weave a Picture
If you really want to master the art of persuasive writing, you should learn how to create a mental picture. A really great master of this is the always popular Holly Jahangiri, who uses it mercilessly in her contest winning strategy.
One of the best ways to do that is by using similes and metaphors. For example, I bet you got a picture of a pack of wild dogs going wild over a fresh kill with my Title for this post.
Using the metaphor of a frenzy paints a mental picture for people, and is a lot more enticing than just saying “Read this article on how to write good stuff“
Similes can drive your readers wild with excitement as well. You can get them swarming like dogs on a fresh bone by sharing a visual picture. This is really helpful especially in the sales copy, and it is essential to the story line that you want to weave, which brings us into the last point.
Master the Art of Telling a Good Story
Sometimes your blog posts are really kind of bland. By telling a story, you can engage your readers more, especially with a boring topic, and it will keep people interested in what you are saying. A good story spread out among several posts is really great because it gets people coming back for more.
This is why I read awesome blogs like It’s All A Matter of Perspective!
Through her blog she tells a story. Although she often wraps up the story in a single post, she weaves a tale that keeps you reading page after page, and she doesn’t give a hoot that she is keeping you from work for hours and hours on end, scrolling through her archives.
My boss has banned me from reading her blog during working hours (and I am self-employeed…)
It isn’t just Holly either.
One of my very first projects online was a little blogger blog (back in the day before I knew about WordPress and self hosting…) called Gelly’s Paradise.
Gelly was a character I played in the video game Final Fantasy XI, and that blog was Gelly’s playhouse. He shared his adventures in the game and talked about all kinds of cool stuff that he did. He talked about his gear, the morons he ran into (he hated some of the stupid things people did…) and he even made a little money from recommending some strategy guides that he used to master different aspects of the game.
The entire blog was written in first person, and from his perspective. It was fun to write, and since I was active in the game, I had a ready audience there who shared it with other people. It grew really popular in just a few weeks.
Sadly, that blog went away, but it still holds some of my most memorable blogging experiences, and that early success helped keep me going later when things weren’t so easy going to build up on later projects.
Learning How to Create Content Doesn’t Have to Be Boring!
I hope this helps you to see that you can create content without boring people to tears. Sending your readers into a frenzy isn’t all that hard. Learn to tell a great story to keep people wanting to know more, especially on those dreary articles. Use more similes and metaphors to spice up those bland parts, and get people to wake up. Paint a picture in their mind, and you will strike them like lightning.
Learn how to use open loops in your content.
By the way, when I told that story in my blog post, I wound up getting over 100 subscribers, and the post got spread like wildfire through the social circles. I got some really engaged fans, and many of those people still read my blog regularly today.
Heck, a few might even be reading this, and wondering how I get them to open my emails. I do it all the time in my newsletters.
(see, I just closed an open loop before concluding this article...)
Goes to show that open loops can work their magic. If you kept reading this far just to find out, how far do you think your readers will go? I have had them email me 3-4 weeks after saying something in a blog post asking when I was going to get around to finishing what I started.
These are some of my top secrets to creating content with more engagement. Share yourthoughts in the comments… (or questions too….)
If you really love me, and think this was helpful, Don’t forget to vote, share and comment on the post. And come back tomorrow to do it all again!