Much like a creepy haunted house, bad copy is riddled with cobwebs, scary verbal arachnids and misplaced modifiers that leap at you from behind cracked doors.
This Halloween season, the last thing you want to do is scare away your precious readers with bad copy.
Instead of entertaining this horror show, focus on creating spook-tacularly engaging content this Halloween season and watch your readers flock to your site…like witches to the cauldron.
15 Ways To Get Your Readers To Engage On Your Content Like Witches With A Cauldron
1) Add some cackle to your copy
Humor is important – especially if you’re writing about a topic others may perceive as “boring.” By infusing an approachable sense of humor throughout your content, you make it approachable, engaging and more relatable than content written from a stiff-upper-lip perspective. Need help on being funny – check out CopyBlogger’s “How to be 20% Funnier Than you Really are” post.
Keep in mind, though, that being funny doesn’t mean being fake. When you try too hard to be hilarious, your audience is going to catch on. Instead of straining yourself in the name of hilarity, try simply pointing out the industry truths that nobody acknowledges or approaching your own confusion or difficulties with a light-hearted air. This will help your readers breathe a sigh of relief and think “Phew! She gets it!”
2) Information and interest and valuable content, that’s what good copy is made of
Why do you write the things you do? Because you’re bored? To prove something to your college English professor? To engage your readers with valuable content? That last one is more like it. In order to be valuable, though, your copy also needs to be informational and interesting. To ensure your content is meeting the bar, spend some time putting yourself in your readers’ shoes. What do they want to know about? What are they struggling with? What would be helpful to them? Answering these questions in your copy can ensure that it stays interesting and engaging for years to come.
3) Stay on this planet
Nobody wants to wade through dense analogies and when your readers need a roadmap to understand what the heck it is you’re getting at; you can bet that you’re going to lose a good deal of them. That said, it’s important to continue being relatable, even when you’re discussing a dense topic. One of the best ways to do this is to provide relatable analogies for complex ideas. To do this, think about something that all of your readers can relate to. The rental market, for example, or going to the grocery store, and use these commonplace topics to illustrate a dense idea like web hosting or coding. This will help your readers understand the ideas you’re presenting them, even if the topic is intricate.
4) Offer breaks
It’s tough and intimidating to confront a page filled with tiny, single-spaced text and no images, paragraphs or links. Somewhere deep down, smart readers are still like little kids who love pictures, text-sparse pages and sensory detail. And as they should: content written in this fashion is much more interesting and useful than text-only pages that require a magnifying glass to dissect. Because of this, it’s wise to give your readers small breaks within your copy so that they don’t feel overwhelmed. Break text into small chunks, use headers and sub headers and consider serializing posts about dense topics into mini-series. This helps make your copy more approachable and keeps your readers interested.
To take this a step further, consider branching out into different types of content. If you only write blog posts, consider offering a podcast or two or creating an infographic. In addition to keeping your text engaging and interesting, this also serves to help you meet your fans on the platform of their choice and gives readers even more ways to interact with your copy.
5) Incorporate pictures into the brew
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a great infographic, video or meme is worth ten times that, at least. If your story is ho-hum – the ins and outs of a new platform, for example – consider resorting to visuals to tell it in a stylish and intriguing manner. Never worked with any of these content types before? No worries, it’s easier now than ever to create them on your own.
6) Interview like-minded guys and ghouls
By bringing industry experts into your site, you do several things: first of all, you create a larger following by bringing your guest’s following to your blog. Secondly, you pique your fans’ interest by showcasing new views and adding some variety to your posts. Plus, when you allow your site to become known as a melting pot of ideas, innovation and creativity, you draw people who want to engage with you, which is great for building a community of other writers while also expanding your reader base.
7) Give your fans a fright…in a good way!
Not a literal fright…again, your copy shouldn’t be scary. While we don’t want you driving your fans toward the hills with poorly constructed web copy, we do want you to use specific, hardcore statistics to shock your readers. Even the most engaging topic in the world risks feeling a little dry if readers don’t have anything to sink their teeth into. Take, for example, social media marketing. When I say “social media marketing is an effective way to draw more leads” you probably nod your head, eyes wide, and think “Thanks, Captain Obvious.” When I tell you, however, that LinkedIn generates new leads at a rate 277% higher than any other social media platform, your eyes probably pop open for a different reason. The latter is interesting, the former – not so much.
8) Survey your fans
Want to know what your fans would find interesting? Ask them! Brainstorm a series of topics with your team and ask your fans which of the batch they would prefer to hear more about. Alternately, ask them how they feel about every blog you write–and make sure you’ve addressed all their questions–by placing a comment at the end that says something like “What’s your question? Let me know in the comments!” Take Tim Ferriss’s blog, for example, which does just that.
9) Be candid
There is nothing more appealing in a writer than the willingness to be candid. Candor helps readers see the entire story – not just the shiny face most people would like to present. And while this may seem counterintuitive (“Why would I want to show people my failures?” you ask), it can actually help your readers bond to your brand and have a fuller understanding of the topic. Plus, if you’re selling the illusion that things go off seamlessly every time, you’re selling fake goods. Instead, bring a certain amount of candor into your writing. Make a big mistake lately? Things went a different direction than you thought they would? Talk about it! Fans will learn more from you and they’ll appreciate your willingness to be honest and transparent.
10) Do away with babble
You write differently than you speak, don’t you? It’s okay. We all do it. But the key to creating more interesting content is to eliminate babble and write the way you speak. Chances are, when readers come to your site, they do so hoping for genuine advice, not to feel like they’ve been run over by a semi loaded down with confusing phrases, wacky metaphors and long-winded explanations. For some sound advice on being a better writer, check out the Dilbert Blog’s piece titled “The day you Became a Better Writer.” There you have it – pare your sentences, eliminate the things that aren’t necessary and clarify, clarify, clarify – your readers will thank you!
11) Be helpful to avoid being boring
Wallpaper – it’s often thought of as one of the most boring substances in the world, right? Until, that is, someone needs to learn how to tear it off or put it up and they find a detailed blog post in which you’ve addressed those exact topics. When you set out to write this season, remember the wallpaper example – helpful things aren’t at risk of being boring. By writing content that solves a problem for your reader or helps him or her answer a question, you land solidly in the “This is so interesting!” category.
12) Keep up with the times
By keeping an eye on current events and trends in your industry, you can provide your readers with content that is not only useful but is also relevant to today’s climate. This is a big deal. In addition to ensuring that your content is interesting, keeping up-to-date on social media and news can help you harvest ideas for articles and interact effectively with other people in your industry.
13) Use Quora
Quora is a great reference for people who want to create engaging content. Quora is a user-generated question site that is literally filled to bursting with questions about everything from relationships to coding. Spend some time combing through the archives and you’ll come away ripe with content ideas and, more importantly, with a genuine understanding about the types of questions, issues and hurdles your target audience is struggling with. To make the most out of Quora, jump right in and ask and answer questions. This will serve to deepen your understanding and also to help establish you as an expert in your industry, which will do great things for your traffic and readership numbers.
14) Write directly to one person
When you sit down to write a blog post, who are you writing to? Sure, we know there’s an “Audience” out there but it’s a little hard to write well to 1,000 people, isn’t it? Instead, focus on writing to one person. One person from that vast, faceless “audience”, that’s it. Ideally, you should know who this person is, whether it’s a man or a woman, how old he or she is, where he or she lives, etc. etc. Creating a target persona is the best way to glean this information. By using words like “you” and “your,” you can pull your audience into the content with you and create posts that they will find genuinely interesting and applicable.
15) Be confident
In writing as in life, confidence pays. When you set out to create content your readers will love, one of the best things you can do for both yourself and for them is to be confident. Stand by your voice. Don’t say things like “in my opinion” or “possibly”. This is weak language that makes you seem doubtful and uncertain. Plus, the reader already knows it’s your opinion! Don’t stress about the people who (inevitably) won’t like your content and, most of all, keep creating! You’re the expert here and when you stand by your knowledge, your voice and your writing, you’ll be in a better position to create engaging content time and time again. What’s more, you’ll also be a source of inspiration to readers who may be trying to find their voice!
There you have it – our 15 best tips for spooky good content this Halloween. So go ahead, stop scaring your audience with bad web copy and, instead, give them something frightfully good to sink their teeth into!