Let’s face it, we’re all busy. There’s plenty of distractions in our lives, even before we consider the devices we switch between all day (or the ‘related videos’ on YouTube). Online, your content is competing with a variety of distractions.
We tend to scan through content, picking out the most important or interesting pieces of information as we go. Make sure your message is getting through to your audience with these 7 tips for presenting relevant, quality content online.
7 Tips For Writing Content
1. Remember the F Shape
Eyetracking research shows that English readers (or readers of any languages also read left to right) tend to read online information in an ‘F’ shaped pattern. Our eyes track horizontally across the top of page, and then skim down the left hand side. Keep this in mind as you lay out your content.
2. Create scan-friendly text
Don’t bury your important information in blocks of text. Use headings and subheadings, different fonts (don’t go overboard, a title font and a body font will suffice!), lists, and bullet points to draw readers down the page. Accept the fact that most readers will skim through your content and make it easy for them to find the information they need.
3. Keep the important information up the top
It’s not a mystery novel. Keep your most important information in the first few paragraphs, as readers will lose interest as they move through your content.
4. Be clear and succinct
Your readers are busy, very few of them have the time to read online content word for word. Use straightforward sentence construction and explain complex ideas as simply as possible.
5. Write for your audience
Know what they like, and what they need. Use jargon or technical language where appropriate. Provide them with interesting and relevant content, and in turn they may share your content across their own networks.
6. Write for Search Engine Optimisation
SEO can become very complicated very quickly. At a basic level, however, consider the key words and phrases that could be used to find your content through a search engine, or that you want people to associate with your brand. Try to include these naturally in your writing.
7. Use links
Unlike hard copies, online content can be organised in layers. Provide your readers with links to more detailed or non-essential information where appropriate, or use links to drive an action (subscription, event registration, etc.).
You can apply these tips to your newsletters and any other online content that you produce. Take into account our online reading habits and structure your content accordingly. Keep your subscribers interested and aim to become a thought leader in your field!
How To Utilise Email Marketing With Your Content Calendar
In order to maintain relationships with your mailing list, it’s vital to send out regular emails. However, when you’re busy running a business, writing emails may be low on your list of priorities. This probably means you’re frequently rushing to write a quick email at the last minute, or missing out scheduled mailings entirely.
There is a better way to stay organised, make sure all your emails go out on time, and the content is always planned and top-notch.
Bloggers and journalists have used a content calendar for years to maintain a regular publication schedule, and you can utilise the same tool for sending out email content to your audience.
A content calendar will help you to create and publish content for weeks or months in advance so you’re never short on email content to send out and never sitting at your desk with writers’ block trying to think of something worthwhile to say.
Working with this tool will help you to organise your email campaigns and plan content around critical dates and launches. Integrating your email marketing with a calendar is a simple three-step process.
1. Create Your Content Plan
A successful email content plan needs a solid structure that you can work from. Spreadsheet tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets work well for this. Working in a cloud-based system like Google Drive gives you the additional advantage of allowing other members of your team to collaborate and edit the document in real time.
When you’re setting up your spreadsheet, think about fields that are important for your email strategy and what they might include. For example:
- List or audience segment
- Type of email (newsletter, blog update, sales letter, special offer etc.)
- Author (who in your team will write the email)
- Design (images and design elements you want to include, or will it be a plain text email?)
- Subject line
- Description of email content
- Call to action
Once you have a suitable framework for your content plan set up, you can start planning out your content.
2. Map Out Your Topics
You should start with a brainstorming session to gather enough content ideas to see you through the next few weeks or months.
Think about upcoming important dates and seasons and any promotions or events that are scheduled over the period you’ll be sending out emails. You can then plan your content around these events and create seasonal content where it’s appropriate.
Once you’ve come up with sufficient ideas to plan ahead for your preferred time period, you can start putting all your content ideas into your spreadsheet.
Think carefully about email frequency when you’re assigning a date to each email. You want to email your list often enough to keep your brand at the top of their mind, but not so often that your emails become frustrating. You should also mix up your content so you’re sending a variety of different types of emails spread over time.
As well as entering the emails on your content plan, you should also add them to your calendar so you can see at a glance what emails are going out on certain dates and when you need to start creating content.
3. Create Your Content
Now that you know what you are going to be writing about and when, you can start to develop your content.
Use your content calendar to keep you on-track and make sure you stick to your strategy. In general, you should try to write and develop your emails so they’re ready to send out at least a couple of weeks before they’re scheduled. This will give you a decent buffer to catch up if you fall behind on your content schedule.
Always keep your audience in mind when you’re crafting your email content. The more you can segment your audience in specific groups, the more relevant you can make your content so it’s tailored to individual needs and interests.
An effective subject line is one of the most important parts of content creation in your overall email strategy. A good subject line can make your open rates soar, and a bad one may mean that the majority of your emails are skimmed over in the recipients’ inbox and never read.
Always keep email marketing good practice in mind when you’re writing your content. Make sure you include an appropriate call to action, and the design and content of your email are planned carefully to attract maximum reader attention.
If you’re interested in automating your email marketing processes and want to try out some of the tools mentioned above then check out our Email Marketing Best Practices handbook, alternatively give our team a call on 02 9929 7001.