The subtle skill of article writing is worth mastering, since all SEO, content marketing and PR efforts are rooted in quality content.
However, when it comes to your brand’s online success, mere writing quality isn’t enough. The articles also need to convert. In fact, a visitor clicking on the link to your article is only half of the job done. The other half, conversion, requires good planning and prompt execution.
Now, depending on the action you want the reader to undertake (and these can vary from subscriptions to free trials to purchases), you’ll need to cleverly weave the message in the narrative. To ensure success, you need to master the strategies capable of grabbing the reader’s attention from the first line and keep them reading until the very end.
We will hereby discuss some of the most efficient strategies to engage the reader.
1. Satisfy search intent in the first paragraph
You need to clearly state the topic of the article in the introduction. The first paragraph should satisfy the search intent, answering the question that led the reader to the page straight away.
Think about it in terms of journalism; a good news piece immediately mentions the most important information before going into detail.
2. Adhere to proper form
Every article should have a proper form, or a content pattern as defined by Thrive Themes’ Shane Melaugh.
According to this principle, every proper article should have five main elements:
- Content pattern
Headlines are similar to newspaper articles and newsletters. They have the same function as subject lines—to inspire the reader to read on.
A content pattern should include detailed information about the topic announced in the introduction and inspire the reader to read through. It shouldn’t just list the features. Instead, it should present detailed information in an interesting way, optimally through a story.
A CTA should satisfy the goal of the article. Take your time deciding on the best one, as you don’t want the reader to simply read the article—you want them to perform an action.
3. Create an SOP
SOP stands for a “standard operating procedure.” In terms of article writing, it means you should come up with an article template to ease the process. An SOP breaks down a process into steps and can take different forms, notably a checklist.
Simply put, you should follow the established steps for article writing throughout to ensure continual success.
4. Don’t stray away from the topic
Sticking to the topic is an absolute must. The practice is, after all, what sets quality articles from clickbaits.
Proper articles capable of converting are focused on the search intent. Thus, they should answer the actual question and provide detailed information on the topic.
This isn’t to say that the article should be impersonal. In fact, examples and personal stories are highly valued, as they speak more clearly to the reader.
Also, people tend to scan through text rather than enjoy reading it. Another function of quality storytelling is to keep the reader focused. It’s not for naught that good writers always stand out from average ones. Writing is, after all, something that builds over time and relies on eloquence and knowledge.
5. Break the text
Visuals are nowadays greatly valued, at least by the majority of people. If the article is long, you should make an effort to break it up.
The usual practice is to include images, but infographics, videos and GIFs can also come in handy, depending on the topic and style.
On top of them being decorative, they can also increase the visibility of important information and serve as illustrations for complex topics.
6. Include links
When stating statistics, always include a link to the source. This practice makes the article more reliable and relevant and backs up your statements. For professional essays, you can link the sources at the end of the text.
On top of source links, you’ll also want to include other various links, such as industry blogs and related content from authorities in the field.
A word of advice: all links should open in a new tab so that the reader never leaves the page with your article.
7. Close the article with an effective conclusion
Similar to introductions, conclusions serve the purpose to reinforce the statements and provide a proper closing.
Some brands thank the readers and encourage them to share the article. Since the CTA follows just below, you’ll need to keep the reader engaged until the very end. Think deeply about effective closings as to not falter at the very end.
As for the CTA, on top of the one at the end of the text, you can also include one on top of the article. They can be in the form of a button or text and should stand out from the rest of the article. Use a different color or font (or both) to that effect.
In the incredulous world of SEO and content marketing, quality is just the starting point. With more and more brands turning to paid advertisements, you really need to do things properly in order for your content to rank and convert.
Writing proper and informative articles is, hence, a must. Go a step further by taking your time to add relevant links and visuals, and brainstorm headlines and CTAs.
Remember the SOP from the beginning of the text. Go through every step before publishing the article to ensure nothing is amiss or has been forgotten.
Lastly, be creative. Add any examples or personal stories you deem relevant or interesting. After all, it is a personal experience that brings people closer together and helps them relate.