In order for your content to resonate with readers, it needs to be relevant to them. By “readers”, we mean consumers of all types of content. They actually could be watching videos, looking at visual content, or consuming any other kind of content, but for the sake of simplicity and because so much content is text-based, I’ll use the term “readers”. There are seven keys to keep in mind when writing content that resonates.
Write for your audience. When you write content that’s supposed to be engaging, you write it for your audience, not yourself. Your reader is not interested in you and your problems. They’re thinking about their own. This doesn’t mean that the reader is selfish, but just that most people search the internet for content that provides them value in some way. A notable exception to this is relating a story or anecdote that you experienced. This makes you relatable to the reader and demonstrates you understand their problems. Remember to always relate it back to the reader.
In what ways does content provide value? Chief among them is that the content somehow helps the reader. Much of the internet content you see is of a “how to” nature. Articles teach readers how to overcome simple problems or make changes in their lives to help them reach their goals. If your content provides help such as this, it will be very valuable to them. Value isn’t always something serious. A reader might find a piece of content valuable if it inspires or simply entertains them.
The key is to understand your readers and what they’re looking for when they’re searching for online content. What’s valuable to the reader is determined by the reader and their tastes, their lifestyle, their problems, and so on. You can conduct market research so that you can gain an understanding of what’s valuable to your reader.
What is your relationship with your audience? It’s important to realize that each piece of content you publish is a part of building a relationship with your reader. The value and quality your content offers generates loyalty. If your content is consistently good, your reader will see you as a “go to” source of the information they like or need. They’ll come to you when they need help or entertainment.
Ideally, your readers should be sharing your content on social media and telling others about it. If your content truly hits the mark, your readers will share it. When a reader shares a piece of your content, this lends it credibility with their friends. And you can earn a new follower.
Consider this if you visit a website and see an article there, you may find the article credible or not credible. But if a trusted friend of yours shares the article and tells you you’d better read it, you’re going to put much more faith in that article. This is how social sharing works. Your readers promote your content for you. The key to building this relationship and creating sharable content is to not only know your readers but nurture your relationships with them. You can do this by learning more about your readers as you continue to interact with them. Connect with them on social media and create a dialog with them. Pay attention to reader feedback, both directly in terms of comments or messages, and indirectly in terms of sharing and other behavior.
In order for your content to resonate with your audience, you have to be real with them. You have to break down any formal barriers that stand between you and your reader. The idea discussed above, that you should listen to your audience and connect with them wherever possible, will help you do this. But there are also things you can do within your content to make it more personal. One way to connect is with the tone of your content. Write in a friendly and casual tone that’s like a friend talking to a friend. Imagine you’re writing an email to someone. This will make your content sound like a personal conversation, which is much more relatable than formal writing. Keep in mind, however, that your writing should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. Always, use a proof reader! This can be an outsourced professional or a trusted friend but this step is crucial.
Another way to connect is to share personal stories where appropriate in your content. It’s perfectly okay to break down the personal barrier and refer to yourself in the first person. Personal stories or anecdotes are very popular. They’re fun and easy to read, and they give your content a personal touch. However, there is such thing as too much personal information. The best way to strike a balance is to get personal wherever possible, but make sure that it’s still completely relevant and very valuable to the reader.
What’s really going to determine the effectiveness of your content, much more than tone or any other factor, is your topics. In order to write good, engaging content, you have to write about things that are interesting to your target audience. Here are some questions to help you generate good ideas for relevant content. What are the questions your customers repeatedly ask you? What are the questions they should be asking or that they’re not asking yet? What is something your customer could talk about all day long? What could help your customer right now? What do you know that your customers don’t about your industry, niche, etc? What are your readers sharing or posting on social media right now? What breaking news or new thing in your industry should your customer know about?
Make sure your content is focused. No matter how long a piece of content is or what format it takes, it should be simple and direct. You should be able to summarize what the piece is about in one snappy sentence. Your introduction and conclusion should sum this up for the reader with the rest filling in the details. If you can’t summarize the piece in one sentence, you have several options. One is to trim the parts that aren’t completely relevant to the topic and try again. If you can’t summarize in one sentence or you find that you’re dealing with two subjects or questions at once, turn the piece of content into two pieces of content.
You need to find and promote your unique voice. No matter who your reader is, it’s a certainty that they’re looking for unique content. You should make your content as distinctive as possible. Some ways to make your content unique include saying what no one else is saying. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and say the one thing nobody seems to be saying. Taking an unusual angle. Take a common problem and take an uncommon approach to solving it. Reading the work of content creators in a similar field to you and find something they’re not covering. Taking something that’s common wisdom, an opinion that’s widely held, and arguing for the opposite opinion. Getting ideas from other media, like movies, popular music, art, poetry, novels, etc.
Finally, content that’s emotional resonates with readers. When a piece of content stirs emotions and gets the reader feeling something, it’s much more likely to get shared and create a bond with your readers. It can be any emotion – wonder, joy, awe, sadness, fear, anger – but generally speaking, positive emotions tend to get a more positive response.
Take a look at your last blog post or other content now. Are you nailing all seven of these keys? If you need to improve, create a plan for content creation and evaluate how you can use the seven keys for content that resonates.