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5 ways to engage readers more

1. An obvious point

Your article or blog post should be extremely clear as to what it’s trying to say. It needs to have an obvious point.

This may sound obvious, but many blog posts fail to do so. Why is this so important? If your content is unclear, then people won’t understand what you’re trying to say, and will, therefore, have no motivation to share or read the article.

2. A structure

Every article needs to have a clear structure in order for it to be engaging. The idea ofstructure has two parts – logical and visual.

Logical structure — Make it coherent.

As you research and write your article, create and follow an outline. Don’t merely string together a few thoughts. Instead, create something with shape and substance. Your outline forms the bones for a successful and engaging article.

Visual structure — Make it easy to read.

Visual structure is just as important as logical structure. Why? Because no one will read (i.e., engage with) your content if it isn’t visually pleasing.

3. A conclusion

How does your article end? If it concludes with a whimper, then your readers will whimper away without engaging. If it ends in confusion, then your readers feel the same. If it ends abruptly, your readers won’t know what to do next.

Somehow, the conclusion of an article has become one of the most neglected pieces of real estate in the entire Internet. We labor over headlines and opening lines, but we forget what to do when it’s time to say “This article is over.”

4. A question

Not everyone does this, but I’ve used it with incredible success. At the end of almost every article, I ask a question.

Why do I do this? Because it makes people think. Engagement doesn’t always have measurable metrics. When readers reach the end of my article, I want them to be thinking about and applying the principles that I’ve explained.

Asking and answering questions is one of the most effective techniques for teaching critical thinking and building knowledge. A simple question in closing helps to produce this response.

5. A bit of controversy

This one is optional, but it doesn’t hurt.

Controversy is everywhere. I have encountered it within every niche in which I’ve dabbled. Some controversy is silly. Some is serious. Most is engaging.

6 Ways To Write Content That Engages Mobile Readers

1. Forget everything you thought you knew about reading content online

It’s time to toss the old paradigms. Reading content from a mobile device is totally different from reading content on a desktop. Here are some of the things you’ll need to force out of your mind.

2. People view images more than they view text

Eye-tracking studies indicate that mobile users look at images more than they look at text. Here’s a study to prove it. (Note: KG stands for Knowledge Graph – the entity results, panels, and carousel summary provided by Google.)

3. Get rid of unnecessary words, phrases, sentences, or points

The famous French polymath, Blaise Pascal, wrote, “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

His point? Concise writing takes time and hard work. For mobile content, concise writing is essential. In this case, the necessity has more to do with the screen size than the user’s attention span. Your goal is to present the user with as much on-screen information as possible without requiring the user to swipe or tap. The more cogently you can express an idea, the better.

4. Create short, strong headlines

Your headline doesn’t need to take up several screens of space. Short and sweet are better. Why? Lengthy headlines get lost below the fold. Much of the responsibility for this, of course, rests with the designer. Short headlines are easily viewed in a quick scan.  Mobile designers should realize that they don’t need to create monstrous titles on mobile devices. At the same time, you can help them (and readers) by condensing your titles to the essentials.

5. Front load your most powerful content

With desktop viewing, you have plenty of above-the-fold real estate. In some website designs, you can have four or five paragraphs visible – no scrolling required. Things are a bit tighter with mobile. For this reason, start your articles with a few attention-grabbing lines.

In this article, I started with a few sentences crafted to attract the reader’s attention. These sentences previewed the content and pointed to a takeaway. Most importantly, the first sentence raised expectations and grabbed attention.

6. Use short paragraphs

Readers tend to get lost in long paragraphs. Cognitively, a viewer considers a paragraph to be a complete thought. If that thought is too long, then the reader will get impatient and move on.

Paragraphs also cause the eyes to move in a predictable and consistent rhythm through the article. A series of short, staccato paragraphs works somewhat like a cadence in a song – the reader keeps moving from paragraph to paragraph consistently and completely.


10 best uses of Facebook in your business

Facebook Post Formula #1: Product Preference

A product preference question asks your Fans to choose which of your products they like the best.

In the example below, a major grocery chain uses “product preference questions” to entice comments.They show images of two choices of products, and ask Fans to comment on which they prefer.

Facebook Post Formula #2: Fill in the Blank

A ‘fill in the blank’ post is another question that’s effective at getting your Fans to take part in your Facebook Page and talking about your products. These types of posts are generally one sentence, with a blank line for your Fans to complete.

Below is a “fill in the blank” example from Coca Cola, using a branded image of a coke truck. They used an instagram filter to give it a hot summer feeling.
check coca cola fill in the blank

Facebook Post Formula #3: Like vs. Share

A “like vs. share” post is a fairly straightforward way to engage your customers, and get a lot of likes and shares. Create an image of two of your products, and make a “like vs. share” icon. Ask your Fans to choose their favorite product by either liking or sharing your post.

Below is another example from Walmart. They are promoting their NBA t-shirts during the NBA finals, by asking their Fans which of the two teams they support. Fans ‘like’ one choice, and ‘share’ the other.

Facebook Post Formula #4: “Caption This”

A caption post involves asking your Fans to caption an image you have posted. Use your product in your post to get people thinking and talking about your wares.

Below is an example from National Geographic, where they are asking their Facebook Fans to caption an image from a Photo Contest they had run.

National Geographic photo caption from photo contest

Facebook Post Formula #5: Product Specific Days

There’s a lot of little known, pretty obscure international days of celebration. If you find some of these that relate to your product, use them! Hey, you never know, your market niche just might like to learn more about them – and you can have a bit of fun promoting your niche product to them.

Check out how Oreo used this with “World Milk Day”.

Facebook Post Formula #6: Sponsored Events

If your business sponsors events, use this to post photos of it on your Facebook Page, and include images of your products.

Red Bull is quite brilliant at using sponsored events to promote their beverage. They post their events from around the world on their Facebook Page too:

Check oreo and red bull photos

Facebook Post Formula #7: Quotes with CTA’s

A Call-to-Action (CTA) can have the power to incite action in your customer. Include CTA’s in some of your product posts to get your Fans interacting with, and ultimately buying, your products. A positive quote using a common concept (meme) is a popular method on Facebook. Incorporate your product with inspiration, humour, or happiness, with a quote. Post it with a CTA to share or like your update.

Nutella has used this tactic to “send a kiss to the one you love most”. The meme includes an image of the Nutella bottle. The CTA is to share the post.

Facebook Post Formula #8: How your Product is Made

Show how your product is made and do it in as visually an appealing manner as possible.

See below how Starbucks showed images of their espresso product in varying stages of development: From bean to serving.

Check nutella and Starbucks photo cross promote to pinterest

Facebook Post Formula #9: Trivia

Sharing small bits of trivia is a great way to get your posts liked, shared and commented on, through Facebook. Post a sentence or two of trivia about your product, or something related to your product, and include a visually appealing image.

In the example below, Intel posted trivia about lobsters and related it back to their logo.

Facebook Post Formula #10: Social Coupons and Deals

Who doesn’t like a great deal? When you run coupons and deals on your Facebook page, you can generate a lot of interactions. Include images of the products you are offering deals on. If you offer a group deal, you encourage sharing, as you can set up the number of entrants needed for the group deal to happen. If your deal is a good one, your Fans will be eager to share this with their friends.

In the example below, Target promoted their new site for coupons and deals.
Check intel target savings site wishpond

8 Signs your website needs an upgrade

The Web is constantly growing and changing—which means it’s important to keep current. These tips will help you decide if you’re overdue for an upgrade.

1. Change your resolution
If your site was created for an 800 x 600 resolution or smaller, it‘s definitely time for a change. The most popular screen resolution on the web these days is 1366 × 768 and you’d be amazed at the difference it makes.

2. Make it mobile/responsive
The future is here and it’s mobile—but is your site compatible with these devices? The sooner you make your site mobile friendly, the faster your visitors will have your content at the tips of their fingers. If you have to choose one upgrade for your site—it’s this one. And, from 21 April 2015 Google will rank site searches on mobile devices acording to whether they are mobile friendly. Dont lose out. Click here for a free check so see if your site is mobile friendly as far as Google is concerned.

3. Promote your social media
What better Web real estate to promote your social media efforts than your own website? Incorporate your social marketing with buttons, feeds, badges—the possibilities are endless! From a business perspective, Facebook is your best bet.

4. Monitor your site traffic wit Google Analytics
If Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has been incorporated into your current site (which it most definitely should have been!), then you’re already paying attention to what’s important. The tricky part is that SEO best practices are constantly changing, making it essential to monitor your results and revise your strategy accordingly. Google Analytics allows you to keep an eye on a myriad of information about your website trafficSEO can often be a relatively quick fix to Web traffic slumps, so what are you waiting for?

4. Add striking visuals
Gone are the days of text graphics and flashing GIFs, so if you spot any of those elements in your site, it’s time to rethink your visual strategy. Good imagery is essential. Aside from being an eyesore, text graphics depress your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and are likely to increase your bounce rate.

5. Update your site content
The goal of your site is to capture your audience and provide them with the information they need to close the deal. Outdated information is one of the biggest turn-offs to new prospective customers. Having a CMS (Content Management System) based website will allow you to make changes yourself simply and quickly. Update prices, add new product/service information quickly in-house so that your site is always reflecting the current products 7 services your business offers.

7. Keep it simple
Your website is one of the most important pieces of Web realty you have to market yourself, so it better look good. Steer clear of using too many fonts or picking distracting ones that are hard to read. Decide on an attractive color palette and stick to it—less is definitely more.

8. Create video content
Video content is one of the most effective ways to keep people on your site. Consider making your help guides or product information into videos. And budget shouldn’t matter. Video can be effective whether it’s done guerilla style or professionally.