I get it.
You've been writing for years.
- You've been honing your skills.
- You've been testing different blogging platforms.
- You've been publishing your work.
And your work doesn't seem to be gaining any traction, viewership, and revenue generation.
Well, for lack of a better phrase, one of the key components that you may be overlooking is your marketing abilities.
What exactly do I mean by that?
Well — when you're entering in and navigating the online content writing space, you need to wear two hats:
- You need to wear the writer's hat (easy)
- You need to wear the marketer's hat (hard for many)
What is the marketer's hat?
The marketer's hat is the act of understanding what drives people to make decisions. It accounts for seeing why people buy/click/read/share/download certain things over others. There's an element to psychology with the marketer's hat.
Like I said in the beginning of this article — I get it, you have a burning desire to write. You have a burning desire to use those writing skills to make some side hustle money. You have a burning desire to leverage that side hustle money into a full-time writing enterprise if possible.
But in order to achieve all of that, you need the right solution. You need the right strategy.
This article will go over that strategy. We'll uncover how to utilize the marketer's hat in order to target the desires of your audience rather than just write articles that may be therapeutic to you.
Why should you listen to me?
I've been through all of the questions that probably ring in your head like an overbearing siren — especially the one in the beginning of this article. And, I've overcome it. I've built a sustainable online content business that helped me quit my day job. Before that, I built it into a successful side hustle endeavor.
Let's get into it.
First, you need to discover what your audience wants
I see it all the time.
And again — I get it.
An article written on a blogging platform with some obscure, artsy title that outlines some attempt at what the article is about.
This section of the article isn't about the title — but we'll get to that part in a bit.
This section is about identifying what your readers actually want. Did you ever think about that when you were writing the article?
If you aren't getting much reception of your work, that would be the first element of your article that I would consider.
In his book, "Copywriting Secrets" Jim Edwards outlines what desires people have and what drives these same people to purchase products. He notes that people buy products because they want to:
- Make money
- Save money
- Save time
- Avoid effort
- Escape mental or physical pain
- Get more comfort
- Achieve greater cleanliness or hygiene to attain better health
- Gain praise
- Feel more loved
- Increase their popularity or social status (Edwards, J. (2018). Copywriting Secrets. Author Academy Elite Publishing.)
Of course when it comes to online content writing, we can replace the word "buy" with "read" or "click".
It's important to consider your audience first with all of your writing. Your content — in the side hustle days — is your product. How are you going to help lead them on their journey of accomplishing their goals?
Take note of those 10 buying desires above — how can you complement the direction of your writing with one of those desires?
Furthermore, how can you make it more about your audience rather than you?
When you can identify what desires you should be targeting in your audience, it's time to showcase those desires with your article and work on your "pitch" to them.
Let's take a look.
How to give your readers incentive to click on and read your content
Okay, so we've uncovered that you should be making your content more about your audience than you.
We've also taken a look at what desires you should be targeting with that audience.
Of course everyone is unique — but at the same time, all human beings are the same. We all share human-related desires. We all want to fulfill those desires. Your content can help people with those problems.
Once you've identified what desires you want to help people fulfill, it's time to actually give them an incentive to click and read your work.
What I mean here is you need to give your readers a promise.
You need to give them a reason to take a chance on the content that your beautiful brain was able to create.
How do you do that?
You do that through your article's headline.
The headline is probably the most important part of the article. Well, let me rephrase that. Obviously the content is the most important part of your article, however the headline is the most crucial element of your article. It is the piece that can help the article go viral or it can help the article get lost in the never ending abyss that is the internet.
TL;DR: You need to have an amazing headline.
How do you do this?
Well, we'll start with just some basic statistics. Did you know that articles with headlines with +14 words tend to perform the best? Furthermore, that article headlines written in the list format "N Ways to Achieve…" get 2X more shares (SEMrush, 2017)?
My favorite formula to write captivating and converting headlines is the "How to…" formula. You are literally telling the reader that they are going to learn how to do [BLANK] and that is the promise being provided.
Like stated earlier — it seems in the online content writing space, we're not seeing enough of this with new entrants into the field. New entrants try to be creative and artsy with their headlines. I used to be there. It has a negative effect, however. You alienate your reader rather than give them an incentive to click and read your valuable content.
"When intelligent people read, they ask themselves a simple question: what do I plan to do with this information?"
— Ryan Holiday
People are always asking themselves, "why should I care?" and "what's in it for me?" when they're scanning and searching for content.
You will see a drastic uptick in article reception when you provide a road map for your readers by offering them a promise of the content they'll get in the article headline.
Let's workshop this:
Imagine that you're a relationships writer. You've just written a beautiful, engaging, informative and [most important] problem-solving article.
You've titled it, "The Hidden Truth as to Why You're Not Asking The Hard Questions"
What does that mean?
Really — what does that mean?
What will knowing the truth get me as the reader? Why should I care about the hard questions?
The article could be jam-packed with relevant content, but you're giving me zero incentive to click the article.
Instead, what if we tried something like, "How to Understand What Your Partner Is Thinking by Using These 3 Tough Questions"
Can you spot the differences between the two?
Can you see that one is clearly guiding the reader as to what they're going to get and the other gives a glimmer of something, however that something is a blatant question mark?
I can't emphasize this enough — give your readers a reason to read your work. You can give that reason by providing them a map as to what they're going to get. That map is your headline.
A quick recap
One of the worst feelings as a writer is when you take hours — if not days — writing a piece of content, you publish it, and it doesn't gain any traction with an audience.
Often times, you choose to curse the Writing Gods rather than actually look within and see if you're providing your audience with what they want (or considering your audience rather than yourself at all).
If you want to see better reception of your work going forward, you can start by considering these two facets of your future articles:
- Consider the wants, desires, and motivations of your audience.
- Make sure your headlines offers a map as to exactly what the reader is going to get if they take a chance on your and read the article.
As an online content writer, you have two creative responsibilities. You have the creative responsibility of being the writer — you need to create content via research and personal experience. You also need to be the marketer — the marketer is in charge of giving people what they want.
When you can blend these two responsibilities, you'll see a change in the way your content is being received.
I know it and you know it — you have a gift. You're an artist with a voice.
You just need a little guidance yourself so you can actually start putting that valuable work in front of the people who are looking for it.
So take these strategies forward with you and apply them when you're creating your next piece of work.
Your readers will thank you for it.
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