Simple Content Structure Ideas for Better Content Engagement

Having good content that conveys value and knowledge is super important to how well-received your content will be, but there are other aspects that can help improve readership and sharing of your content. Having superior content structure is crucial in creating valued content that people will easily understand, digest, and recommend/share.

First Impressions: The Introduction

The very first sentence of your post or page content should be written in such a such a way that catches the attention of readers and delivers on the expectation that people have for your content. People should either know what to expect or be hooked enough to continue reading.

Throughout your first paragraph, all expectations and takeaways should be established and clearly convey value to your readers (and value can mean the reader should be able to answer, “is this post worth my time to keep reading?”)

Set Expectations and Deliver: Don’t Trick People with Thin Content

Don’t hit the main point and takeaway from the get-go. Rather, set the expectations and provide some detail to back those expectations up. A simple way to do this is:

“We’ll discuss X,Y, and Z…”

Another way is to let people know that they’re going to leave with knowledge and/or learn how to do something they’ve come to expect:

“Here’s how to…” OR “The 4 steps to do X, Y, Z start with…”

Sometimes, a post will need to be backed up by other content on your site or from an external source, make sure you hyper-link to those assets in order to fulfill the expectations without having a blog post or page content that scrolls for pages and pages — if the content is too long, the average reader will glaze over and leave.

Keep Main Points Clear and Hit Each One

One by one, speak to the reader in bite-sized chunks. In other words, try to keep each main point as a paragraph or two — they might overlap, but that’s fine (that’s setting up the expectation for the next section). The key here is keeping single points/steps by themselves — people who are scanning your post for a specific section will have an easier time finding it OR keeping points/categories separated will help your readers focus on new ideas without getting overwhelmed, and thus, stay on your site and absorb your content.

You don’t have to be overt about letting people know what to expect in each section, but you can do it subtly in order to be a ‘quiet’ reminder of why the reader is there and why she/he should continue reading and/or share.

One easy way to quietly remind them as to what to expect and what to do with the knowledge you are imparting is to provide practical examples. Just shouting out steps or facts is one thing, but if you want people to seriously take action with your content, provide common examples that your readers can then connect the dots with. People will not only stay on your page longer, but they’ll have a good brand experience with your content and will be more likely to return and/or share your content socially.

Wrapping Up with a Conclusion: Leave them Satisfied

Not only should you summarize, but hit on some of your key points and recommend similar content that you have on your site. It’s a good idea to leave people with actionable tips to take having read through your entire post. And, if your post is service or product based, surely add in a call to action that clearly instructs the reader as to what to do next. You don’t simply want them to engage with your content for that moment, you also want them to engage with your brand in the future.

I often talk to clients about providing ‘valuable’ content. At its foundation, valuable content is something that the reader takes with him/her in a positive way — either new knowledge or something to think about that can easily make them come back to your content in the future. Once you have someone who positively engages with your content, you’ve built a level of trust and value — this way, the next time they see a pice of content promoted, they’re more likely to click and come back for more.

Conversely, the more you offer little in terms of great takeaways, the less likely a reader may be to come back.

You can test this with two simple analytics metrics:

→ Take note of the number of return visitors to your blog and blog posts.
→ Take note of the time people spend on a particular piece of content
→ Take note of the bounce rate and exit rate from your content. In some cases, not all, you’ll have an expectation for readers to go elsewhere on your site — if they aren’t, something needs to change in your content (that could be the level of knowledge you’re imparting or how your CTAs are set up).

Want to learn more about content creation and content marketing? Head over to these posts:

{CATEGORY} Content strategy: http://paperandsteam.com/category/content-strategy/
{CATEGORY} Copywriting: http://paperandsteam.com/category/content-strategy/website-content-writing/

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