Hands down, content is the most important part of your web site because it’s why visitors stay on your site. They may come to see a great design, watch a new video, or research an idea, but they stay when your content is magnetic. Magnetic content, though, can be difficult to write even if you’re an experienced writer, so what do you do when you’re not a great writer? Write anyway; keep your content strong, tight, right, and easy; and you’ll be writing magnetic content in no time.
1. Write Strong.
Not to completely rip off Lance Armstrong, but writing magnetic content is about being strong, both in topic and in your abilities. First, you must have a strong topic. Generally speaking, concrete subjects are better than abstract ones, so write about that which is tangible. Whatever your topic, both personal experience and extensive research can be used to strengthen your content.
Second, you must be strong in your abilities, which means you must be great and confident. You’re probably great at and confident in your area of expertise, so use that to write magnetic content. If you’re not great at or confident in what you’re writing about, reconsider your subject or practice until you’re both great and confident.
2. Write Tight.
Writing tight means making every word count. On the Web, you have a short time and limited space to communicate everything you want to your readers, so brevity is key. First, keep your material simple. Simple pages, simple paragraphs, simple sentences. Magnetic content grabs readers despite the distractions that surround it because it’s easy to read and understand.
Second, use an active voice, which means every sentence has a subject—a character, if you will—and an action verb. When you use this construction, eliminate sentences that begin with “there” and that contain too many “to be” verbs, and you’ll use fewer words:
- BLEH. The ball was thrown by the boy.
- BLEH. There was a boy who threw the ball.
- BLAM! The boy threw the ball.
Author’s Note: Sometimes passive voice (using “there” and “to be”) is acceptable and necessary, but in most cases, using the active voice will produce a better sentence.
3. Write Right.
When you write right, your magnetic content is accurate and free of errors. First, your grammar must be spot on: punctuation, spelling, usage, agreement, etc. If grammar doesn’t come naturally to you, that’s OK. You can double-check your work by reading it backward paragraph by paragraph, reading it out loud, leaving it alone for a period of time before returning to it, or having someone else look it over.
Second, make sure your facts are right. When you’re writing from personal experience, you may not need to reference your sources, but if you’re writing a non-fiction piece, you should cite your references and give credit where credit is due. Citing your sources gives you and your material credibility, which makes your content even more magnetic.
4. Write Easy.
Writing easy is about making your material easy to digest, and because magnetic content is interactive and scannable, it will draw in your readers. First, make your content interactive. Links, graphics, audio, and video will make your content more interesting and will keep your readers on your site, and you can use interactivity to communicate difficult ideas.
Second, make your content scannable. Short paragraphs, headings, and lists break your content into small chunks, making it easy to glance over. When your content is scannable, your readers can find what they’re looking for without wasting time or moving to the next web site. As your readers scan your material, they’re more likely to stick around and read the entire piece.
You Don’t Have to be a Great Writer to Write Magnetic Content
Bottom line, visitors will stick around when your web site is full of magnetic content, and writing magnetic content is easy with a few strategies and a little practice under your belt. When you write strong, tight, right, and easy, you’ll draft magnetic content that your readers can’t avoid reading.