Lesson 3. Persuasive Content: How to write effectively and memorably
The first thing you have to notice is what interests you and how you read the data you get on the Internet.
Most people don’t read on the Internet – they scan. So you have to write in a style which people can scan easily. This has evolved over the years, but has mostly stayed true to a few valid principles:
Headlines need to be catchy
Keep paragraphs short and use spaces between them to break them up.
Also use subheadings to break up the text and introduce sections
Use lots of bullets – like this list.
Make lots of lists of things – “5 simple steps to get your money back.”
Break up long posts into several shorter ones in a series (I’m guilty of violating this.)
If you look over the above, you’ll see where I used (and should have used) these points above. And you’ll probably see a lot of areas I could improve this.
Here’s a key basic to everything online:
The basics of the Internet are
Valuable Information and Speed.
Remember that law and etch it into the inside of your eyelids.
The value of your information is how much people will want to track what you are saying. They will come back to your blog for more data if they find what you are saying is valuable.
You’ll also need to look over your site in terms of how fast
can access the data. This has to do with what template you choose for
your blog – it’s “look and feel” – which can get in the way of people
being able to find the data quickly.
People also like pictures and video’s. But you want to use images that people give permission (otherwise, they have simple programs to remove that image from your site. I use Flickr to search for images which are marked for sharing – go to http://flickr.com/search/advanced and scroll down to select all the Creative Commons attributes. This means they are saying you can use their images nearly anyway you like, as long as you give them credit.
While I’m limited as to images in this document (size matters), there is one example at the top for you to study (and improve on.) My general policy is to give an image at the top which aligns with the headline – some of the memorable ones were Elmer Fudd on a post about hunting scammers, and one of mushrooms where I posted about Scammers harvesting in the dark.
A Tip: don’t copy the image and download, then upload to your blog. Just copy the link and then insert that image link instead of the actual image. Saves you time and bandwidth – plus your pages will load faster.
Another interesting point is to give lots of links which support your data. Both readers and search engines like this – because it shows that you know what you are talking about with related links to appropriate external sources. (And when you have a lot of material on your blog, it helps everyone when you link back to where you already covered this point somewhere. Search engines really like this – and I’ll go into why a bit later.)
(We are interested to get into the top search engine rankings right off, but in the following course, I’ll show you that this is just a temporary affair until you build your clientele.)
The 3 E’s of Content
Charles Heflin, who’s studied Internet content as a professional marketer for over 14 years now, says what makes good content is one or more of the following:
To the degree you can incorporate several of these into anything/everything you write, the more people will consider this valuable. Look them over and see if there isn’t anything you’ve found on the Internet which doesn’t fit into at least one of these categories.
You have to write this from your headline on down. The headline has to be catchy, to grab that person’s attention and invite them to read your article. Your opening paragraph (as well as that snippet description) also have to be inviting and engaging. Giving a funny image at the top which has something to do with your headline is then a plus you can incorporate. (Because pictures are worth a thousand words, but it’s never said what those 1,000 words mean to any given reader. Pictures invite participation.) And then you roll into your amazing copy below this…
As a note: further research on what makes a good blog post is found on http://www.copyblogger.com
The final point: reciprocity
What you put out on your blog determines what you will get back. That’s just one of those laws Life operates from and under.
There are some unscrupulous people out there. And they may try to shut you down with two accusations:
1) Some sort of accusation of defamation. This is defined as purposely lying in order to damage someones reputation (although that’s a simplification of it’s legalese.) So you always work with the truth as you’ve been able to find it and what you suspect is really going on. And end with an invitation for people to comment or contact you if they find other data.
2) Trademark infringement – visit http://chillingeffects.org and proof yourself up on this line.
In both cases, they usually don’t have a case – or you’d have heard from a lawyer by then. And if it’s just a warning from a lawyer, well check it out and see if you’ve been doing something oddball to attract that. Again – they are trying to get you to work by their rules of engagement. Still to the truth and sunshine will disinfect all types and sorts of icky stuff.
And always do correct something you’ve found in error – and let people know you did. That gives you credibility and more trust from your readers. It also drives the scammers nuts.
A point on sources
More than once, I was sent incriminating emails with all sorts of allegations about the two companies I was complaining about in my blog. However, the person never emailed back when I asked for contact details. And some of these allegations didn’t particularly align with other data. So I never mentioned these except obliquely. I was wating awhile for some sort of information which would back up what these nebulous individuals told me. Nothing ever showed up. Conclusion: I was being set up to post slanderous and false material.
You need to know who you are dealing with. And you need to verify your sources. There are various "complaint forums" which are really just set up as money-making operations. One even allegedly shakes down people for hush money - but they are well documented and enough complaints have surfaced to shove them much lower down the Google rankings, conveniently.
Make sure you are as close to the truth as you can get – and tell people what you suspect, but still need to verify.
This will give you trustworthy sources in return. And truth is something people who lie have no defense against. This is exactly why politicians and scammers hate the spotlight. Turn it on them and watch them scatter like bugs…