Lots of content floating around the web right now. The fact of the matter is, there are literally thousands and thousands of searches occurring each second that passes us by. Oftentimes they land on crap – content that has a nice title, a good first paragraph but empty words to fill up the ‘Meat’. And users are left asking “Where’s the beef?”
This entry is part of our series “Breaking Down Content Marketing“. The series is aimed to help you learn how to write great content for your audience. If you haven’t read the previous entries yet, I encourage you to do so.
Deliver your Promises
Your title is a promise to the reader. Whatever you write as the title of your article sets the initial bar of expectation that your reader would want to take out from the body of your content or what we usually call the ‘Meat’. The meat of your content has to be faithful to your title. It has to back it up. It has to fulfill it.
Did we fulfill that promise? Heck yeah. Check out the post and see for yourself!
Fish Don’t Eat Cheesecake
I’m personally fond of cheesecake. It has a rich, creamy taste and a satisfying crust to add to the flavor. I noticed that fish don’t share the same sentiment as I do when it comes to cheesecake. For some reason, they prefer to eat worms. So when I go out fishing, I don’t dangle a cheesecake in front of the fish. I put worms on the hook because that’s what they like.
Your readers aren’t fish but… You get the point.
Do a little research. Know your readers. Know what they like. Don’t dangle a piece of cheesecake in front of them if that’s not what they’re looking for. Google Forms is a great way to ask your audience for feedback or even for what kinds of content they want you to publish moving forward.
Here’s a sample survey you might want to show your audience. If you don’t want to embed it in your website, you can simply email them a link pointing to your survey.
Don’t Keep the Hungry
Lead them straight to the beef. Be concise and don’t repeat words. People are smart enough to know when you’re beating around the bush.
Chances are, your audience are not people who already know what you are talking about. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re writing for people who don’t know – and who wants to know.
So let them know what they are looking for. Appease their appetite. Feed them the right meat right away.
Help them Chew and Digest
As a reader myself, I appreciate simplicity. It helps me better absorb what’s really important out of an article – the meat. I don’t like it when publishers use deep, uncommon words that make me go out of my way to look for the definition before coming back to their article. It doesn’t help me digest their meat at all!
So adjust your writing voice and style to suit your reader’s needs. Often people aren’t philosophers. They don’t understand what you’re telling them. They don’t have the time to do even more digging for definitions of your deep, rich vocabulary. All the time they can give you is time to read your stuff, learn from it, leave and (hopefully) apply it, and then go about their business.
Not too Many Seasonings
Keywords don’t really hold much weight in the meat. Don’t fall into the mistake of peppering your content with keywords. Rather pepper it with relevance, cohesiveness, action points, screenshots, perhaps some codes or scripts or anything for users to take out of the post and take home to their own website or project.
What your readers want is the meat, not the seasonings.
The Exact Amount of Servings
Not everyone really reads extensively long posts. Most often new and up-coming readers of your stuff will read through only the first 500 to maybe 800 words then bookmark it. Chances are, they will never get back on it after bookmarking it.
Know when to stop. Lots of publishers feed you tons of content. Often times we stop and ‘give up’ and feel like we didn’t accomplish finishing the post. This usually keeps us from clicking on quick positive social signals such as ‘Likes’ or ‘+1′s’ or even for sharing it because we want to be able to finish it first. Too much content is sometimes better minced to parts for better feeding. You don’t usually swallow a good, flavorful steak without cutting it down with a knife and chewing on it properly. People want their content minced to perfection and easily chewable.
Besides, if you’re really a straight-to-the point kind of writer, you’d have already delivered your meat within 500-800 words. Tops.
Tips for Keeps: The meat of the content is the deciding factor of whether your branding will stick to your reader or not. Make it good because it matters.