Structuring Your Content for a Stronger Connection with Your Reader.
It may seem like a simple thing, but the structure of your content has a significant impact on your connection to your reader. Your content’s structure can build trust, establish authority, increase likeability, boost credibility and so much more. And structure is generally a fairly simple thing. In fact, you can fit the structure of your content into a basic template:
Attention grabbing headline that tells readers what the content is about – identifies the value.
Tell them what you’re going to tell them. (introduction)
Tell them (in a straight forward, easy to read and understand way)
Tell them what you told them (summarize)
Call to action.
Pretty simple, right?
And yet folks make mistakes every day…
Mistake #1 No Clear Structure
One of the biggest mistakes that I see health coaches make with their content is that it’s too unstructured. Yes, content should be written conversationally, but that doesn’t mean you should go off on tangents. If your article is about supplements for better sleep then it should stay focused on supplements for sleep. When someone reads your headline they’re expecting the content to support the headline. If you say 7 supplements for better sleep then your content needs to offer those 7 supplements for better sleep. Make sense? It seems easy but it’s a common mistake.
Keep It Simple
No matter how long a piece of content is or what format it takes, it should be simple and direct. You should be able to summarize what the piece is about in one snappy sentence. Your introduction and conclusion should sum this up for the reader with the rest filling in the details.
If you can’t summarize the piece in one sentence, you have several options. One is to trim the parts that aren’t completely relevant to its topic and try again. If you can’t summarize in one sentence or you find that you’re dealing with two subjects or questions at once, turn the piece of content into two pieces of content.
Mistake #2 Not Telling Them What to Do
Another common mistake that I see Primal Health Coaches make in their content is to neglect a call to action or CTA in their content. What action do you want the reader to take once they’ve read your content? Do you want them to visit a sales page on your site or another site? Do you want them to sign up for your email list, leave a comment, share your content, visit another page on your website and read more? What do you want them to do? If you don’t tell them, they’ll do nothing and you’ve lost an opportunity to continue building the relationship (and your bottom line).
Mistake #3 Not Leveraging Formatting Tools
Each piece of content you publish needs to have a visual structure and flow.
Your content needs to have flow. It needs to logically connect from one idea to the next. This structure and flow not only needs to be contextual, it needs to be visual as well. Here are a few tools to help you create structure within your content that makes it easy to read and helps create/strengthen your connection to your reader:
- Headings and subheadings – use these to break up ideas in your content.
- Bullet points or numbering – use these to identify key points. Readers love lists (10 ways to…., top 7 tips to…, 17 best supplements to….) you get the idea. It gives your content immediate value and makes it super easy to comprehend and take action on.
- Bold lettering or underlining – these simple formatting tools can help draw attention to key ideas. They make words or phrases stand out. Most readers scan content and by bolding or underlining the important phrases, you make sure they walk away with some knowledge.
Finally, I would add that a bit of storytelling is key to the success of any content. Share something relevant and personal, integrate stories from your clients (protecting their identity of course), or ask questions within the content that gets the reader thinking and involved.
Your Unique Voice
No matter who your reader is, it’s a certainty that they’re looking for unique content. You should make your content as distinctive as possible. Some ways to make your content unique include:
- Say what no one else is saying. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and say the one thing nobody seems to be saying.
- Take an unusual angle. Take a common problem and take an uncommon approach to solving it.
- Read the work of content creators in a similar field to you and find something they’re not covering.
- Take something that’s common wisdom, an opinion that’s widely held, and arguing for the opposite opinion.
- Get ideas from other media, like movies, popular music, art, poetry, novels, etc.
Finally, content that’s emotional connects with readers. When a piece of content stirs emotions and gets the reader feeling something, it’s much more likely to get shared and create a bond with your readers. It can be any emotion – wonder, joy, awe, sadness, fear, anger – but generally speaking, positive emotions tend to get a more positive response.
Your coaching clients and prospects are feeling tons of different emotions from anger and frustration to hopelessness and overwhelm. You can tap into these emotions by offering hope, structure, and joy.
I would offer that the structure and flow of your content will help you find your content voice as well. Often, working within a predefined structure helps writers and coaches feel more confident about what they have to say. When this happens, you’re able to be more authentic and more consistently authentic. This means your brand voice will start to show up more prominently in your content and you’ll strengthen your connection with your reader this way as well.
- Take a look at past content and look for structure. Do you have the main components of a good post? Do you have logical flow, a call to action, and some personality/stories/emotions?
- Before you write your content this week, decide on the basic structure you want it to take. Write the content within that structure, then go back and polish it up with subheadings and formatting that make it easier for your audience to consume and appreciate.