If what drew you to this post was the alluring image of Olivia Wilde on a cover, then I’ve made my point. In fact, even if you stopped at the top of this page and spent a few seconds wondering “I wonder what this post is all about” just because the image caught your attention, that’s good enough for me as a blogger and content marketer because I now have your attention.
Attention is a valuable commodity for any blog or website since we’re all up against millions of competing blog posts, articles, videos, graphics and photos that are published every day. As a content marketer, engaging an audience with your content to drive inbound traffic versus the myriad of other options people can click through to and consume instead …is a challenge. To stay in the running, compete and still draw online users to your site, your content needs to stand out and appeal to them and this is something magazine publishers can teach a thing or two about to bloggers and content marketers.
Magazine publishers have been battling it out for years when it comes to competing for attention, grabbing a persons attention and getting them hooked to their content. They’ve studied just about every psychological aspect of consumers and readers and incorporated decades of best practices in the way they write new content, design, structure and deliver their end product to readers. Their attention to detail is what web sites, blogs and digital content marketing media will have to strive towards in the sea of user generated content to stand out as a quality source for content as opposed to just another blog.
Attention Grabbing Titles
The general thumb rule is people will always scan first and then read if they decide to read further. Attention grabbing titles are essential on social media sites and search engine results as they are when you scan hundreds of magazine covers on the shelf at a magazine rack before picking one up.
No doubt that fantastic quality images are the number one draw to a magazine and all the best photographers and graphics designers in the world would contribute to the publishing team in a huge way. The same holds true for web content too and being able to source and use photography, graphics and imaging in your content will set it apart as a quality content source over the plain text and boring looking pages.
Layout & Design
Another key element which web content has adopted from the traditional publishing industry and evolved is layout, typography and design. Placing images, text, advertising, using fonts well, titling, sub titling and knowing user habits is all well thought out in a great magazine as it needs to be on a web page or blog. This is something every reader will subconsciously make a note of when they are on a professional content site or a casual novice blog.
Rich Glossy High Quality Feel
Don’t you ever relate to the quality of a magazine by how glossy or high quality the cover and the paper quality is? It’s makes the images pop out and create a much richer reading experience also adding to the value of the overall publication. Now some may ask how this applies to web content …and it does. Selecting a good publishing platform and theme with a great modern look and feel CAN change a users experience and perception of a blog or web site.
Well Thought Out & Fresh Topics
Once you have the readers attention, following through and meeting expectations is just as important to have them engaged and keep them coming back. Magazine content teams sit and brainstorm new fresh topics that could grip their audience carefully selecting the best ideas keeping readers in mind. Every piece needs to evoke some reaction whether they read it and think, “this was useful”, “this was enlightening”, “this made me laugh”, “this got me excited” or even “this made me sad”. The last reactions you want for your content is “huh…waste of time”.
Put The Target Audience First
The magazine business model that publishers have followed since they first hit news stands is “be the number one content and information resource for people in our target segment to build a reader base around the magazine”. Only then target advertisers to promote their products to our reader base and subscribers. A poorly executed web content strategy thinks more about marketing products and repetitively talks about it’s own products and gets boring. A good content marketing strategy thinks about what readers would enjoy or find useful first and the promotion is an added bonus to this. Focus on giving the audience what they want. The marketing will happen.
Would You Rather Read This?
So if you run a blog or content site that you hope will really become a marketing asset for your brand or business, think: how would I approach it if I were a magazine publisher and depended on building a reader base regardless of what I intend to market. Do that, and things will take a turn for the better!